Short Term and Long Term Pantry Stocking Foods that We Swear By

Short Term and Long Term Pantry Stocking Foods that We Swear By

I'm not one of those hard core "prepper" people out there like you would see on the Doomsday Preppers show but I am one who likes to have a back up plan since it allieviates some stresses of an already stressful situation.  I have also been in a situation before where I was stuck at my house for 2 weeks (flooding took out our only bridge to our house) with only rice, potatoes, water, and a couple glasses of milk.  If you've never had rice and potatoes for 2-3 meals a day for 2 weeks straight, well don't do it because it sucked.  A lot.  Fortunately we did have electricity and running water so it wasn't that awful being stuck at home. It was just awful to only eat rice and potatoes for 2 weeks straight.  Granted I am still alive but I would rather not go through that again.  So since that day, I always make sure to have a varitey of foods (short term and long term stored foods) and extra water in my cupboard which ended up paying off in 2020.  Here are the foods that I've kept stored that keep you healthy and probably happier than just rice and potatoes.

In order to keep a happy, healthy, and fully stocked pantry you need a mix of "short term" and "long term" storage items.  I have a blog here about short term foods and another one here about long term foods.  This blog is about mixing both together, making the perfect pantry and helping you stress less when you need food and don't have outside access to any.

1.  The foods with the longest shelf lives are freeze dried foods.  If you buy commerically bought freeze dried foods (like some food buckets here), they can last anywhere from 10 to 25 years if stored in a cool dry place.  Perfect if you don't have the time to constantly rotate out foods and an emergency hits when you can't get to the store.  I keep a few buckets/bags of these meals as a last resort:  to use when I've exhausted all other resources that I've stocked up on.
2.  Dehydrated foods are next in line usually with a shelf life of 6 months to 2-3 years.  Commercially bought will last longer since they measure the moisture of their products vs. you doing it at home and guessing if all the moisture is out.  It also depends of how you contain the dehydrated foods:  vacuum sealed lasts longer than an airtight container for example.  The less air, the longer your food will last.  Also note that dehydrated foods changes the nutritional value sometimes of certain foods like fruits will have a higher sugar content when dried so if you are diabetic be aware of this.  I mostly keep dried bananas, apples, strawberries, and carrots in my pantry.
3.  Use your freezer!  Freezing foods also is beneficial in storage life since most items can last a few months to possibly even a year depending on the item and the container frozen in (again vacuum sealed is the best).  I love freezing fruits, veggies, and meats the most since they keep their nutritional value this way better than dehydrating/freeze-drying.  Freezing whole meals is also very useful.
4. Now some pantry/fresh foods with decent shelf lives (short term) that I keep stocked.  Keep an eye on these foods and make sure you organize and rotate occasionally)...
  • Potatoes:  3-5 weeks in cool, dry, dark place.  Do not place next to onions.  I also like to peel then cut up into fries to freeze.  I've had them last in the freezer like this for about a year.
  • Onions:  same as potatoes but they have lasted a little longer:  about 3 months. I like to dice and freeze onions (about a year).  Use them for soups and sauteing.  Note the taste isn't as potent when frozen.
  • Nuts:  about 2-3 months in cool, dry, dark place.  Vaccum sealed for longer storage.  Don't like the taste of regular peanuts?  Check out some  flavored peanuts that last just as long as regular.
  • Nut Butters:  if you make homemade butters, you will need to refrigerate so it won't go rancid.  Store bought butters last a year or two (sometimes longer than expiration date) in cool, dry place.  Check out some nutritious butters to have stocked here.
  • Seeds:  pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds are all excellent nutrition wise and last for about a year or two in a cool, dry place.  Check out our flavored peanuts recipe for some extra taste to these nutritious seeds.
  • Apples:  If stored in temperatures less than 40 degrees, they last maybe a week or two.  In the fridge, I've had some last about 6 months.
  • Jerky (meat or veggie jerkies).  These lovely foods when unopened have a shelf life of 1-2 years.  Try other "veggie" versions of this jerky (like mushroom jerky) that are similar in taste and texture as beef.  Both excellent choices to have stocked.
  • Canned Foods:  canned fruits, veggies, beans are majority of canned items that I keep that last for years in a cool dry place.  I also have a couple cans of spaghetti o's and some canned soups.
  • Dry Pastas:  definitely a must have.  If you are on a budget, stick to regular white pastas that are a littler cheaper.  For healthier/nutritional pastas to stock, check some different flavors out here.  Best kept in airtight containers in cool, dry place.  Most pastas when stored in airtight containers, can last a couple years past the expiration date.
  • Dried Beans and Lentils: I have yet had either of these two go bad stored in a cool, dry place.
  • Honey:  a great natural sweetener that never goes bad!  Keep away from heat unless it has crystallized (put out in sun to get back to liquid form).
  • Seasonings:  if you like really bland foods (which who does?) then you don't need seasonings but I like taste so I usually keep the following seasonings that last for about 2-3 years:  garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, paprika.  The seasonings one should stock is solely individual choice since everyone has their own taste preferences.  These are most widely used for me and my family.

Those items listed above will help keep you happy, healthy, and stress less if you have during an emergency situation and are stuck at home.  When COVID caused world wide shut downs and items were sold out from people rushing to grocery stores, I was already prepared.  It's a great feeling to have.

Let me know your thoughts about this blog and tell me any additional must have foods to have in your pantry.  Also check out our other blogs about food storage, pantry foods, recipes, and kitchen essentials!


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