With the Way the Economy’s Going and the Supply Chain is Looking, Now is a Perfect Time to Build Your Prepper Pantry or SHTF Stockpile with These 10 Food Items
Your food stockpile should be one of your number one concerns for when SHTF. In this first article in our Prep & Survival Series, we’ll go over the 10 most important food items you should have in your stockpile. More specifically, these are food items that you can go buy in bulk right now at your nearest big box store or warehouse store. They are on the list for their ability to be mixed and matched with each other to make a variety of meals and to keep your taste buds and nutrition levels happy.
Before we start on the list, MREs, prepper food buckets or emergency supply kits are great to have, too. Keep in mind though, you’ll likely find it hard to move from your normal diet to these, so it’s best to stock up on more typical foods in this list to either start off with or mix in with your emergency kits.
And with that, let’s move onto the list of 10 food items for your prepper food pantry.
Bags of Rice
See those massive bags of rice at your warehouse store? At least one of those 30-40 pounders should suffice you and your family of four for a month. That’s as long as you stock up on everything else on this list. I prefer jasmine or any long grain rice. It’s healthier than white rice and cooks just about as fast. Brown rice is the most health, but tastes the most bland or grain-like. But, sometimes you can’t be picky and just have to buy what you can find.
The best temperature to store rice or any grains is 40°F or below; however, rice stored at a constant 70°F with oxygen absorbers will store well for up to 10 years. In cooler storage areas rice sealed in oxygen-free containers can be stored for up to 30 years.
Keep in mind that with rice, you’ll need water and a heat source to cook. This means you’ll want to take this into account when storing water. Store extra for cooking purposes especially for rice.
This can be any of your favorite beans. I, myself, prefer to keep at least one kind of kidney bean and baked beans. They’ll give you plenty of protein, give you a variety of options to make meals out of and go great with the rice we noted previously. An amazing thing about canned beans? You can eat them without cooking if you need to. This could be a life saving detail.
Most Canned beans (or canned anything for that matter) keep their quality from 2 to 5 years, but can absolutely last damn near forever as long as they are kept in a cool, dry place. 20 to 30 years is the typical max shelf life expectancy. Just keep an eye on the cans themselves. If they become rusted, cracked, broken, leaky, swollen or even dented, pitch them.
Oatmeal is a food item that will fill you up and has some of the highest amounts of vitamins and minerals of almost any grain. Another plus? Protein. It’s one of the few grains with protein. Of coarse, it’s a grain so you’ll get your daily need of carbohydrates and even fiber. And the complex carbs in oats means it’ll be a slow energy release and will last throughout your day.
When it comes to shelf life, oatmeal can be all over the place. For one, any flavors or added fruits can decrease shelf life. You also have commercial oatmeal that is steam processed and increases shelf life. For the most part, look for large, cylindrical Quaker oats. Throw those containers inside a larger, air tight container to be sure the oats stay in a cool, dry place. These should last at least 10 years. When you finally open them when you need to use them or just want to use them before they go bad, check for dark spots or odd smells. If they’re clear, you’re good to go.
Added benefit of oatmeal? You can use it for dry and itchy skin.
Peanut butter is a great food that can be quickly and easily snacked on from time to time. Add in some of that oatmeal you should have in your stockpile, and you’ll be energized for an all day journey. Oatmeal is pretty bland on it’s own, so it’s nice to have peanut butter to lift up the flavor a bit.
Commercial peanut butter can last at least 3 to 4 years unopened and stored properly as far as quality goes. The taste can start changing due to oil separating at around 5 or 6 years, but is still fine to eat. This can be sooner with your everyday cheap peanut butter, so be keep that in mind. The cheap peanut butter brands will typically start separating only 6 months to a year after the ‘best by’ date. Sometimes you can remix them to get the taste and consistency back. It’s best to find high end peanut butter that will last for flavor sake.
An added benefit which I learned from my time in the Marine Corps is peanut butter’s flammability. The oils in peanut butter can be lit and become a controlled burn for lighting and heat. Keep a glass jar handy for this.
Canned Chicken or Tuna (or Both!)
Canned chicken and tuna can be eaten right out of the can, like beans, as they are precooked (unless you go with the canned raw tuna). Either one can be mixed in with the rice and beans for a high protein meal. The chicken tastes better, in my opinion, but the tuna will give you some omega fatty acids and vitamin B12 (which fights anemia), as well.
Like most canned foods, canned chicken and tuna will keep their quality for 2 to 5 years. Keep them in a cool, dark and dry place and the quality will hit that 5 year mark. They’ll always be safe to eat past that as long as you check the condition of the can, just like the canned beans above. 20 to 30 years is again considered to be the typical max shelf life as cans do tend to rust. Unless you live in one of the driest places on Earth.
Canned Carrots (Any Vegetable)
We specifically point out carrots due to their taste and vitamins that you won’t get in many places such as vitamin K. All canned vegetables are obviously great for you, but carrots are one of the tastiest and go well with other items on the list. Corn may be the only vegetable that goes better with things like rice and beans, but they don’t supply you with as many vitamins and minerals. We stock up on some of everything, but place higher emphasis on carrots.
Again, canned foods can last forever, but if you live in a high humidity area, they’ll likely last 20 to 30 years.
Unrefrigerated Cinnamon Applesauce
This one is a favorite and can really cheer you up or any kids you may have when amenities are basically all gone. You can grab regular applesauce if you prefer, but the cinnamon helps add flavor and antioxidants. Cinnamon also helps with digestive and blood pressure issues, and has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. The applesauce itself provides all the same benefits that an apple a day provides, without the refrigeration. Buy it in the individual cup packages to extend the life, as you won’t need to worry about unused product in a big container.
The shelf life of applesauce is the only negative. Unrefrigerated applesauce will last 1 to 2 years past its expiration date and still keep its quality. It will last 5 years before it start to taste so bad that you won’t want it. If you ever catch moisture around the lid or seal, it’s time to throw out. Since this is a shorter lived pantry food, simply add this to your normal diet and rotate new stock in while eating older stock. Just remember if you open and refrigerate applesauce, the shelf life shortens drastically.
You know all that tea you wives love to drink so much, but us men don’t tend to drink much of? Yeah, in this case, we’ll drink it. Drinking straight water is always good for you, but when times get rough, some kind of taste will help perk up the mood. When living in bad times with your family, the last thing you want are shitty moods. Some tea can actually add more than just taste if you use green tea bags which add antioxidants.
Tea bags stored in an airtight container can last up to 3 years before they no longer really add much taste. That being said, tea bags will never make you sick, unless you have them stored improperly and the disastrous water quality leaks in.
You can replace this with any pasta, but egg noodles will give you needed protein in your diet. On top of the extra protein from the egg enriching process, you’ll find many more vitamins and minerals that most regular noodles don’t have. Some of these vitamins and minerals include beta-carotene, vitamin B12 and Omega 6’s.
Unopened egg noodles last at least 2 years at room temperature, but locate them in your cool, dry, dark prepper pantry and it should last 3 to 4 years easy.
Water (Bottles and/or Stored Tap Water)
Water you store or buy bottled is an obvious item that should be in your SHTF pantry. We suggest having at least 5 gallons of water per person stored if you have some kind of body/baby wipes for showering. Otherwise, we suggest 10 gallons per person and making sure to ONLY use it when necessary. This should last you almost 2 weeks if used wisely. As with anything else, store more if you want to go longer. Store rain water during the event to shower with instead of using your water, and you can purchase a LifeStraw or LifeStraw Flex to drink unclean water.
Water, stored out of light and in a cool, dark location will last forever. That being said, taste will become a factor by 4 or 5 years but will not harm you. Just make sure your bottles are BPA-free if plastic.
This list will keep you ready for any disaster or economic collapse. We’ll have a list of foods to keep in your freezer storage in the future, along with suggested non-food items to keep on hand. Thank you for reading, and make sure to leave a comment below.