14 Foods That’ll Last FOREVER!

In the August 31st Cook’n newsletter I wrote an article, “Found Money” Can Help You Prepare NOW So You Can Cope LATER! This received lots of response.

One very helpful note, from Cook’n subscriber, Ray Palmer, included a super suggestion: “One [preparedness] thing we do is to place all our important paperwork in plastic zippered bags. Not just in an envelope. [Alice: I had suggested a manila envelope for this information.] This helps protect them from getting wet (we live in the south and experience hurricanes).”

Here’s a public “THANKS!” to Ray for taking the time to share his wisdom. It’s such a good idea to have your vital papers in a waterproof holder!

With now knowing the BEST way to store our vital information, and to continue the preparedness theme, let’s talk about storing foods that will last a good long time while maintaining their nutrition value and taste. This information comes from a favorite site, Food Storage Moms (www.foodstoragemoms.com), by Linda Loosli.

Linda says “When you are on your food storage journey you may want to add these 14 last-forever foods to your stash. There’s a measure of peace around having some foods in your storage that you never have to worry about going bad. After all, after spending our hard earned money to stock our home with food, we want to be able to not just eat, but enjoy it when the time comes. Right?”

HONEY is first on the list of 14 foods that’ll last forever. If you can buy raw honey, do. It will last forever. One tip: Storing honey in 5-gallon buckets isn’t the best idea. Honey crystalizes after a few years, which is fine if it’s stored in quart mason jars. You can set your jars outside in the heat of the summer or in a pan of hot water, and it will eventually go back to its liquid state. You want to avoid microwaving it, however, as there’ll be a substantial nutrient loss in the process of liquefying.

SUGAR is next. It’s inexpensive and it stores indefinitely if kept dry. Rock hard sugar has absorbed moisture. You can still use it, but oh what a pain.

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR is #3. It lasts forever as long as the unopened bottles are stored in a cool dry place. By now you know it can be used for so many things.

PURE VANILLA EXTRACT. It will last indefinitely if stored in a cool dry place.

PURE MAPLE SYRUP. If in a glass jar it’ll last about 50 years. I’m not talking about Pancake Syrup, that’s way different (as well as no good for you).

SALT. The stuff with added iodine doesn’t last as long. Good old plain salt lasts indefinitely if stored in a cool dry place. Himalayan salt will last forever as well. Just purchase salt without added ingredients and you’re good.

CORN STARCH. It can store in its original container and as long as it stays dry it will last forever in a cool dark place.

WHEAT. Hard white or turkey red wheat from a reputable mill (so there’s no rocks or debris in it) is what you want. In our neck of the woods we like Honeyville (www.honeyville.com) and Lehi Roller Mills (www.lehirollermills.com). Linda says she’s researched Lehi Mills and recommends them because they clean their wheat about nine times.

SOY SAUCE. It lasts indefinitely if stored unopened in a cool dry place. Consider buying smaller bottles so they can go straight from storage to fridge.

WHITE RICE. It stores indefinitely if kept in a cool dry place in an airtight container. Brown rice has a higher fat content so you can only store it for six months. White rice can be used in so many recipes; it fills the belly and is a very inexpensive food storage item.

WHITE DISTILLED VINEGAR. You can use it for salad dressings, canning, and so much more. Store it in a cool dark place.

DRY BEANS. One thing to keep in mind, the older the bean, the more water and fuel will be needed to cook them. A pressure cooker is great for cooking old beans. You can also soak them overnight, drain and cover the beans again with fresh water and cook until tender. You can pressure can the beans as well.

HARD LIQUOR. I don’t drink alcohol, but I know from the experience of friends that it’s invaluable for bartering. Bartering is commonly engaged in during severe disasters. Vodka, rum, gin, whiskey, and tequila last forever, but should be stored upright in a cool dark location.

INSTANT COFFEE. Coffee-lovers go “Ugh!” But still, it’s a really great food storage item because it lasts over 20 years, if not longer, if the containers are unopened. It’s basically dehydrated coffee. And it’s another great bartering item as well.

I’ll conclude with a special recipe using that raw honey you’re storing. This is for one of the best caramel sauces we’ve ever had. Enjoy, and here’s to successful storing!


1 can full fat coconut milk

2/3 cup raw honey

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. In medium heavy bottomed sauce pan, combine all ingredients and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Turn heat down to medium low and continue lightly simmering, undisturbed until reduced by about half and it reaches a golden amber color. This can take from 50-60 minutes.

  2. Toward the end of cooking, stir often to keep the mixture from burning. A slight burning, however, will give the caramel a nice rich flavor. Just stir often to incorporate the small amount of burnt pieces into the caramel. Cooking times vary significantly depending on the width and thickness of your pot, stove, heat, and batch size.

  3. Remove from heat and transfer to a glass bowl. Let the caramel sit and cool to a lukewarm temperature, then stir, somewhat vigorously till it becomes smoother and glossier. Cover and store until ready to use.

NOTE: Don’t worry if you didn’t quite get it to the thickness or color you desired. You can always reheat and cook long till it’s just perfect. And if it thickens too much after cooling, simply gently reheat in a bowl over simmering water. Add 1 teaspoon of room temperature water at a time until it reaches desired consistency.

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    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
    Email the author! alice@dvo.com

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