Most reputable sources online such as the Red Cross or FEMA recommend that you store at least a two week supply of non-perishable foods and water in your home. You should pick foods your family will actually eat, because they will need to be rotated out when they're close to expiring. Alternatively you could always donate them to your local food bank.
Modify this list according to any special dietary needs and avoid sweet or salty foods that will make you thirsty.
- Salt (shelf life of 10 years or more)
- Honey, unopened (10 years or more, 24mo. when opened)
- Sugar (10 years or more)
- Beef Jerky or other smoked, dried meats (5 years)
- Sardines, canned (5 years)
- Chicken, canned (5 years)
- Canned vegetables [green beans, corn, carrots, etc.] (4 years)
- Spices of your choosing (4 years)
- Tuna, canned (3 years)
- Dry pasta (24 mo.)
- Tomato sauce, canned (24 mo.)
- Fruits, canned (24 mo.)
- Nutritional supplements, vitamins (24 mo.)
- Dark Chocolate (24 mo.)
- Dried Chamomile flowers for tea [upset stomach, constipation] (24 mo.)
- Black tea [upset stomach or nausea] (24 mo.)
- Black peppercorns and grinder (24 mo.)
- Dry beans, black, kidney, cranberry, etc. (24 mo.)
- Dried peas (24 mo.)
- Dried lentils (24 mo.)
- Oats or oatmeals (18 mo.)
- Water [bottled, 1 gal. per person / day] (12 mo.)
- Vegetable oil (12 mo.)
- Peanut butter, unopened (9 mo.)
- Juices, canned [apple, orange, cranberry, etc.] (9 mo.)
- All purpose wheat flour (8 mo.)
- Rice [in an airtight sealed container] (6 mo.)
- Aseptic non-perishable milk, unopened (6 mo.)
- Dried fruits (6 mo.)
- Dry yeast for baking (4 mo.)
- Potatoes (3 mo.)
- Garlic (3 mo.)
- Eggs, refrigerated (3 mo., 1 year when frozen)
- Protein bars (2 mo.)
- Ginger root, whole (refrigerated) (1 mo.)
- Pet food and extra water? (12 mo.)
For maximum shelf life keep your stockpile in a dark, dry location with steady temperatures below 40ºF (4ºC) i.e. root cellar. Unopened and stored in airtight containers under normal pantry storage conditions most food items will last the above stated shelf life.
This list focuses on items that you should be able to buy in a store rather than make or grow yourself. If you're into gardening, canning and food preservation - all the better! Send us your pantry shelfies and earn bragging rights in the community.
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