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It’s better to be prepared than to be caught off guard. Wouldn’t you agree? Storing food for survival seems ever so important with every day that goes by.

When storing food for survival, you may want to buy in bulk. I have found and linked to many bulk items in this post. Most of these links go to Amazon and they are affiliate links. Other links in the post you will find how to’s, recipes, and other helpful posts full of information.

Cooking Tools

When storing food for survival, we need to remember in many SHTF scenarios we won’t have electricity. Having the knowledge and tools to cook over a fire, or with a sun oven are going to be just as important as having the food itself.

Storing Food For Survival

When storing food for survival, remember to only keep stuff that you’ll actually eat or barter with. Also, be very mindful of expiration dates, and how long things typically last unopened vs. opened.

It’s also very important to remember to use FIFO (first in first out) method of storing. When you get new items to make sure they go to the back of the shelf of the bottom of the bucket. That way the oldest items get eaten first and foods are rotated properly.


  • Water – is obviously a really important source of liquids. Read Backup Water Supply for how to store water properly. Also, think about having a manual pump for your well.
  • Soy sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup – Buy maple syrup or learn how to tap trees and make your own.
  • Hot sauce – You can buy 1-gallon jugs of hot sauce. Hot sauce keeps pretty well. They say it will keep for about three years, but I suspect that most of them will keep a little longer than that. Grab some of my favorite brands in bulk. Texas PeteLouisiana Hot Sauce, Frank’s Hot Sauce, Tabasco Hot Sauce, Sriracha, Crystals Hot Sauce
  • Vanilla extract – You can buy vanilla beans, and make your own!
  • Almond extract – You can also make your own almond extract.
  • Alcohol (21+ONLY Drink Responsibly!) – Beer and wine don’t have much shelf life and don’t provide other positive benefits like other alcohols do. Liquor or spirits like vodka, gin, brandy, whiskey, and tequila last indefinitely and can provide first aid for wounds. Liqueurs are sweetened alcoholic beverages such as triple sec, Amari, Chartreuse, and their shelf life and alcohol percentage varies. *This item is also on the barter list. You can also use liquor for cleaning around the home.
  • Vinegar – White vinegar, apple cider vinegar. *This is also on the barter list.
  • Oils/fats – Oils can go rancid. It’s true! Olive oil and lard will last about a year. Ghee is good for about 9 months unopened. You could also try butter powder. It has a 10-year shelf life! Use it in place of butter.

Dry Goods & MISC

  • Dried beans – Pinto beans, black beans, and lentils are great options.
  • Rice
  • Flour – It’s a good idea to keep a good variety of flours. Whole wheat, all-purpose, and even pancakes mixes. You can help extend the shelf life by freezing flour for 48 hours. This can help kill any weevil eggs that may develop. It’s important to know, that those weevils are edible. So if you do get them in your flour it’s not a total loss!!
  • Dried Fruit – raisins, apricot, mango, pineapple, apples, oranges, etc…
  • Pasta – Use the Foodsaver or mylar bags to help preserve pasta.
  • Instant mash potatoes
  • Crackers – These Pilot Crackers from Mountain House have a 30-year shelf life!
  • Freeze-dried meals from Mountain House – My favorite is the Turkey Dinner Casserole! It takes like Thanksgiving stuffing.
  • Dry milk *This is also on the barter list.
  • Oats – For making oatmeal, stretching ground meat and more!
  • Stone-ground grits
  • Cornmeal
  • Cornstarch – is a great way to thicken up sauces!
  • Popcorn – I like the Trader Joe’s brand but it’s much cheaper in the store!
  • Cereals – corn, rice, and shredded wheat cereals are good to have.
  • Powder peanut butter
  • Whey Protein
  • Greens Superfood Powder – This is the brand we’ve used and loved for over 10+ years! It tastes great and is packed with nutrition that will be needed in TEOTWAWKI.
  • Powdered drink mixes – like Koolaid, tang, sweet tea, lemonade, etc… These are not necessary but it would be a nice treat if SHTF.
  • Bouillon – Chicken bouillon powder, bone broth powder
  • Emergency food rations
  • Waxed cheeses – Cheese that is encased in wax will last longer. Check out what Lisa (at The Survival Mom) says about how to store and long to store waxed cheese. You can also learn how to make your own waxed cheese!
  • Powdered eggs – I love Mountain House Scrambled Eggs with bacon.
  • Jerky – Storing jerky is a great way to store meat long term. It’s also super delicious!
  • Breadcrumbs – These are easy to make yourself. Use up that old stale bread by placing the pieces in a single layer on a cookie sheet and baking until lightly browned. Then store in an airtight container.
  • Sugar – * This is also on the bartering list.
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Powdered cheese
  • Seed vault for gardening or bartering.

Canned Goods

  • Canned butter
  • Canned cheese – Bega is like a very mild cheddar.
  • Canned veggies – Corn, beans, peas, etc…
  • Canned meat – Chicken, spam, ground beef, etc…
  • Canned Seafood, like tuna.
  • Canned soups
  • Canned Bread
  • Canned Fungi – aka mushrooms.

Condiments & Spices

You will find other condiments in the liquids section of this post. Here are the solids. Some condiments like salad dressing and mayo don’t last long. Pickled condiments will have a longer shelf life.

  • Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Relish
  • Pickles
  • Hot Peppers
  • Sauerkraut

I love herb gardening. I have plenty of herbs dried and stored to keep us flavoring our food for many years. This is a great way to go, but if you can’t grow your own. You could buy in bulk.

When I worked in a natural food grocery store, we often purchased BULK herbs and spices by the Frontier brand. They also had great quality items, and even offer organic!

You don’t have to keep all of these herbs and spices. When storing food for survival, you should only store what you’re willing to eat or barter.

Tea & Coffee

You may also want to think about buying tea and coffee in bulk. You can make tea by adding 1-2 tsp to an infuser and steeping it for a few minutes.

 Bartering Food Items

  • Salt
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee
  • Dry Milk
  • Pasta
  • Honey
  • Chocolate
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Canned Food
  • Other shelf-stable food
  • Herbs & spices
  • Seeds for gardening

Homemade Items to Make Yourself

These homemade items aren’t just for storing. You can make most of these even after SHTF. Knowing how to make them after SHTF will be a valuable resource.

  • Jam & Jelly
  • Pemmican – A dried mixture of meat, fat, and berries. They say it will last for 20 years in the freezer and 3 to 5 years at room temp.
  • Hardtack – is like a hard biscuit. It’s a mixture of flour, water, and salt. If kept in an airtight container, some say they will last indefinitely.
  • Fruit Rolls – Or fruit leather, is pureed fruit spread out on parchment paper and then dehydrated.
  • Vegetable Broth
  • Bone Broth
  • Bread
  • Jerky

Manual Kitchen Gadgets

I think I’ve compiled a pretty good list. If you think of something I’ve missed let me know in the comments!

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