What’s In Your Cupboards?
This is a fairly exhaustive list of foods that are both important and have long shelf lives. Yes fresh food is great, but not always available. You can slowly add these foods to your pantry over time and never really be wasting money. This list comes from happypreppers.
#1: Distilled water and seltzer water.
Distilled water is the most pure form of water. Get water now and make plans to
get more water. Consider adding canned seltzer water to your
pantry as well. Canned seltzer water lasts indefinitely, adds a
fizzy pep to your water supply and even helps relieve
constipation! Avoid seltzer if you have acid reflux.
#2: Canned liquids.
It’s important to stock up on canned foods with high liquid
content. Two excellent (and often overlooked) examples are
canned pineapples or canned pineapple juice and vegetable juice
available on the bottom shelves of your grocery store. These
foods will provide nutrition and hydration simultaneously. Look
also for evaporated milk, condensed milk, and canned coconut
milk. Coconut milk will help you cook rice faster! Stewed
tomatoes, and vegetable, beef or chicken stock can also help you
cook rice without depleting your drinking water. It’s also a great
excuse to stock up on canned beer, which you can use to cook!
#3: Dehydrated powdered milk, whey and eggs.
Indeed milk is a versatile food well worth stockpiling if
you don’t have a cow or a goat. Whole Milk Powder will last up to
two years, and is an excellent natural creamer for coffee. Skip the
non-dairy creamers made of hydrogenated oils and use powdered
#4: Hard cheeses encased in wax, plastic
Waxed hard cheeses are not so easy to find, but they are
available. You’ll easily find Kraft Parmesan, swiss, sharp cheddar
or Gouda encased in wax is a very “Gouda” thing to find! Wax
prevents cheese from growing mold and bacteria, and it also
keeps moisture in your cheese, so it can store for a very long time
without refrigeration. Parmesan is a hard cheese, and in the
powder form has a four month expiration date, but encased in
wax it can last up to 25 years! Consider buying cheese wax and
even a basic hard cheese kit to make your own delicious cheeses.
Wax will keep hard cheeses moist during the aging process, and
also prevent unwanted mold growth on your aging cheeses.
#5: Protein bars and protein drinks.
Ideal for a bug out bag, food bars are compact nutrition and
should be part of your everyday food storage. High in protein,
serve them for breakfast, snack, dessert or as an on-the-go meal
Don’t forget that you need to rotate your food stuffs. When you buy New ones from the store, eat the older ones first.
#6: Canned & dehydrated meats, poultry, seafood.
What’s the #1 food to hoard? The best prepper protein source is
meat. Go for the jerky! If you had to stockpile just one kind of
food you’d want to stockpile meat in cans. Go ahead and Tune-in
to the tuna. Meats provide humans with around 90% of sustenance
needed to survive; and 90% of plants are deadly to humans. Man must eat meat!
When possible, look for grass-fed meats, like Yoder’s brand.
Canned salmon, canned sardines, canned mackerel and canned
tuna are rich in necessary Omega 3 oils. Stock your refrigerator
with meats too. Smoked salmon, sausages and hot dogs can last
a long time in your refrigerator.
#7: Drink mixes: Coffee, bouillon cubes, tea, Ovaltine, Tang, Kool-Aid, and Gatorade
Stock your prepper’s pantry with drink mixes:
#8: Oils (butter, lard, olive oil, organic shortening, Crisco, and Coconut Oil).
Cooking oil is extremely important to stockpile. You can’t cook
much without an oil or fat! Buy oil small containers and look for
the word “virgin” which means that they are the first press and
have the most nutritive value. Cooking oil won’t last long, but
even if your oil becomes rancid, you can use it as fuel!
# 9: Whole wheat flour, bread and pancake mixes.
Many preppers grind their own wheat into flour, but if you’re new
to prepping, ensure you have some flour on hand. In the category
of flour, you could stock bread mix, such as Krusteaz or Bisquick.
Wheat is a basic food product that’s chock full of fiber, protein,
vitamins and even minerals, like selenium. If you stock white
flour in your daily pantry, be sure to stock wheat flour in your
Prepper’s pantry because it has more nutritive value when it has
the whole grain (bran, germ and endosperm). White flour has
only the endosperm.
You may also need flour for thickening gravies, or coat and fry,
such things as freshly caught fish. If you have whole wheat flour,
you won’t have to stock genetically modified corn starch, which is
also used for thickening. Consider Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat
flour because it comes wrapped in plastic, rather than a paper
bag which is more susceptible to pest invasions. Ultimately, you
should store whole wheat flour in your every day pantry. Your
long term pantry should include whole grain wheat and you
should have a grain mill.
Remember you may not like to eat all the foods on this list, but they will taste delicious if TSHTF.
#10: Cereals Shredded Wheat, corn or rice.
Stockpile whatever cereals your family eats oat, corn, rice, or
wheat-based. We recommend Shredded wheat! The first edition
of the Boy Scout Manual in 1911 highlights the best food for Boy
Scouts is Shredded Wheat, “because it has all the muscle-
building material in the whole wheat grain prepared in a
digestible form, supplying all the strength needed for work or
play.” If refrigeration isn’t an issue, pack wheat germ, which has
high levels of fiber and vitamin E to boost your immune systems.
Wheat germ is the center of the seed. Packed with protein and
fiber, wheat germ also has folate, magnesium, zinc, manganese,
selenium and vitamin E. It’s considered “nutrition in a crunch.”
It’s not really a meal, but one you can add to your hot cereal.
#11: Potato flour.
Potato flour might not be at the top of your list, but potato flour
is good to have. Consider adding potato flakes and potato flour
to your Prepper’s Pantry! Why potato flour? Potato flour is
wonderful, gluten-free addition to the pantry to make breads,
pancakes and waffles, potato soups and much more. It can also be
used as a thickener, and a binder.
Consider also sweet potato flour, which is incredibly versatile and
can be used for baked goods such as breads, cookies, muffins,
pancakes, crepes, cakes and doughnuts. It can also be used in
soups, as a thickener for sauces and gravies, and in breading.
#12 Corn as a grain (dried).
Did you know corn is both a grain and a vegetable? As a grain,
corn is dried into flour to bake and make a variety of foods from
cornbread to cornflakes. Corn as a grain is an essential prepper
food and there are many kinds of dried corn.
Look for cornmeal, corn starch, grits, and popcorn.
#13: Corn as a vegetable.
Corn as a vegetable is also an important pantry essential. (Corn
is both a grain and a vegetable: the only difference is that as a
grain it’s dried before harvesting.) Buy organic corn in cans to
help ensure it’s not genetically modified as most corn is GMO.
I have always heard that corn was a starch and NOT a vegetable, but I will defer to Prepper expertise.
#14: Oats and Oatmeal.
A favorite of American pioneers, oatmeal is a prepper food that’s
low in saturated fat, and it’s also a good source of fiber, which is
especially important during survival times. You’ll need to store
adequate water as making the porridge requires 4 cups of water
for every one cup of oatmeal. A tip for preparing is to soak the
oatmeal over night, so that it takes just 9-12 minutes to boil
(instead of a half an hour). Look for John McCann’s steel cut
oatmeal in a can, which are 100% whole grain and natural Irish
oats. Stock up on emergency buckets of rolled oats and quick oats
today, and learn more about why oats are an important part of
your food storage.
#15: Bread crumbs and stuffings.
Bread crumbs are a satisfying addition to casseroles, and can
also help you make salmon and crab cakes with the cans in your
Prepper’s food storage. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find Bread
crumbs sealed in plastic for freshness. Usually, they are boxed in
waxed paper. Stuffing is a natural accompaniment to your
mashed potatoes and will mix nicely with spices and dehydrated
onions. Try also, bread in a can, and pumpernickel.
Learn to like Pumpernickel and make it part of your everyday diet!
This amazing whole grain rye bread (enjoyed by Germans and
Scandinavians with cheeses, pates and meats), packs a mighty
punch of fiber and has a three or four month shelf life! You can
make a satisfying meal with even one slice of bread.
#16: Shelf stable, ready to eat meals.
There are two kinds of shelf-stable, ready to eat meals to
include: the kind you eat, and the kind you don’t.
Soup is good food and can provide a hearty meal with crackers.
For shelf-stable and ready to eat meals, think about how you can
add canned meat to boxed meals. Cheeseburger Macaroni for
In uncertain times, you can also take comfort in having several
shelf-stable, ready to eat meals on hand, which require no
Remember also that creativity will go a long way when eating from necessity and not choice.
#17: Crackers and cookies.
While crackers have little nutritive value, they do provide a sense
of normalcy to a survival situation and will be a worthy an
satisfying accompaniment to soups and tuna salad, and peanut
butter stashes in the Prepper’s Pantry.
You may find some surprising nutritive benefits such as niacin
and iron in flaky flavorful crackers. In your long term food storage
you’ll need to buy some pilot crackers in a #10 can.
#18: Potato Flakes and au gratin potatoes.
Add potato flakes to your prepper’s pantry. If you can find a shelf-
stable variety of au gratin or scalloped potatoes that don’t have
hydrogenated oils, then go for it.
Unfortunately, most au gratin potatoes have them. Look for au gratin
potatoes at organic based food market, like Whole Foods. There
are plenty of more reasons why you should make potatoes part of
your long-term food storage plan.
#19: Rice (choose white rice).
Rice is a staple of the prepper diet (along with beans). Sure,
jasmine rice is cheap food, and worth storing but you can also
store a variety of rice to keep your family interested. Try basmati
rice, Italian arborio rice, short grain Asian rice, wild rice, and
brown rice too! Brown rice is a healthy option, but requires more
cooking time, which could deplete your cooking resources. It also
doesn’t store as well. Consider instant rice for this reason alone,
though it’s not as healthy as other rice options.
Dried pasta is an ideal prep because it has little to no fat or
moisture content, so it resists spoilage. Among the most filling
and inexpensive foods, store a variety of pastas in addition to
your spaghetti and macaroni noodles including: egg noodles,
gnocchi (made with potatoes), dried tortellini (filled with hard
cheese), orzo (rice shaped pasta), couscous (wheat-based pasta)
and the other variety of shaped Italian pasta such as lasagna,
linguine, rotelle, rotini, rigatoni, orecchiette, penne, mastoccilli
etc. Remember Asian pastas too! There are healthier options to
the inexpensive ramen style noodles. Try soba (made from
buckwheat), rice noodles, udon (wheat flour), bean curd noodles,
and chow main noodles (fried noodles made of egg and wheat).
#21 Raisins, dried fruits and fruit strips.
Enhance your supply with dried apricots, dates, cranberries,
mangos and whatever your family enjoys. You can make your own
trail mix with dried fruits.
The more variety, the better for your family to fight boredom in
diet and to get the essential nutrients they each provide
#22: Jams and jellies.
Preppers love to make their own jams and jellies, but if you’re
new to prepping, you can stock up on ready-made.
Jams and jellies are a canning favorite from blackberry jams,
strawberry jams, raspberry jams, grape jellies and also apple
butters, your pantry can easily have a variety of fruit spreads to
#23. Canned fruits.
Did you know fruits contain twice as much calories per pound as
#24: Canned veggies.
When it comes to veggies, preppers need to think beyond green
beans! Unfortunately, green beans do not pack many calories. If
you’re looking for the ideal veggies to stash, then think about
canned root vegetables, like sweet potatoes and yams. Sweet
potatoes are high in Vitamin A, plus they’re filling. Add a variety
with canned sauerkraut, cabbage and beets, too. If you eat them,
carrots, peas and potatoes provide the fixing for a nice stew.
Canned olives, asparagus and artichoke hearts will help you make
easy pasta dishes. Dried veggies, right are available online.
#25: Beans and legumes.
Stock up on beans ~ all kinds of dried beans and canned beans,
(including refried beans). The more variety of beans you store,
the better as it provides energy and fiber. Beans pack around
1250 calories per pound. Best of all, you can sprout beans — it as
little as five days you can sprout crunchy, fresh phytonutrients for
your family from dried beans, peas, and lentils. Peanuts aren’t really nuts
(they’re beans, but stock up on those too because they add protein).
Prepping foods now, saves you Regrets later.
#26: Nuts, seeds and nut-butters.
Many preppers stock peanut butter, but sunbutter, made from
sunflower seeds, is an excellent item to stock, as is almond
While it’s true that nuts can go rancid quickly, nuts are an
excellent source of energy, so stock up on them in your Prepper’s
pantry (provided there are no allergies in your family)!
Nuts are obviously allergens, so avoid giving them to children
under 5. Think also canned chestnuts, which are a great source of
fiber and found in the Asian section of your supermarket. (They’re
also an excellent source of potassium, magnesium, iron and
vitamin C.) The healthiest nuts and seeds are in bags, rather
than oil filled cans and jars.
Yes, you already knew to stock peanut butter, but did you know
that peanut butter is really a bean butter? Look for peanut
butters that are simply peanuts, oil and salt (yes, the kind with
oils at the top, which are the natural peanut butters). Know that
“trans fat free” doesn’t mean that they are free from trans fats,
it could mean that there is less than.05 grams of trans fat per serving.
Even if you don’t use honey, buy some honey, honey! Not only
will honey last forever, but you’ll use honey in survival times to
flavor boring oatmeals and other breakfast grains, as well as
teas. Honey eases sore throats, and more importantly, if you
don’t have any topical antibiotics, you can use honey as a paste
to put on wounds. There are medicinal and other reasons to stock
honey in your preps.
#28: Iodized salt (and other salts).
There are many reasons to stockpile salt. Look to history and
you’ll find salt was an important commodity. Salt can kill
bacteria! Salt contains chloride and sodium ions, and all living
things need these components in small quantities. Not all salt is
the same! Humans need iodized salt to avoid thyroid gland
problems and goiter and to help regulate fluid balance in the
We also need salt to preserve food. How does salt help preserve
food? Salt inhibits growth of germs in a process of osmosis where
the salt pushes water out of the microbial cells. Best of all, salt
lasts for ever. You can salt everything from salad greens the way
the Roman’s did to curing meats and preserving other kinds food.
Indeed, salt is very useful to Preppers.
#29: Sugars and Molasses.
You’ll need cane sugar, brown sugar and powdered sugar for your
baking needs. We also suggest buying sugar in the raw. Skip the
beet sugar and go for the cane, baby! Skip also the sugars that
you can buy in boxes and paper bags unless you buy them in bulk
and get them into mylar containers and 5 gallon buckets. Buy
your sugars wrapped in plastic, because this helps protect it
from insects. As a second step you can buy sugars in cans or
place your own sugar purchase into mylar bags and sealed food-
grade plastic buckets sealed with a gamma lid. Look also for
sugar in the raw packets.
#30: Spices and herbs.
Survival spices to consider might include saffron will sure make
that boring old rice more tasty, and chili peppers to add flavor to
all those beans you’re storing. Buy more of the spices already in
your cupboard. Some good basics include dill, red pepper, cumin,
rosemary, oregano, dried mustard, and ginger in addition to the
saffron and chili. If you’re stocking beans make sure to get pinto
bean seasoning, right, to enhance the flavor of your preps.
Your favorite condiments will go a long way towards making
foods taste better in uncertain times. Here’s a list of some of our
favorites. Don’t forget hot sauce, soy sauce, and steak sauce.
Chocolate syrups and cocoa powders will serve you well in your
food storage. Store a little chocolate, but not too much.
Chocolate chips store relatively well (for about a year.)
Remember also, baking chocolate! Not only does chocolate pack
loads of antioxidants, but it’s a morale booster that could prove
essential. What’s more the fiber will fill you up.
Pack high quality dark chocolate, like Dove bars, in your Prepper’s
Pantry. Chocolate has been known to
boost heart health.
Keeping at peek vitality is crucial during episodes of stress.
While multi-vitamins are a great idea, be sure to pack a Calcium
with Vitamin D fortified vitamin, as this combination may help
your body fight infections. Also, look for magnesium; As an
essential stress supplement, magnesium prevents the damage
caused by excess adrenaline. Vitamins and pills do not help a
prepper pull weight, but vitamins do help the body use food. Only
after eating actual food can a prepper pull more weight or work
harder. So in short, the answer is not pills, but good food in
plenty of variety is the key! The best option is to have the
vitamins in the food. For kids, stock Calcium gummy Bears, right,
to help fight infections and stay healthy.
#34: Apple Cider Vinegar.
Stock a couple of bottles of vinegar, specifically apple cider
vinegar. Organic apple cider vinegar, is so
useful you’ll want one for your pantry and one for your medicine
Why add apple cider vinegar to your pantry?
All you need is apple cider vinegar, oil and salt an pepper to
make a simple salad dressings and marinades. You can add apple
cider vinegar to your morning smoothie for a healthful boost.
While Apple Cider Vinegar is the king of vinegars, Stock vinegars
(balsamic, cider and rice wine).
Vodka is on the prepper list of morale boosting foods. Why? You
can cook with vodka, drink it or barter it. What’s more, vodka has
a some medicinal value. Use vodka as a mouthwash or help numb
the pain of a tooth ache. Apply vodka dabs to cold sores to dry
them out, as an anesthetic for blisters, or to ease poison ivy and
as a skin repellent to shoo flies and mosquitoes. Have stinky
feet? Wipe the smell clean with vodka. Try vodka too for cleaning
the lenses of eyeglasses. Who knew vodka would be such a
versatile pantry item?
#36: Bourbon Vanilla extract.
Vanilla extract is a common ingredient in baking, some might
even say it’s the most important of flavors. Whether from Tahiti
or Madagascar, it’s the bourbon part that’s most important thing
to look for in the flavor. Bourbon vanilla extract lasts indefinitely
thanks to the alcohol content.
#37: Leavening Agents: Baking soda and baking powder, dry yeast.
Both baking soda and baking powder are leavening agents, which
means they produce carbon dioxide to help food rise.