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What types of Grocery Store food has a very long shelf life?

Discussion in 'Survival/Preparedness Forum' started by flw, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. flw


    Apr 4, 2012
    In addition to bottled water, salt,dried rice and beans, what other foods are available at a typical grocery store that has a long shelf life?

    Also how long do typical canned foods last from date of canning ? Not best served by but still safe by ?
  2. quake

    quake Millennium Member

    Aug 4, 1999
    Arkansas, USA
    Longest-lasting is probably what you list, frankly. Rice, beans, etc. Pasta and canned goods are also very good for shelf-life considerations. Worst candidates are things with oils (nuts, bottles of cooking oil, etc) as the oil tends to turn rancid. No way to prevent that that I know of; and it can only be moderately mitigated even in ideal storage conditions.

    Canned stuff can be literally years past its marked date. Tuna, canned hams, canned things in general. I was on my own last night (wife is babysitting a family member who just had their gall bladder out at 94), so for dinner I grabbed a can of chili (wolf or hormel; not sure) that 'expired' last year. I've eaten canned hams 3-4 years past their 'use by' dates. This isn't unique to me, many others here have done likewise. Some things will eventually get mushy (fruits, vegetable soups, etc), but in good conditions that takes quite a while past the 'use by' date, and even then it's still safe & healthy for quite a while afterward.

    Storage conditions are the biggest factor in shelf life. We keep our 'pantry' between 45-65 degrees and also keep the humidity in there down at 35%; at low as the dehumidifier will go. And in those conditions we're able to keep even things like boxed breakfast cereal fresh-tasting for over a year; do it all the time.

  3. par4buffett


    Nov 4, 2012
    north Houston
    Twinkies, don't forget Twinkies... shelf life is in star dates...

    Isn't canned stuff generally good as long as it's still vacuum sealed? I had a can of cream corn "explode" in the pantry once... : )
  4. Donn57

    Donn57 Just me

    Aug 11, 2006
    Sunny Florida
    If you're squeamish about eating canned foods after the "expiration" date, the best foods at the grocery store (besides what you mentioned) are going to be canned meats. You can usually find these with an expiration date of three years or so. Not much else in the grocery store is going to be any better.

    Of course, if you're willing to ignore the expiration date, almost anything in a can should be edible for years beyond the expiration date. The nutritional value and consistency may not be what it was when fresher, but it will sure beat starving.
  5. dukeblue91


    Sep 6, 2012
    Raleigh, NC
    From a grocery store buying point the canned goods are the way to go.
    But thanks to the internet buying freeze-dried and dehydrated foods is very simple and relatively affordable.
    But there are other things you should think about too, like spices, honey and sauces and the list goes on.
    Most anything powdered will last quite a long time.
    The trick is to buy what you consume now so that you can rotate your stock on a regular basis and don't have to worry about out of date stuff till the SHTF.
    Do not look past the little things we take for branded now like coffee, teas, paper towels, toilet paper and if you drink a few bottles of the stuff that you like.
    This will make it so much better then just eating beans and rice.
  6. Canned goods..

    I ate green beans and corn from cans last night that were bought in '97. tasted just like they did then.

    We did mac n cheese w/ vienna sausages today for lunch, M&C was "best by" Apr of 10, VC's in '09. Cooked/tasted fine. Salsa was fresh, but i would think it would keep as long as the packaging holds up.. tomato products being very hard on cans and jar lids..

    Canned goods last a L O N G time if the can is intact.

    BTW, I have been quite surprised since finding "prepper communities" on-line, at how many people are squeamish about canned goods in general, and canned meats in particular. A couple years ago I had canned venison that my grand father had shot and meema canned. They both died in '97. I honestly don't remember what was the last year he hunted, but probably '94. I didn't die. My father still has a few jars of theirs.
  7. Carry16


    Sep 7, 2004
    SW Missouri
    Every so often, when people are discussing food longevity, I just have to relate this story. When my father died I found a jar of bread and butter pickles in his fridge that his mother, my grandmother, canned 50 (that's FIFTY) years prior. We opened and ate the whole jar, and the pickle slices were actually still crispy. My grandmother really knew how to can.
  8. Deputydave

    Deputydave Millennium Member

    Feb 20, 1999
    Good ole fashioned oat meal!
  9. boone10

    boone10 Glockeologist

    Aug 7, 2011
    Your post reminded me--I haven't seen a "swollen" can in many years. Seems like I used to see them a lot more as a kid. Makes me wonder if commercial canning methods are even better than they were 30 years ago.
  10. DustyJacket

    DustyJacket Directiv 10-289

    Oct 16, 2008
    Missouri, East of KC
  11. waawaaweenie


    Feb 6, 2012
    middle of PRK
    I can't believe his fridge has lasted that long :whistling:
  12. Carry16


    Sep 7, 2004
    SW Missouri
    His fridge didn't. He lived in several places after my grandmother died.

  13. JBL13


    Oct 24, 2010
    Northern Utah
    I don't know if there's anything special about how Hormel cans foods, but I've been focusing a lot on buying their canned meats. One of the reasons can be found here, right on their website: (scroll down to "Products - Pantry").
  14. Aceman


    Nov 30, 2008
    I would not blink at 5 years past the date. But hopefully by rotating, that is never an issue, unless you have accumulated more than 5 years of canned goods!
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2013
  15. ClydeG19


    Oct 5, 2001
  16. pugman


    May 16, 2003
    Canned goods from subs sunk during WW2 have been found to have no harmful bacteria in them when opened.

    Granted its a cold environment; but the canned goods held up to the pressure.

    I've drank beer which sat in a Wisconsin unheated garage for three years. The beer definitely had a metallic taste and it tasted like crap (then again, does Miller taste good even when fresh?) but I didn't get sick at all. However, I only had one.

    Canned goods will last a very long time.
  17. Here is the deal.

    If canned properly, no matter what the food, all the bacteria is DEAD. No new bacteria will magically appear to ruin the food. It is a SEALED environment. If the container is not breached, and the food was properly canned, the contents are edible. Tasty? maybe not. As full of nutrients as when fresh? maybe not. Edible? yes.

    Use your brain.

    Is the can undamaged, not leaking ? Is the can swollen? Upon opening do the contents seem ok? don't stink..? well, no more than when they were canned? No fuzz? no green/pink/grey growth etc?

    The answers to these questions determine if it's edible or not. Not the date on the bottom of the package.
  18. inzone


    Aug 20, 2009
    CRISCO supposedly is just about forever..... not the healthiest cooking oil, but it has an extraordinary shelf life....
    Mac and cheese in the boxes has a very long life, white rice, honey, salt, sugar, soy sauce, ramen noodles, pasta, bullion cubes, pre packaged Kool-aid mix, beans/dried, canned meats, canned fruit, anything canned, hard salami, hard cheese sealed in wax,

    hardtack (you can make it in your oven). pinole (do a google search).... cornstarch, most spices, oatmeal, raisins, penaut butter is not too bad for a few years, I stored some white flour with dessicants and o2 absorbers, etc and it lasted fine for twenty years....although the experts say otherwise....

    dont forget PLENT of matches, svae your jars, all your plastic bottles andf fill them up with matches, bullion cubes, salt, sugar, honey, etc etc......
  19. USMC61


    Sep 10, 2008

    As an aside, I read once that more Spam is consumed in Hawaii than any other state.