If you’re preparing for a SHTF event, chances are you’ve already started building your food stockpile. There’s absolutely no doubt that having an adequate food supply will be critical to survival when grocery stores and other commercial resources are unavailable or being rationed.
We previously published a list of the ultimate 37 foods to hoard for any disaster. We thought it was time to revisit that list.
Below are 37 more foods to hoard for SHTF that you may want to consider.
Flour can be stored up to one year at room temperature and away from moisture and sunlight in a glass container or mylar bag. When you can include flour in your stockpile, you have the ability to make a lot of different meals.
Flour beetles, called weevils, can get into your flour. If this happens, you can sift the flour to remove the weevils and still use it. Weevils are harmless to humans but they can cause your flour to go rancid.
Freezing flour for just 48 hours when you purchase it will kill any weevil larvae that may be present. To extend the shelf life of your flour, you can even store it in the freezer (if available) until needed, it will be good up to two years.
As long as you rotate stored flour whenever you buy new flour and keep it away from moisture, there’s no reason you can’t hoard some flour for SHTF. Flour should have no odor. If your flour smells musty or smells a bit like Play-Doh, it’s gone rancid and should not be used.
#2. Canned fish
Canned fish such as tuna, sardines, salmon, and mackerel are great choices for your SHTF stockpile. It’s high in Omega-3 fatty acids and protein both of which the human body will need in a SHTF situation.
In fact, canned salmon also contains a good amount of calcium if you eat the soft bones. Pregnant or nursing women should limit their canned tuna intake because it’s higher in mercury levels which may have adverse effects on the fetus.
Shelf life for canned fish is excellent, when properly stored it is safe to eat for up to five years! Simply rotate newly purchased canned fish into your stockpile and use the older cans. To be safe, inspect your canned fish frequently and discard any cans showing signs of rust, dents, or swelling.
Oatmeal is a great choice if you are stockpiling foods for a SHTF event. In fact, I’d recommend storing some of all 3 types of oats as part of your stockpile.
Instant or Quick oats will cook the fastest and are a great addition to your bug out bag. Steel cut oats take longer to cook and tend to have a chewy texture, but will hold their shape after cooking and could even be shaped into bars and stored. Rolled oats require the longest cooking time and are best for “morning porridge” or use in baking.
Oats are an excellent source of protein and a good source of carbohydrates, both of which your body needs for energy.
4. Canned Milk
There are many benefits for including canned milk, including coconut milk, evaporated milk, and condensed milk,in your SHTF stockpile. The main reason is unless you are raising your own dairy cow, or can barter with a neighbor who has one, it will be almost impossible to get fresh milk in a SHTF situation.
Since dry cereal is probably part of your stockpile and you’ll be doing more baking with stores closed, you’ll want to have a milk substitute.
Evaporated canned milk stores for quite a long time on your pantry shelf and it can be mixed with equal parts water to create a great milk substitute. Canned coconut milk is high in good fat and it contains nearly 10% of needed vitamins such as zinc, potassium, magnesium, and iron.
5. Powdered Milk
Milk has many nutritional benefits that you will want in your SHTF diet including calcium, iron, and Vitamins C and A. The shelf life for powdered milk is up to 10 years so it warrants being included again on this list.
Some survival stores sell nonfat dry milk with a 25 year shelf life! Powdered milk can be reconstituted with water to provide all the benefits of regular milk which makes it a great food to hoard for SHTF.
6. Canned chicken
Canned chicken and other meats such as beef, ham, bacon, and vienna sausages make a great addition to your SHTF stockpile as they have a shelf life of 2 to 5 years.
And everyone knows meats are packed with protein, which your body will definitely need in a SHTF situation.
7. Canned or Distilled or Seltzer Water
Canned seltzer water has an estimated shelf life of about 9 months when stored out of sunlight and in a cool dry area.
Of course you’ll want to have plenty of bottled water on hand for your stockpile, but it needs to be rotated more often than canned seltzer water.
If you feel you won’t be able to rotate your water stockpile as frequently as needed or if you want an alternative as an emergency backup to your main water stockpile, go with canned seltzer water. After the recommended 9 months, the color and taste of the water could change but it should still be safe to drink for quite some time.
8. Whey Protein Powder
There are several benefits of adding whey protein powder to your SHTF stockpile. The main one is the fact that whey powder contains of the necessary amino acids your body needs. This make whey powder a great nutritional supplement for anyone who wants to build muscle.
In a SHTF situation, you’ll definitely want to build muscle so that you can handle the physical tasks that will be needed.
Whey protein powder has a long shelf life and has been shown to help manage chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes for some people.
9. Waxed Cheeses
In a survival situation, many people realize that it will be tough to get access to dairy items, especially those that normally require refrigeration. But if you are a cheese lover, there is hope.
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Waxed cheeses can be part of your stockpile. The wax prevents light and moisture from getting to the cheese which means waxed cheeses can have a shelf life of up to several decades!
10. Canned Meals
Canned meals, such as ravioli, spaghettios, and canned beef stew, are great food to hoard for a SHTF event because they have a long shelf life and they don’t require water to cook them.
The other benefit of these canned meals is that many of them can be eaten cold. They may not have the best taste if have to eat them cold, but they won’t make you sick.
Keep several of these on hand to use in an extreme situation where an alternative way to heat them food is inaccessible, or if the smell of food cooking would give away your location.
11. Canned or Powdered Butter
Bet you thought when SHTF, there would be certain foods you’d just have to do without, right?
When I first started prepping, butter was definitely something I thought I’d have to do without when SHTF. I just couldn’t see how it could be made to last without refrigeration. But guess what? Canned or powdered butter is the perfect addition to your SHTF stockpile!
It can last five to ten years if stored properly and you can use it for baking, just by adding equal parts powdered butter and water. So if your recipe calls for 2 cups butter, you add 2 cups butter powder and 2 cups water.
12. Cooking Oils (Virgin)
If you haven’t considered cooking oils as one of the foods to hoard for SHTF, you may want to reconsider. Stick to oils such as extra virgin olive oil and organic coconut oil which are healthy for you and will last 24 months or longer without refrigeration when stored properly.
Your pantry may not include Crisco (vegetable shortening) but your mom and grandma’s pantry sure did. And the reason for that is that it has a very long shelf life, up to 5 years, when stored sealed in unopened metal cans.
You may have trouble finding it packaged this way, so you’ll have to repackage and seal it in canning jars before adding it to your stockpile.
Crisco is a great backup supply because it can be used for cooking a wide variety of meals as well as to make an emergency candle!
13. Organic Shortening
Another option, especially for anyone looking to stockpile a healthier alternative to Crisco or a vegan friendly, or gluten-free alternative, is organic vegetable shortening.
It’s better for you and it has a shelf life of two years unopened and six months (stick form) to one year (canned) once opened.
14. Shredded Wheat
Not only does it taste good as a breakfast cereal with milk or just plain as a light snack, shredded wheat has a long shelf life.
Stored properly, which means in an airtight bag or container, away from moisture and extreme temperatures, shredded wheat should have a shelf life or more than six months beyond the “best by” date on the box. Shredded wheat is also relatively inexpensive, lightweight, and nutritious.
15. Potato Flour
One of the best things about potato flour is that you can purchase it or if you are willing to invest some time, you can make your own. Potato flour is a great substitute for traditional flour in survival recipes.
The starch extracted from making potato flour is also a great addition to your stockpile. Starch goes into your body and converts to sugar which gives you vital energy you’ll need to accomplish survival tasks.
Cornmeal is one of the many foods to hoard for SHTF that is versatile and has a decent shelf life. Use it to make cornbread or muffins as well as polenta, all of which are great options for meals in a SHTF situation.
If you’re familiar with cornstarch you know that it can be used for a wide variety of things including to thicken stews and soups, make gravy, and to add fluff and thickness to cakes, omelets, and other recipes.
Stockpiling cornstarch is a great idea because its shelf life is nearly indefinite when stored properly and it can come in handy for other things too, such as:
- removing stains from clothes
- reducing armpit odor
- dry shampoo
- deodorizing shoes
- soothing bug bites or sunburn
- repelling insects
- eliminating chafing
- loosening tangled knots in rope or line
- and even encouraging minor cuts to clot quicker.
18. Corn Grits or Polenta
If you plan to make your own cornmeal, you can save the coarser bits to use for making corn grits. For every cup of the coarse corn, boil about 4 cups of water.
Add the corn and simmer until soft, about 35 minutes. You can also opt to purchase dehydrated or freeze dried polenta if you prefer. Most survival food sites will carry polenta.
Like oatmeal, corn grits expand when you cook them, you’ll need to stir occasionally to break up any lumps and prevent sticking.
Corn grits are great for survival situations because you can eat them plain or add whatever you have on hand, including butter, cheese, or salt and pepper. You can even add hot sauce if you have it handy.
Hominy is the perfect addition to your SHTF stockpile. It’s the most economical, and the cans have a very long shelf life when stored unopened.
Hominy is great for SHTF because it can be substituted for corn in lots of different recipes.
In addition, people who cannot eat corn due to digestive issues, can sometimes eat hominy without any problems. For those who are really invested in making food from scratch, you can also make hominy from field corn, using wood ash, lime, or lye.
The tricky process of converting field corn to hominy is called nixtamalization and can be tricky but may keep you from starving in a SHTF situation.
20. Fruit Leather
It is possible to make fruit leather from just about any fruit you can find. Some fruits, like apples, pears, bananas, and other fibrous fruits, are easier to turn into fruit leather than others.
The benefit of making fruit leather is that it then has a longer shelf life without refrigeration, if kept cool and dry. Another added benefit of fruit leather is that some kids are more likely to eat fruit leather than fruit in its traditional form.
21. Pickling Salt
If you are relying on being able to preserve your own food in a SHTF situation, especially pickles, you need to make sure you’ve stockpiled pickling salt.
Most people aren’t aware that pickling salt is important to use for brining because it doesn’t have the iodine of regular salt. Iodine not only darkens food but will oxidize it.
22. Pink Himalayan Salt
Another salt worth hoarding for SHTF is pink himalayan salt. But the value of pink himalayan salt lies not in what it can do for preservation of food, but in what it can do for the human body because it is so rich in minerals, more than 80 vital to the human body.
The health benefits of pink himalayan salt are not new but they have become more widely accepted in the last several decades.
Use Himalayan pink salt to prevent muscle cramps, reduce blood pressure, increase hydration, improve circulation, assist in proper metabolism function, and help with electrolyte balance.
It’s also been known to help regulate water content of cells, inside and out and aid the intestine in nutrient absorption.
People have also found Himalayan salt helpful for treating conditions such as bronchitis, COPD, asthma, air purification and allergies.
When it comes to a SHTF situation, making sure that you and your family get the recommended daily amount of vitamins and minerals is going to be very difficult.
Multi vitamins and other supplements from health food or grocery stores will no longer be available.
Adding molasses to your stockpile is one way to help ensure that your family will get at least some of the vitamins and minerals they need to stay healthy.
Molasses contains calcium, selenium, iron, vitamin B6, and magnesium. Shelf life for molasses is lengthy, up to 5 years even for opened bottles as long as they are stored properly.
24. Maple Syrup
Just about everyone likes maple syrup which makes it a great food to hoard for SHTF. In addition to its popularity, maple syrup will keep unopened almost indefinitely in glass bottles or jars. Store bought maple syrup unopened in plastic bottles will be good at least a year, possibly longer.
Maple syrup is great for adding flavor to a variety of meals but did you know that maple syrup also has carbohydrates that your body can convert to energy?
In fact, you could likely survive several weeks on just maple syrup and water, in an emergency situation.
One of the biggest issues during an extended SHTF situation is going to be the ability to prepare meals for your family that are flavorful and enjoyable. You may eat many things that you wouldn’t normally eat, especially as the crisis continues on over time.
One of the best ways to mask an otherwise bland or unpleasant taste is with flavorful sauces. The following have a shelf life of up to 3 years and do not require refrigeration:
25. Soy Sauce
26. Tabasco Sauce (shelf life of months of even years)
27. Worcestershire Sauce
Most traditional condiments, such as mustard, relish, BBQ sauce, and ketchup, have a shelf life of up to one year unopened in the pantry. Once you open them of course, they’ll need to be kept cold, which may be difficult in a SHTF situation.
So, for your stockpile, I recommend you keep some of those little packets of condiments. They’ll be good for up to one year unopened and since they are small, you can only open what you need when you need it.
As for mayonnaise, the shelf life is shorter, only 6 months unopened and it must be refrigerated after opening and can only be used for about 2 months after opening it.
29. Baking Powder
One of the key ingredients that will be great to have on hand during a SHTF situation will be baking powder. While it possible of course to bake without it and there are substitutes, it’s helpful to have on hand.
Baking powder has a shelf life of 6 to 9 months, make sure you rotate the oldest can out when you add a new one, but as long as you get bubbles when mixed with hot water, it can still be used without worry and it does make baking a lot easier.
Yeast is also a leavening agent but it’s made from “good fungus”. Baker’s yeast is used for bread making and is active or live. Brewer’s yeast is inactive (dead) and is used for alcoholic beverages.
They are similar but different enough not to be interchangeable. Yeast can be dehydrated to extend the shelf life. For baking, you can make your own homemade yeast like they did here.
31. Apple Cider Vinegar
One of the best foods to hoard for SHTF is apple cider vinegar. It has a recommended shelf life of 5 years unopened. Keep in mind that due to the acidic content, apple cider vinegar can be safely used for several years past the expiration date if needed.
There are a multitude of survival uses for apple cider vinegar, not just for cooking but for survival and in an extended SHTF situation including:
- Beauty (wash hair, improve skin, teeth whitener, treat dandruff, acne treatment, )
- Food Preservation (pickling,)
- Health (lower blood sugar, reduce cancer risk, mouthwash, sore throat soother)
- Cleaning (deodorizing spray, all-purpose cleaner, sanitize toothbrush, wash fruits and veggies)
- Pest Control (trap flies, kill weeds)
Very few people will turn down chocolate and some people have gotten used to a daily fix of chocolate. This makes chocolate a very valuable commodity to barter with in a SHTF situation. So even if chocolate isn’t something you can live without, it’s worth including in your stockpile for bartering.
Dark chocolate has a shelf life of up to 2 years unopened, whereas white chocolate and milk chocolate only about one year. The key will be storing it properly, out of direct sunlight and somewhere cool and dry that doesn’t experience severe temperature fluctuations.
33. Sports Drinks
One of the important things to consider when building your stockpile for a SHTF situation is staying hydrated. The average adult can only survive about 3 days without hydration, and you’ll start to feel the effects in hot weather or during physical exertion even quicker than that.
Sports drinks, like Gatorade, are great items to stockpile because they have a shelf life of up to 9 months beyond their best buy date.
As long as you are properly rotating your stockpile, using the oldest drinks as you add new ones, you should be able to accumulate enough to supplement your water supply for at least six months once grocery stores and other retail resources are unavailable.
34. Dried Seaweed
The practice of eating edible algae or seaweed is a practice with its roots in Japan, where algae consumption reaches up to 25% of human diet. Of the more than 25,000 species of edible algae, there are approximately 50 species that are edible.
Seaweed, such as Wakame, is native along many coasts around the world. It’s low in calories and high in minerals and vitamins. Other popular edible seaweeds include Dulse, Nori, and Kombu.
Purchase dried or powdered seaweed from an online site or Asian specialty store or if you’re more adventurous, learn to harvest and dry your own seaweed.
35. Ramen Noodles
Most people today are familiar with ramen noodles. They come packaged in individual servings which are more than enough for two people to share once cooked.
The nice thing about Ramen noodles is they are relatively inexpensive and easy to cook. Simply boil the noodles and the included seasoning in water for a piping hot meal.
While experts don’t recommend trying to survive on Ramen alone, due to the high salt content, they are great to stockpile as a supplement to your other SHTF supplies.
If you haven’t heard about microgreens just yet, you will definitely want to learn more about this food which is high in antioxidants. Microgreens are basically vegetables which can be cut early but will continue to grow, sometimes continuously if done properly.
These make a great addition to a SHTF stockpile because they can often be grown indoors using a small space and they provide food more quickly than waiting for greens to mature in a traditional garden.
The best microgreens to grow include watercress, kale, mustard, lettuce, raddish, buckwheat, and alfalfa. Once you harvest the microgreens, you can use some right away and then dehydrate more to add to your SHTF stockpile.
37. Bottled Salad Dressing
To add a touch of flavor to the salads you can make with all those microgreens you are learning to grow, why not stockpile a few bottles of your favorite salad dressing?
Many of the salad dressings have a best buy date of 9 to 12 months when unopened. If stored correctly, away from direct sunlight and heat, they could still be good for much longer.
Once open, you will need a way to keep them cold. Alternatively, you can stock up on the individual packets of dressing, which would have a shorter shelf life but would be easier to use up without needing refrigeration.
Which of these 37 foods have you included in your stockpile? Did we introduce any foods that you hadn’t considered until now? If we missed your favorite SHTF food, let us know in the comments below.
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Born and raised in NE Ohio, with early memories that include grandpa teaching her to bait a hook and watching her mom, aunts, and grandmothers garden, sew, and can food, Megan is a true farm girl at heart.
For Megan, the 2003 blackout, the events of 911, and the increasing frequency of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, spurred a desire to be more prepared for whatever may come along. Soon to be living off-grid, this mother of four and grandmother of nine grandsons and one granddaughter, is learning everything she can about preparedness, basic survival, and self-sufficient homesteading. She is passionate about sharing that knowledge so that others can be increasingly prepared to protect their families.