Non-perishable foods are items that can be kept for some time without suffering from spoilage or decay. They have a long shelf life without even requiring any refrigeration. What they require instead is a cool, dry, and well-ventilated storage to prevent spoilage or decay.
These can be used at the time of any emergency and also otherwise. A variety of these food items are also found in a most emergency kits to ensure ample stocks during a disaster.
12 of the Best Non-Perishable Foods
Low in calorie and filled with nutrients, applesauce is a naturally-sweetened food to keep on hand. It can be enjoyed as a healthy snack, or as a replacement for oil in baked goods. But similar to fruit cups and other packaged products, stay wary of added sugar.
2. Dried and canned beans
While known for their high-fiber content, beans also supply non-perishable, plant-based protein.
Canned beans can be kept at room temperature for 2–5 years while dried beans can last 10 or more years, depending on the packaging. If possible, rinse canned beans prior to use to rid the sodium content.
3. Granola and Protein Bars
Granola and protein bars are a go-to food for backpackers and hikers thanks to their long shelf life and nutrient composition. It can supply at least three grams of fiber and five grams of protein.
Many granola bars stay fresh for up to 1 year at room temperature.
You can easily eat them while driving, walking, or during class. Protein bars are also good to have for after a workout.
4. Canned Veggies
Fresh vegetables tend to go bad faster than you can get around to using them.
But when canned, vegetables are great for storage.
The shelf life of canned fruits and vegetables depends on the type of produce.
For example, low-acid canned vegetables, including potatoes, carrots, beets, and spinach, last 2–5 years at room temperature.
5. Dried Fruit
Dried fruits offer valuable nutrients when needed, especially if a fresh piece of fruit is not on hand.
When properly stored, most dried fruit can be safely kept at room temperature for up to 1 year.
You can choose from a variety of dried fruits, including dried berries, apples, tomatoes, and carrots. You can also use a dehydrator or oven to make your own dried fruits.
6. Nuts and Seeds
Granting convenience, plant-based protein, and healthy fat, nuts and seeds are greatly appreciated to keep on hand as a non-perishable food item.
On average, nuts last about 4 months when kept at or near room temperature (68℉ or 20℃), though shelf life varies greatly between nut varieties.
For example, cashews can be kept for 6 months at 68℉ (20℃) while pistachios only last 1 month at the same temperature.
Countless and healthful varieties include pecans, walnuts, peanuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds.
7. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter include rich healthy fat and plant-based protein.
Commercial peanut butter keeps for up to 9 months at room temperature. Natural peanut butter, which does not contain preservatives, lasts up to 3 months at 50℉ (10℃) and only 1 month at 77℉ (25℃). It's also cheap, and a huge tub of the stuff can last you a whole school year.
8. Canned tuna
Canned or pouched tuna is an extremely valuable non-perishable food item, as it offers a convenient source of protein and healthy fat.
Seafood in retort pouches has a shelf life of up to 18 months.
Whole grains like oats, rice, and barley have a much longer shelf life than other popular but perishable carb sources like bread, making them a smart choice for long-term food storage.
For example, brown rice can be kept at 50–70℉ (10–21℃) for up to 3 months while farro lasts up to 6 months at room temperature.
Grains can be added to soups, salads, and casseroles, making them a versatile non-perishable ingredient.
Keep prepackaged and individual pudding cups on hand, as they offer calcium without the worry of spoilage while helping cure a pesky sweet tooth if one were to arise. A single pudding cup is also way fewer calories than ice cream, with only 60 to 140 calories per cup.
Canned and dried soups are an excellent choice when stocking your pantry. They’re also preferred by food donation organizations. Most canned soups are low in acid and can last up to 5 years at room temperature. The exception is tomato-based varieties, which have a shelf life of about 18 months.
To round out the soup, pair it with pita bread instead of crackers and low-fat cheese.
Replace potato chips with popcorn for a crunchy snack alternative filled with added nutrients, including insoluble fiber and B vitamins. Opt for single serve bags of popcorn, instead of popping kernels. Not only do they assist in keeping portions in check, but are especially convenient if power were to go out.