Shelf-stable foods have been around for a long time, but the last year’s events have made us rethink how we do so many things, including what we eat. Long shelf-life foods have thus gained greater attention, especially during quarantine time.
Having such foods in your pantry is always a good idea, but it seems that stocking up on shelf-stable foods is something that deserves even greater consideration, given the pandemic. Whether you just want to avoid shopping in-store too often or be ready in case of a food shortage, here is a list of long-shelf-life foods to try.
In the first few weeks of last year’s quarantine, many stores had their rice shelves partially filled or even empty, and there’s a good reason why that was so. Many types of rice can last for years if stored properly. Examples of such rice types include white, basmati, jasmine, and wild rice.
Ensure that you follow the storage instructions on the rice label to know how to store it once you’ve opened the bag. For example, fiber-rich brown rice has a shorter shelf life and goes rancid after a few months as a result of the oils it contains. Next time you visit your local Aldi, Safeway, or another favorite grocery store, you might thus want to check the rice aisle.
If you’re a pasta buff and you prefer tomato-based meals, you might also want to stock up on canned tomato if you haven’t already. Such products can last about two years if unopened. They can be used for a variety of recipes, and even if fresh tomatoes are preferable, they make a great choice in times of need.
In case fruits are an essential part of your diet and you want to make sure you have them even in times of crisis, you might want to try the dried version. Such products have a long shelf life as they can last up to two years. Keeping them in the freezer is also said to maintain their taste optimal for longer.
Those who start their day with a bowl of oatmeal might already have the pantry stocked with such items. However, if you haven’t tried oats too often, you might want to reconsider this food as it can last for two to three years as long as it is properly stored and resealed. So, next time you visit the local Costco or favorite grocery store, the oatmeal aisle should not go unchecked.
Rich in fiber and nutrients, beans are among the foods nutritionists recommend. They come with plenty of nutritional benefits and, as a bonus, a long shelf life. As is the case with all foods, their shelf life also depends on how you store them, and when it comes to beans, they should be stored in an airtight container and somewhere dry and cool where direct sunlight cannot reach them. As long as they are correctly stored, beans can last up to a year.
One of the nice things about pantry products is that you can cook a delicious meal only with long shelf-life ingredients. Even if it’s recommended to have as many fresh products as possible, sometimes it might be difficult to get such items. Here is where some dry pasta and canned tomatoes can help. Many dry pasta boxes can last for a few months, which makes them a great quarantine food option.
If you can’t start your day without a cup of coffee, you might want to check the instant coffee aisle next time you go shopping. Even if freshly roasted beans get you the optimal taste, a cup of instant coffee can go a long way when fresh coffee is not available. Plus, many recipes include coffee as an ingredient. That’s why baking and cooking enthusiasts might have instant coffee in their pantry. If left unopened, such a product can last up to two years.
Whether you prefer tuna salads or tuna pasta, canned tuna is great to have on hand at any time. What’s also great is that low-acid canned fish, vegetables, and meat can last up to five years when stored properly. However, if you notice that the can is leaking or bulging, the food should no longer be eaten.
In case you want to diversify your menu, you might want to consider lentils. They’re highly praised by nutritionists, delicious in salads and soups, and long-lasting. Lentils can keep their freshness for months, so adding them to your shelf-stable foods list is an inspired thing to do.
This product is also among the ones that have a long shelf life. As long as you seal it in a plastic bag or an airtight container, properly stored sugar should last for years. Some even say that sugar never goes bad. It’s essential to seal it in order to stop pests from reaching it, though.
Next time you need to refill your spice cabinet, you might also want to get more of your favorite salt type. Whether it’s sea or table salt, this ingredient can last for years. Ionized salt has a shorter shelf life, but it should still last for about five years when stored properly. Salt should be kept in a cool and dry place.
This grain is not only versatile but also long-lasting. Quinoa can be used for a variety of dishes, as well as a substitute for rice. You can also add it to your bowl of oatmeal. When properly stored, this food should last for a few months in the pantry.
If you like to explore and try all sorts of recipes or you’re already a fan of Asian cuisine, another ingredient you might want to try is white vinegar. Given that it is highly acidic, this type of vinegar is also self-preserving, and it can thus last for a long time.
Many types of seeds can last for a good few months, and hemp seeds are no exception. They are rich in fiber, plant-based protein, and heart-healthy omega fats. What’s more, they are versatile as they can be used in various recipes, and they should last for about a year when stored properly.
As we’ve said above, many types of seeds have a long shelf life and are packed with nutrients. Chia seeds are among such seeds as they are an important source of fiber and ALAs (Alpha-Linolenic Acid) and contain all nine essential amino acids. As long as you store them in an airtight container in the fridge, they should keep their taste and remain safe to eat for up to 12 months or so.