These 28 Foods Can Last for Many Months to Several Years Without Refrigeration When Stored Properly
When you’re living off the grid, it’s essential to have a pantry stocked with foods that can last a long time. All of the foods on this list have incredibly long shelf lives. Some of them can even last for years.
To ensure these foods last for their full shelf life, it’s important that you store them in a cool, dry, dark place where they are kept in tightly sealed containers. We keep these foods on a shelf in a dark corner of our house underneath one of the lofts. This ensures the foods are not exposed to direct sunlight, which can increase the chance of spoilage. If you have a walk-in pantry or root cellar, even better!
Please note: many of these foods are still perfectly safe to eat after their expiration date. The shelf lives listed simply indicate when the food will no longer be at its “best quality.”
Honey doesn’t actually spoil, and pure raw honey will last indefinitely, but eventually it will crystalize. The aroma, flavor, and color also change as it ages. In general, honey is usually stamped with a shelf life of 2 to 3 years, however, it can sometimes last up to 5 years or even longer.
#2. Maple Syrup
The shelf life of pure maple syrup ranges vastly depending on the container it’s stored in. Unopened maple syrup in a glass jar can last indefinitely, whereas unopened maple syrup in a plastic bottle has a shelf life of 18 to 24 months.
Unopened rolled oats can stay fresh for 18 to 24 months.
A box of unopened packaged cereal has a shelf life of 6 to 8 months. Once opened, that drops to about 3 months if properly stored in an airtight container.
Brown rice has a shelf life of 6 to 8 months, and white rice has a shelf life of 4 to 5 years. However, vacuum sealed white rice can last up to 20 years or longer.
Dried beans and lentils have an indefinite shelf life. Canned beans will keep for about 1 year.
#7. Hot Sauce
An unopened bottle of hot sauce has a shelf life of about 3 years. Pickled peppers have a shelf life of about 1 to 2 years.
Unopened yellow mustard lasts for 1 to 2 years. Unopened dijon mustard lasts for 2 to 3.
Unopened sauerkraut has a shelf life of 1 to 2 years.
Unopened capers have a shelf life of 1 to 2 years.
Unopened pickles have a shelf life of 1 to 2 years.
Unopened olives last for 2 to 3 years.
#13. Dried Pasta
Dried pasta will last for 1 to 2 years.
#14. Dried Fruit
Most dried fruits will last 3 to 12 months.
Unopened jams, jellies, and marmalades will last 6 to 12 months.
#16. Cocoa Powder
Unopened cocoa powder lasts for 2 years. Opened cocoa powder can last for 1 year.
#17. Dark Chocolate
Unopened dark chocolate can last up to 2 years from the day it was made. Opened dark chocolate can last about 1 year from the day it was made if stored properly.
Most nuts will last between 3 to 12 months. Almonds have the longest shelf life – 9 to 12 months – whereas pine nuts have the shortest – 1 to 2 months.
Oils can go rancid but they do last a long time. Most oils will last for 3 to 12 months. However, olive oil and grapeseed oil will last for 2 to 3 years, and unrefined virgin coconut oil lasts indefinitely.
#20. Dried Spices and Herbs
Ground dried spices will stay fresh for 2 to 3 years, as will ground dried herbs. Whole spices can stay fresh for up to 4 years, and salt lasts indefinitely.
Unopened crackers will last 6 to 9 months.
An unopened package of pretzels lasts 6 to 9 months.
Potato chips and tortilla chips have a shelf life of 2 to 3 months.
Sugar never spoils, and even an opened package of granulated sugar can stay fresh for up to 2 years.
#25. Dried Corn Kernels
Popcorn kernels can stay fresh for up to 2 years, though microwavable popcorn has a much shorter shelf life. Popped popcorn stored in an airtight container can last for several weeks.
Flour typically lasts for 1 year when stored at room temperature in a pantry.
#27. Potato Flakes
Unopened instant potatoes have a shelf life of 12 to 18 months. Opened potato flakes will last 6 to 12 months when stored properly.
#28. Tomato Sauce
Unopened tomato sauce lasts for 1 year.