In any survival scenario, you must prioritize your needs. The four pillars of survival are food, water, fire and shelter. You can survive three weeks without food, three days without water, and three hours without warmth from fire or shelter. So why is food so important then?
Food does more than keep you alive. As your body goes days and then weeks without food, it goes through a huge transformation. It starts by burning body fat to give you energy to survive. However, soon the body will start consuming muscle tissue and then internal organs. This includes brain mass.
The effects of this process include fatigue, extreme headache, confusion, nausea, disorientation, lack of coordination and body aches. This list of symptoms makes it very difficult to function properly in a survival scenario. If you really want to stay on your game, you need a steady supply of food.
So, you stock up on MREs, canned foods, and dried goods. However, most of these have a relatively short shelf life. While your survival scenario may only last a few weeks or a few months, it may not happen until 20 years from now. This means that foods you purchase now will have to be replaced over and over each few years. This can be expensive and frustrating. Most people will become complacent and just let their foods expire. Then, when disaster strikes, they are forced to eat foods that are expired and potentially dangerous.
SO, WHAT IS THE SOLUTION? Foods that last forever. This may sound silly, but there are several different foods that can be purchased now and never replaced as long as they are stored properly. Below is a list of these foods for you to use as a shopping list for your survival pantry. Most of these foods do not make an entire meal by themselves, but they are a good start. Buy these foods and never have to worry about them again.
White granulated sugar will last indefinitely as long as it is stored in a sealed container and a cool, dry place. Sugar is great for adding flavor to your food. This may not seem important, but after weeks of eating the same food every day, you will want some flavor. Sugar is great if you need a temporary boost in energy, and can also be good for bartering. Some people will kill for a taste of something sweet. In all reality, there are more people addicted to sugar than any drug known to man. It also acts as a preservative, and is often used in canning fruits, jams and jellies.
Apple Cider Vinegar
This is a product that I use for cooking constantly. It has a sweeter profile than other vinegars which makes it ideal for dishes like greens. As long as the bottle is sealed, it will last forever in a cool, dry place. This type of vinegar has countless health benefits including cleaning out your digestive tract and killing harmful bacteria. It is known as a superfood, and has even been shown to kill cancer cells. You can use it as a marinade for your chicken, or even as a safe cleaner for your kitchen counters.
A bottle of soy sauce can also last forever if kept sealed in a cool, dry place. This is due to its high salt content. Asian cultures have used soy sauce for millennia partially because of its incredible shelf life. Soy sauce is great to add flavor once a meal is prepared, or as a marinade. It can also be combined with honey or sugar for a tasty marinade.
Honey is a sweet and natural treat that has lots of health benefits. It can flavor your food or give you a quick but short boost of energy when needed. When kept sealed and in a cool, dry place it will last forever. Over time it may crystalize, but you only need to heat it up to bring it back to its normal consistency. In fact, raw honey has been found in Ancient Egyptian tombs that has been determined to still be edible. That means it lasted thousands of years.
These legumes have been used for thousands of years in the Middle East for several reasons. When kept dry and insect free, they will last forever. In addition, lentils are easy to cook just by adding to boiling water. They have vitamins, minerals and a good source of protein. This means you do not need to entirely rely upon meat for your protein. Lentils have even been shown to help regulate blood sugar in diabetes patients.
Nearly every culture around the world has relied upon rice as a staple carbohydrate. This is partially because of its indefinite shelf life. You do need to keep rice in an airtight container to keep out insects. Again, you can just add to boiling water to cook. Some cultures will eat nothing but rice for a meal. I grew up eating rice with a little milk and sugar for a sweet treat before bed or as a carbohydrate rich breakfast. This is another food that was found perfectly preserved in the tombs of Ancient Egypt. Once again, it is a product proven to last thousands of years.
This is a dried biscuit made simply from flour and water. The dough is dried over time to create a hard biscuit that will last indefinitely. Military forces from the Egyptians to Civil War soldiers used hardtack as a basic food ration because it would last. Beware that this product is very hard, so sometimes it is best to use it as dumplings in a soup. You can also add milk, water, coffee, or alcohol to soften the hardtack. While it tastes a bit like a salt cracker, I use hardtack on my survival challenges all the time. In fact, my son and two of my nephews enjoy munching on it as a snack.
Standard table salt will last indefinitely, but be cautious about what you buy. Anything with seasoning included could have a shorter shelf life. Salt is actually required in our diet to replace the salt we lose when we sweat. n survival scenarios, you will likely be sweating a great deal. Salt can be used for seasoning foods, preserving meats, treating wounds, brushing your teeth, eliminating odors, cleaning dishes and even removing rust from metal. This is part of the reason why ancient cultures were constantly mining for salt. It also allowed them to travel, explore and hunt less often because of the preserved meat it created.
This product will last forever, but it must be kept bone dry. Even humidity in the air can ruin corn starch, so use an airtight container. It is great for thickening up sauces and stews, which can go a long way. When you are just trying to fill your stomach, a thick gravy or soup is just what you may need.
This product is one that should be used sparingly. Alcohol will dehydrate your body and can lead to other complications. It is also highly addictive. However, it will last forever even when opened and does have its uses. It can be used for a cleaning product, to relieve pain and to disinfect wounds. It will also be in high demand which makes it great for a bartering product. Just like sugar, some people will kill for a drink of alcohol.
While this product is not quite as appealing as regular milk, it is a must for survival. Standard dairy will be hard to come by, and powdered milk can give you a similar taste with plenty of protein, calcium, and vitamin D. It will last forever as long as it is kept dry.
As mentioned above, dairy will be hard to come by. Ghee is butter that has been boiled to the point of removing all moisture. This leaves pure milkfat which is great for cooking in place of butter. Because the moisture is removed, it will last forever when kept sealed in a cool, dry place.
You will have a great number of decisions to make regarding what supplies to stock in your survival pantry. While MREs, canned food and dried foods are great and are suggested, they have their downside. They will have to be replaced every few years. The foods listed above can give you a wide range of staple ingredients to help create and enhance healthy and delicious meals. More importantly, they will last forever if stored properly. Be sure to make these foods a priority for your purchases, and you will never have to buy them again
This article was originally published in Survival Dispatch Insider Volume 2 Issue 7.