I know we have talked about this before - but we have new folks following and we also all need reminders now and then.
There are many, many items that you can stock - that virtually last for years and years (or forever), especially if properly stored.
Before I start that - I want to reiterate something that is a huge pet peeve to me. There are NO expiration dates!!!!! (Only on baby formula). The dates are "BEST if used by" dates. That means optimal flavor if used by that date - but does not mean bad or expired!
The stuff in those packages and cans is inanimate and doesn't know the date!!! LOL It doesn't magically go bad.
The dates are not mandated by any government - they are applied by the manufacturer - to get you to buy more!!!!! DO NOT throw away food!
If I get people to learn anything - this is the one thing I hope it is. People are so incredibly wasteful - and it is pitiful.
If stored properly and not dented or rusting - canned foods and dried foods can last for years PAST those dates!!!! STOP wasting perfectly good food!!!!
I have to say this drives me CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I know - short trip!) This is my biggest pet peeve ever!
Consumables that last years:
HONEY - never goes bad. If crystalized - just heat it up. Honey that is thousands of years old has been found and it is good. It is also basically the perfect food - it has so many healthy properties
SOY SAUCE - lasts indefinitely on the shelf unopened and will last over 3 years opened and refrigerated
Usually have a best date 2 years out - but they are still 90% effective way after that
Will outlast about everything in your pantry. It may change in taste (because of container), but it is still perfectly fine to drink according to FDA
It may lose it's potency over time - but it is still usable as a cleaner, deodorant, toothpaste, etc.
SUGAR - white and brown - last for years. It may get hard - but it can be broken up and used. Add a few marshmallows to brown sugar container to help keep it soft. Keep dry and in an airtight containers
PURE MAPLE SYRUP
Last years and years
Lasts basically forever. Coffee beans and regular brew coffee will lose flavor over time - but instant can last for years. Always keep some on hand for an emergency if you are a coffee fanatic!
USDA says that if properly stored that it will last indefinitely.
Will last years and years. Yes, the older they get - the longer you have to cook them. But they are still edible. You can even grind the dry beans and add water to rehydrate - like refried beans. Beans are wonderful protein.
All types of vinegar last for years. White vinegar is basically a forever item.
(Clarified butter) is shelf stable and can be used instead of butter and for cooking oil. Lasts for years
It is pricey to buy - but you can even make it yourself. Great shelf stable alternative for butter.
SALT - Lasts forever - remember it took millions of years to form!!! Keep non-iodized salt - as it lasts and can be used for everything
Can be kept indefinitely if sealed and dry.
Lasts forever. I know a lot people aren't drinkers - but it is good for other things than drinking. You can make pure vanilla extract from hard liquor (look at what you buy - it has alcohol). It is antiseptic as well. It is a useful item for barter.
PURE VANILLA EXTRACT - same as above. It will last forever.
RICE - white rice if kept sealed and dry lasts for many years. Brown rice can go rancid from the oils in it (so if you want to keep for a long time - freeze)
I realize that all the items listed above have "best by" dates on them - they mean nothing. These items have been proven to last for years and years.
As we are all looking to add to pantries and look to be prepared for about anything that may happen - these are items that you want to have on hand.
Take time to do research - keep glass jars for storage and keep food grade buckets for food stuffs.
Someday you may be hungry and these items could sure come in handy.
FORGET THE DATES - and DON'T WASTE