11+ foods that practically last forever

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Do you want to have a pantry full of staples? There are plenty of reasons to maintain well-stocked shelves. Full pantry shelves mean fewer treacherous market runs in winter weather. Additionally, fewer grocery trips per week can equal a better life balance. Maybe you’ve resolved to prepare for an emergency and want something to go along with Twinkies. Or you want to purchase foods in bulk, which can result in a food budget that stretches.
Whatever your reason for looking for shelf-stable foods, this list shares foods that will last a long time. Furthermore, many of these staples are flexible, allowing you to vary their uses to suit your tastes.
1. Honey
This sweetener is one of the most famous long-lasting foods. Not only is it useful in cooking and baking, but honey is also prized for its health benefits and uses in natural remedies. Though a jar of honey may crystallize over time, it can be gently warmed to return it to its viscous state, though the crystal form is edible also.
2. Salt
Although perhaps not technically a food, salt is a necessary ingredient in many dishes. Salt does not offer an inhabitable environment for bacteria, so as long as it is stored in a cool, dry place, it can last indefinitely.
3. White rice
Rice is a pantry staple that can last years on the shelf when stored properly in an airtight container. Filling enough to be a meal and flexible enough to be dressed up for a number of side dishes, white rice is a useful addition to have. Please note that although white rice lasts a long time, the oils in brown rice will break down sooner, rendering it inedible.
4. Dried beans and legumes
Full of protein and nutrients, dried beans and legumes are a wonderful addition to a stocked pantry. They can be added to soups and stews or rehydrated and eaten alone. Even though dried beans can last decades when stored properly, they will require more time to soften the older they are.
5. Dried pasta and ramen
Much to the delight of college students everywhere, packaged ramen is considered shelf stable for about a decade. Likewise, dried pasta, when stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark location, can also be kept in the pantry for years. Both of these noodle dishes are flexible and filling, making them pantry staples.
6. Oats
Like many of the foods on this list, proper storage is key for maintaining the life of oats and oatmeal. Out of direct sunlight and in an airtight container, oats can last for years. Eaten alone or added to baked goods, oats are filling and full of fiber. They are also a good gluten-free option.
7. Powdered milk
Even though it’s not exactly the stuff cookie and milk advertisements showcase, powdered milk is a useful pantry addition. In an emergency, it can be reconstituted and used as real milk, but it is also a common ingredient in cooking and baking. Stored in a dry environment, it can last a long time.
8. Peanut butter
Peanut butter lovers around the world, rejoice! Peanut butter is a versatile food to have in the pantry. It can be used in cooking, baking and sandwiches and is equally filling right of of the jar. This is one instance where all-natural isn’t necessarily better. The lack of preservatives in those types of nut butters means they require refrigeration, so they are not shelf-stable.
9. Dried fruit
An efficient source of fiber and vitamins, dried fruit can be kept a long while when kept in a cool, dark pantry and an airtight container. A filling snack on their own, dried fruits can also be added to sweet and savory dishes as well as baked goods.
10. Protein powder
A tasty filling meal replacement created with a dried protein, such as whey, protein powder can last years in airtight containers. It's just as effective for a healthy, on-the-go snack as it is post-workout.
11. Red wine and hard liquor
Fine red wines do improve with age, so long as they’re stored in cool, dark location. Similarly, hard liquors will also last for years, though they may eventually begin to lose their potency. In addition to being consumed in a glass, these long-lasting items can be added to recipes to bring depth and flavor to savory dishes.
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