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14,915 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been wondering......MRE's have a lifespan of about 5 years don't they?

What about other stuff designed for long term storage?

11,437 Posts
Beef Jerky and processed pretzel sticks with cheese.

That will last freakin forever!

41 Posts
MREs can go 8-10 years if stored cool and dried. Stored in the trunk of a 68 Impala out behind the barn all bets are off. LOL

This from Mountain House concerning their pouches and canned products.

Backpacking Foods (pouches)

Stand-Up PouchBased on storage studies conducted over many years, our shelf life is at least 5 years from date of manufacture, as long as the pouch is stored unopened in a cool area. After 5 years, a change in flavor and appearance may be noticed. For best results, avoid prolonged storage at temperatures above 75? F (24? C).

#10 Cans-- Emergency Foods

Mountain House freeze-dried foods are packed in #10 cans with 98% of the oxygen removed. Our canning process uses vacuum oxygen removal and nitrogen flushing, or oxygen absorbers to protect product freshness. Our products packed in #10 cans offer a 30+ year shelf life. We have manufactured cans for almost 35 years for consumers and military use. We have tasted product that is 35 years old and it still tastes great. Each can and lid is coated with a protective enamel inside and out for double protection. The cans contents are protected until you open them. After opening, we recommend using the contents within 2 to 3 weeks for best results and taste; using the convenient resealable plastic lid between uses. Treat any leftover food as you would fresh food.


This is a general list of usual household products.

# Beer
Unopened: 4 months.
# Brown sugar
Indefinite shelf life, stored in a moistureproof container in a cool, dry place.
# Chocolate (Hershey bar)
1 year from production date
# Coffee, canned ground
Unopened: 2 years
Opened: 1 month refrigerated
# Coffee, gourmet
Beans: 3 weeks in paper bag, longer in vacuum-seal bag (After this time, color or flavor may be affected, but product is still generally safe to consume.)
Ground: 1 week in sealed container
# Coffee, instant
Unopened: Up to 2 years
Opened: Up to 1 month
# Diet soda (and soft drinks in plastic bottles)
Unopened: 3 months from "best by" date.
Opened: Doesn't spoil, but taste is affected.
# Dried pasta
12 months
# Frozen dinners
Unopened: 12 to 18 months
# Frozen vegetables
Unopened: 18 to 24 months
Opened: 1 month
# Honey
Indefinite shelf life
# Juice, bottled (apple or cranberry)
Unopened: 8 months from production date
Opened: 7 to 10 days
# Ketchup
Unopened: 1 year (After this time, color or flavor may be affected, but product is still generally safe to consume.)
Opened or used: 4 to 6 months (After this time, color or flavor may be affected, but product is still generally safe to consume.)
# Maple syrup, real or imitation
1 year
# Maraschino cherries
Unopened: 3 to 4 years
Opened: 2 weeks at room temperature; 6 months refrigerated
# Marshmallows
Unopened: 40 weeks
Opened: 3 months
# Mayonnaise
Unopened: Indefinitely
Opened: 2 to 3 months from ?purchase by? date (After this time, color or flavor may be affected, but product is still generally safe to consume.)
# Mustard
2 years (After this time, color or flavor may be affected, but product is still generally safe to consume.)
# Olives, jarred (green with pimento)
Unopened: 3 years
Opened: 3 months
# Olive oil
2 years from manufacture date (After this time, color or flavor may be affected, but product is still generally safe to consume.)
# Wife indefinite shelf life
#Girl friend No conclusive data dosen't spoil ,but taste is affected
# Peanuts
Unopened: 1
to 2 years unless frozen or refrigerated
Opened: 1 to 2 weeks in airtight container
# Peanut butter, natural
9 months
# Peanut butter, processed (Jif)
Unopened: 2 years
Opened: 6 months; refrigerate after 3 months
# Pickles
Unopened: 18 months
Opened: No conclusive data. Discard if slippery or excessively soft.
# Protein bars (PowerBars)
Unopened: 10 to 12 months. Check "best by" date on the package.
# Rice, white
2 years from date on box or date of purchase
# Salad dressing, bottled
Unopened: 12 months after "best by" date
Opened: 9 months refrigerated
# Soda, regular
Unopened: In cans or glass bottles, 9 months from "best by" date
Opened: Doesn't spoil, but taste is affected
# Steak sauce
33 months (After this time, color or flavor may be affected, but product is still generally safe to consume.)
# Tabasco
5 years, stored in a cool, dry place
# Tea bags (Lipton)
Use within 2 years of opening the package
# Tuna, canned
Unopened: 1 year from purchase date
Opened: 3 to 4 days, not stored in can
# Soy sauce, bottled
Unopened: 2 years
Opened: 3 months (After this time, color or flavor may be affected, but product is still generally safe to consume.)
# Vinegar
42 months
# Wine (red, white)
Unopened: 3 years from vintage date; 20 to 100 years for fine wines
Opened: 1 week refrigerated and corked
# Worcestershire sauce
Unopened: 5 to 10 years (After this time, color or flavor may be affected, but product is still generally safe to consume.)
Opened: 2 years
Household Products
# Air freshener, aerosol
2 years
# Antifreeze, premixed
1 to 5 years
# Antifreeze, concentrate
# Batteries, alkaline
7 years
# Batteries, lithium
10 years
# Bleach
3 to 6 months
# Dish detergent, liquid or powdered
1 year
# Fire extinguisher, rechargeable
Service or replace every 6 years
# Fire extinguisher, nonrechargeable
12 years
# Laundry detergent, liquid or powdered
Unopened: 9 months to 1 year
Opened: 6 months
# Metal polish (silver, copper, brass)
At least 3 years
# Miracle Gro, liquid
Opened: 3 to 8 years
# Miracle Gro, liquid, water-soluble
# Motor oil
Unopened: 2 to 5 years
Opened: 3 months
# Mr. Clean
2 years
# Paint
Unopened: Up to 10 years
Opened: 2 to 5 years
# Spray paint
2 to 3 years
# Windex
2 years
# Wood polish (Pledge)
2 years
Beauty Products
All dates are from the manufacture date, which is either displayed on the packaging or can be obtained by calling the manufacturer's customer-service number.
# Bar soap
18 months to 3 years
# Bath gel, body wash
3 years
# Bath oil
1 year
# Body bleaches and depilatories
Unopened: 2 years
Used: 6 months
# Body lotion
3 years
# Conditioner
2 to 3 years
# Deodorant
Unopened: 2 years
Used: 1 to 2 years
For antiperspirants, see expiration date
# Eye cream
Unopened: 3 years
Used: 1 year
# Face lotion
With SPF, see expiration date. All others, at least 3 years
# Foundation, oil-based
2 years
# Foundation, water-based
3 years
# Hair gel
2 to 3 years
# Hair spray
2 to 3 years
# Lip balm
Unopened: 5 years
Used: 1 to 5 years
# Lipstick
2 years
# Mascara
Unopened: 2 years
Used: 3 to 4 months
# Mouthwash
Three years from manufacture date
# Nail polish
1 year
# Nail-polish remover
Lasts indefinitely
# Perfume
1 to 2 years
# Rubbing alcohol
At least 3 years
# Shampoo
2 to 3 years
# Shaving cream
2 years or more
# Tooth-whitening strips
13 months
# Wash'n Dri moist wipes
Unopened: 2 years
Opened: Good until dried out

http://www.realsimple.com/realsimple/co ... 79,00.html

5,063 Posts
i have canned deer meat 4 years old. tastes good.

i have seen canned vegetables still look edible (no, i was sober and didn't try) at close to 10+ years....

canning is something everyone can do, cheaper than other stuff, and lasts longer...fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, bread, desserts, etc...

181 Posts
Beans and rice. Supplement with "camp meat".

1,069 Posts
Mayo lasts "indefinalty" closed and 3-4 months after opening? WOW!
I've been chucking whatever is left after a month or two, thinking it must be going bad when it starts to get watery.

Just shoot me 4 months after TEOTWAWKI.
No quality beer=zero quality of life.

881 Posts
SPAM and twinkies have extremely long shelf lifes.

I'm just not sure I'd want to survive if that is all I had to eat.

243 Posts
M4arc said:
SPAM and twinkies have extremely long shelf lifes.

I'm just not sure I'd want to survive if that is all I had to eat.


641 Posts
Ramen Noodles

and I like how wife and gf are just kinda stuck in the middle of the list :smile:

40 Posts
Survival food?

Hey guys and dolls, don't forget to add in your list for survival the dried fish, shrimp, and squid, believe me it will stay forever.

Premium Member
2,172 Posts
Most anything that has been "dried". I would repackage commercial dry goods with the food saver. every thing at the grocery in the "just add water" category is repackagable for longer term storage. May not taste as good after 5 years, but it would provide nourishment and wouldn't make you sick. As always, store it in a cool dry place.

238 Posts
BulletBait said:
Mayo lasts "indefinalty" closed and 3-4 months after opening? WOW!
I've been chucking whatever is left after a month or two, thinking it must be going bad when it starts to get watery.

Just shoot me 4 months after TEOTWAWKI.
No quality beer=zero quality of life.
Make your own.

188 Posts
A rather long post but excellent long term storage food that can be acquired easily and over a little time. Keeps for very long periods. Included is description and a couple recipes that were posted on another forum i am on. As a side thought, this Pemmican can and will keep for at least 4 or 5 years, I have a friend that has some that is 4 years old and it is still very edible. It will take up alot less room than storing tons of other dehydrated foods that you buy plus is much cheaper.

Pemmican is a Native American word roughly translated as "travel food made
for long trips." A compact source of concentrated energy needing no
preparation on the trail, Native American pemmican often included bear fat,
berries and anything else that was nutritious and available. The energy bar
traces its roots back to the Middle Ages. Crusaders tucked an energy bar,
called the *panforte* (a mix of flour, honey, shortening, nuts and dried
fruit), into their tunics to give them a lift during long marches.

Pemmican may be one of the world's perfect foods. It is only pure * protein,
fat, and carbohydrate* . . . n perfect ratio. It gives the body the densest
nutritional value in a simple, hand-feeding manner. Its high energy
ingredients keeps one from being hungry yet feeds the body everything it
needs. It is very simple, easy to carry, easy to eat, and tastes incredible.

Meat Pemmican is a mixture of dried meat and suet which is eaten unheated,
and which keeps for years under reasonable conditions. The first recorded
use of pemmican was by North American tribes (particularly the Assiniboin of
Dakota and the sub-arctic peoples), by whom it had been used for
generations. It became more widely known in the 19th and early 20th
centuries as a staple for polar explorers...A good sized pinch is about
200-300 calories, which is the perfect snacking caloric amount - the sugar
in the fruit cannot spike your blood sugar because the fat and protein are
balancing the blood sugar and providing the fully-rounded nutrition your
body needs.

Here is a recipe that I found that sounds interesting:

A Recipe for Making Pemmican Excerpted from: *The Voyageur News*, Winter
1998 (Vol. 21, No.4), North American Voyageur Council, Inc. *A Recipe for
Making Pemmican*

Originally submitted by the Dooleys of Boise and printed in the Winter 1981
(Vol. 4, No. 1) Newsletter for Voyageurs

1 Batch = 3 1/2 pounds

4 cups dried meat - depending on how lean it is, it can take 1 - 2 lbs. per
cup. Use only deer, moose, caribou, or beef (not pork or bear). Get it as
lean as possible and double ground from your butcher if you don't have a
meat grinder. Spread it out very thinly in cookie sheets and dry at 180°
overnight or until crispy and sinewy. Regrind or somehow break it into
almost a powder.

3 cups dried fruit - to taste mix currents, dates, apricots, dried apples.
Grind some and leave some lumpy for texture.

2 cups rendered fat - use only beef fat. Cut into chunks and heat over the
stove over medium (or Tallow) heat. Tallow is the liquid and can be poured
off and strained.

Unsalted nuts to taste and a shot of honey.

Combine in a bowl and hand mix. Double bag into four portions. The mixture
will last for quite a while without refrigeration. I have eaten it four
years old. It actually improves with age.

HINT: Vary the fat content to the temperature in which it will be consumed.
Less for summer. Lots for winter. Not only is it good energy food for
canoeing, but an excellent snack for cross country skiing.
This recipe was originally from a Chippewayan Indian Guide as he learned it
from his father.

Here is another one that also suggests using a blender to do the grinding:

*Beef, Buffalo, Venison, Lamb Jerky*

Fresh beef suet (Optional) - Dried fruit leathers or sultanas (golden
raisins) or dried blueberries or any seedless dried fruit not preserved with
Render (melt) the suet, until it becomes a rich golden-brown liquid. Strain
it and throw away any solids that remain. Allow it to cool - it will turn
white. (Rendering twice will give the suet better keeping qualities.)
In a blender, grind the dried meat to a powder. Chop or grind the dried
fruits and mix them with the dried meat powder.
Heat the suet for the second time. Make sure it is as hot as it can get
without smoking. (Smoking means burning.) Pour the suet into the dried meat
mixture, adding JUST ENOUGH to moisten the particles. If the suet is too
cool you will have to use a lot of it to stick the mixture together and the
pemmican will be too rich and fatty. At this point, if the suet is cooling
down too quickly to allow it to soak in properly, you can microwave the
whole mixture to warm it up.
Press the warm pemmican into a bar tin, using the back of a spoon. Allow it
to cool in the fridge then turn it out and cut it into bars about the size
and shape of candy bars.
Wrap each bar in waxed paper or lunch paper and close it with a sticky label
displaying the type of pemmican you have made - eg. "Venison & Blueberry",
or "Plain Beef" or "Buffalo & Apple/Peach".
I have been told that pemmican will keep for months out of the fridge, if
properly made. This makes it a wonderful high energy travelling food.
I have also been told that pemmican is an acquired taste. If anyone makes it
please tell me what you thought of it.

And another one that is a "meatless" version:

1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried pumpkin or squash
1/2 cup peanuts
1/2 cup acorn or cornmeal
1/2 cup hickory nuts
1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
1/2 cup dried apples*

In order to make sure that the acorn or cornmeal is bone-dry, spread it in a
thin layer on a cookie sheet and place it in a warm oven for 15 to 30
minutes, checking frequently. The oven should be at the lowest possible
setting. Then combine the dry ingredients and either chop them with a knife
or grind them coarsely through a food grinder. Add the honey or maple syrup
and blend thoroughly. Divide the mixture into 1/4-cup portions, press into
cakes, and store in the refrigerator.

Watch out! Such fiber will have a 'bathroom' effect, and it will be very
high energy from the sugars in the honey and fruit. However, the excellent
fats and proteins from the nuts will help counter the over-abundance of

188 Posts
One more item is a type of bread called Ezekiel bread. It is a combination of grains and beans that are ground together and cooked as a bread. It has every nutrient and protein that the body needs to sustain life. The only other thing your body requires is water. Do a search on the name and you will find places that sell the grains and beans for you to grind and cook up, or just get the recipe from the sites and stock yourself. This would be good for long term at your home but not an ideal travel idea as it would not be easy to haul all of the materials around. If your a bible believer then know it gets its name from Ezekiel 4:9 where the prophet is told to eat this and drink 1 quart of water a day and he lived off of it for 2 years.
We stock this and pemmican, along with water. Might get kinda boring eating nothing else for a while but at least if we are bored with it, we are still alive.

921 Posts
I will say this, My grandmother was still serving greenbeans that she canned back in 1984, and this was just a few years ago 2003, tasted great!! One thing about surviving, its more then having guns and ammo, hope some of you hunt and can process your own food and have a water source.

66 Posts
25# sacks of pintos & rice

I have a hundred pounds each of dried pinto beans & white rice in 25# sacks. I believe they may last forever... I also have a dozen cases of ramen noodles, as well as other miscellaneous items like cooking oil, tabasco, canned jalapenos, dries mashed potatoes, coffee & tea, etc. It all cost me about $150 at Sams & WM. Lots of deer to procure for protein here in SW Colorado, as well as fish. Hope I never have to find out...... :shock:
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