Foods you need to survive the worst of times, thumbnail

Essential Survival Foods – Stock Up for Emergencies

Note that this post contains affiliate links and we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you buy something.

To greatly increase your chances of surviving the worst of times, you might want to keep these 15 foods handy:

  1. Jerky
  2. Whole grains
  3. Powdered milk
  4. Spices
  5. Nut butter
  6. Dried fruit and vegetables
  7. Nuts and seeds
  8. Preserved meat
  9. Aged cheese
  10. Canned foods
  11. White rice
  12. Corn starch
  13. Honey
  14. Salt and sugar
  15. Pasta products

Note that a lot of factors can result in massive food shortages, including huge inflation prices, the lack of food provisions, natural disasters and wars.

Food depletion has been experienced multiple times around the world, namely during WW2 and the Great Depression.

This is why you might want to supply yourself with some of the long-shelf-life foods.

Foods like salt and sugar, rice, and whole grains (the basics) have a long shelf life while there are other products such as pasta and canned foods that won’t go bad for years.

To help you better prepare yourself for whatever may come, in this article I will cover the following topics:

  • An in-depth look at the top 15 foods to survive the worst times and why you need them.
  • The practical steps to follow to start a long-term food storage plan.
  • An easy process of dehydrating foods that you need to survive (that doesn’t necessarily involve electricity) and the best foods to dehydrate.
  • A tested-and-proven method to preserve meat.

You Need These 15 Foods to Survive

Here’s a closer look at the 15 foods that you definitely need to survive the worst of times:

1. Jerky

This includes pretty much all kinds of jerky, such as:

  • Dried chicken
  • Beef
  • Salmon
  • Turkey

This is the best, shelf-stable alternative to fresh meat, which can easily go bad if you don’t refrigerate it.

Since the drying process removes most of the moisture from the meat, jerky is lightweight, portable, and convenient to store.

It’s also rich in proteins that your body really needs to survive during rough times.

2. Whole Grains

Whole grains have a long shelf life and are rich in vitamins, minerals, complex carbs, and fiber.

Some whole grain examples include:

  • Quinoa
  • Oats
  • Buckwheat

All of these whole-grain foods are highly nutritious and versatile so you can use them for preparing different kinds of meals.

You can cook them even over a fire (if you are in the wilderness and without electricity).

3. Powdered Milk

Unlike fresh dairy products that can go bad in a couple of days, powdered or dry milk can last up to 18 months.

You can use powdered milk with other survival-friendly foods such as oats, and enjoy a meal full of nutrients (e.g. B vitamins, protein, phosphorus, and potassium).

4. Spices

Spices usually don’t take much space while still providing powerful nutritional benefits and adding extra depth to any meal.

Some examples of awesome spices to include are:

  • Paprika
  • Tumeric
  • Garlic powder

All of these may come in handy if you think you are going to crave richer flavors during any survival period.

5. Nut Butter

Nut butter that comes in a jar can last for around 2 years while powdered peanut butter can stay good for 15 years.

Nut butter is rich in proteins, actually richer than regular butter that also has more fats, and it is full of calories and can provide you with plenty of energy you need to survive the worst of times.

6. Dried Fruit and Vegetables

Some examples of dried fruit are:

  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Plums

They are rich in nutrients such as fiber, antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and carbs, while also being heat-stable and can last for up to 1 year if you store them properly.

You can easily store dried fruit in containers or bags and mix them with nuts and seeds to make a highly energizing meal.

The same applies to dried vegetables such as:

  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Celery

They retain their nutritional value while losing moisture that can make them go bad, plus most dried vegetables taste much better than their fresh counterparts.

7. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are among the top survival foods since they are portable, lightweight, high in calories and rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber and healthy fats.

Some great examples include:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Cashews
  • Almonds

All of these nuts and seeds carry potent nutrients your body needs as fuel.

8. Preserved Meat

Preserved meat is high in sodium and low in moisture, which prevents it from going bad.

Some examples include:

  • Salami
  • Pepperoni
  • Prosciutto

And you can even preserve meat (beef, poultry, pork) yourself, which I am going to explain later on in this article.

9. Aged Cheese

Hard or aged cheese has a longer shelf life and can even last a couple of months past the expiration date.

Basically, the older the cheese, the longer it can sit out.

Cheddar can last for about 6 months if you don’t open it and keep it in a cool place.

Also keep in mind that hard cheese is high in calories and contains, rich in vitamin A, calcium, and proteins, which is more than enough to keep you full for a while.

10. Canned Foods

Canned foods have a long shelf life, which means they can last through almost any emergency.

In fact, some canned foods can last for years without any problem.

Some examples of great canned foods include:

  • Beans
  • Tuna
  • Tomatoes
  • Beef stew
  • Bacon
  • Soup

11. White Rice

White rice is inexpensive, can easily keep you full and it can last up to 20 years if you store it properly in an airtight container, in a cool and dry place.

You can use jasmine, basmati, or wild rice as an alternative to white rice during tough times.

Brown rice contains lots of oil and it is healthier than white rice but will only last for about 6 months.

12. Corn Starch

If you keep corn starch dry, rest assured it will last forever… or close to it.

Corn starch also has many other uses such as:

  • A thickening agent for making sauces and pies
  • An egg substitute for making bread, cookies
  • For making omelets and waffles

13. Honey

Raw honey can theoretically last forever, just like corn starch.

It is a nutrient-rich and calorie-dense ingredient that you can use as a sweetener.

But maybe you didn’t know that you can use honey as a powerful wound-healing tool.

You can apply it to burns or injuries since honey has antibacterial properties and it encourages wound healing, which can definitely help you survive longer.

14. Salt and Sugar

Although salt and sugar are some pretty basic ingredients, they are among the easiest to forget when stocking up on survival foods.

Use plain or Himalayan salt that won’t go bad if you keep it in a cool and dry place.

The same applies to sugar, whether it’s white, brown, or powdered.

15. Pasta Products

Pasta products in sealed plastic bags can last up to 3 years.

If you store pasta that you’ve bought in a cardbox in an airtight container, it should stay good for 3 years as well.

Pasta products are rich in carbohydrates that will give you energy and help you make it through the day.

Foods you need to survive the worst of times, food storage jars

How to Start Long-Term Food Storage

To start long-term food storage, determine your budget, then make a list of easy-to-prepare meals (2 breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals) that fit this budget.

For instance, oatmeal, bean salad, peanut butter sandwich, omelet – you get the point.

Then, start stocking up on the ingredients to make these meals about 10 times.

This way, you’ll gradually stock up enough food that you need to survive 3 to 4 months.

However, don’t be tempted to use any of these ingredients when making regular non-survival meals.

But you can always rotate items and use the ones you’ve stored a month ago and replace them with new ones.

Do This to Properly Dehydrate Food

You can use electric and/or non-electric dehydrators or the power of sun and wind to preserve your food and survive the worst of times.

Electric dehydrators can usually hold large quantities of vegetables, fruits, and meat, but keep in mind that they are a bit expensive.

Alternatively, you can use an air fryer or dehydrate your food in the oven.

I will give you an example of how you can dehydrate apples, although the process itself doesn’t differ much when it comes to other foods.

To dehydrate apples in an electric dehydrator, do this:

  1. Wash, peel and slice them so that they are around ¼ inch thick.
  2. Soak them up in a mixture of lemon and water for no longer than 10 minutes.
  3. Place the slices on the dehydrator tray while making sure there is some space between them.
  4. Turn the dehydrator on (it will take 6 to 8 hours for apples to be fully dehydrated).
  5. Let them cool down, then store them in an airtight container.

You can also use natural methods such as sun drying and make your food free of moisture at zero cost.

To dry your food, simply lay it out on a flat surface and leave it to dry in the sun.

And to dehydrate apples the natural way, do this:

  1. Wash and slice them really thin.
  2. Mix 1 quart of water and 1 cup lemon juice and soap the slices in it.
  3. Take the apples out, lay them on cooking paper, sprinkle the
    slices with cinnamon, and leave them in the sun until the dew falls.

The best kinds of meat to dehydrate are:

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Rabbit
  • Fish

The best kinds of vegetables to dehydrate are:

  • Mushrooms
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Peppers
  • Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Peas

The best kinds of fruits to dehydrate are:

  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Pineapple

Foods you need to survive the worst of times, cured meat

The Tested-and-Proven Method to Preserve Meat

Meat is one of 15 foods you need to survive during perilous times.

But since it can go bad quickly, you need to learn how to properly preserve it.

There are two popular methods for preserving meat – brining and smoking.

1. Brining Meat

Brining is a traditional, yet highly popular meat preservation method.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Mix water, salt, and brown sugar.
  2. Soak your meat in it, and let it sit like that for about a month.
  3. After 1 month goes by and once the meat has absorbed all the liquid, you can keep it at room temperature (although I would recommend keeping it cool).

If you do it right, your meat won’t go bad for up to 2 years.

2. Smoking Meat

Smoking is another traditional method you can use to also make the meat more flavorful.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Cut off the excess fat.
  2. Prepare a seasoning (salt, pepper, paprika) and rub it onto the meat.
  3. Get some sort of a smoker (water, pellet, electric), wood (typically, wood chips), a smoke box, a water pan, drip pans, and a spray bottle.
  4. Put the wood chips into the smoke box.
  5. Turn on the smoker and hang the meat.

Smoking meat can take several hours to several days and it lasts for at least 3-4 months.


In this article, I’ve covered 15 foods you need to survive the worst of times, as well as what you need to do to make long-term storage and how to properly dehydrate food that will help you remain alive.

Some of the most important foods to help you survive include:

  • Jerky.
  • Powdered milk.
  • Salt and sugar.

Now you know which foods you need to survive but also how to prepare yourself for challenging times.

Remember that food is essential for survival as your body will only survive for up to 2 months without any food, according to research.

So my advice is to be prudent and plan ahead, just in case as you never know what tomorrow holds.


What are the top foods to have for survival situations?

The top foods to have for survival situations include non-perishable items that are high in calories, provide essential nutrients, and have a long shelf life.

Some examples include canned goods (beans, soups, meats, fruits), dried fruits and nuts, rice, pasta, powdered milk, energy bars, and peanut butter.

How long can canned foods last in a survival situation?

Canned foods are an excellent option for survival situations because they have a long shelf life.

Most canned foods can last anywhere from 2 to 5 years or even longer if stored properly.

It’s essential to check the expiration dates on the cans and rotate your stock periodically to ensure freshness.

What are some important factors to consider when selecting survival foods?

When selecting survival foods, it’s important to consider factors such as shelf life, nutritional content, ease of preparation, and personal dietary restrictions or preferences.

Look for foods that provide a good balance of macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) and essential vitamins and minerals to sustain your energy and health.

How should I store survival foods to maximize their shelf life?

To maximize the shelf life of survival foods, store them in a cool, dry, and dark place.

Avoid exposure to direct sunlight, moisture, and extreme temperatures, as they can shorten the lifespan of the food.

Keep canned goods off the ground to prevent rusting, and use airtight containers for dried foods such as rice and pasta.

Are there any specific foods to avoid in survival situations?

While it’s essential to have a diverse range of foods for survival, there are a few items to avoid or use sparingly.

Foods that require refrigeration, like fresh meats, dairy products, and perishable fruits and vegetables, are not suitable for long-term survival situations.

Additionally, foods that have a short shelf life or are prone to spoilage should be avoided.


Survival copywriter at Atlantic Survival Gear | Website | + posts

Evelyn is a young and adventurous spirit fueled by her unwavering passion for the outdoors and survival. From an early age, she was captivated by nature's beauty, and her thirst for exploration knows no bounds.

Evelyn's love for the wilderness extends beyond admiration. She has dedicated herself to mastering survival skills, from building shelters to foraging for food. Fearless and determined, she embarks on thrilling expeditions, conquering rugged terrains and embracing the challenges that come her way.

As an advocate for environmental stewardship, Evelyn strives to protect and preserve the landscapes she cherishes. Through her inspiring journeys and responsible outdoor practices, she encourages others to connect with nature and discover their own inner strength.

She stands as a beacon of inspiration for young women seeking adventure and a deeper connection with the natural world. Join her on an unforgettable journey of discovery, self-reliance, and the boundless beauty that awaits in the great outdoors.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top