Shelf Stable Staples to Consider (During Self-Quarantine)

Every day when I watch the news, there doesn’t seem like the end of this COVID-19 will be anytime soon, and every time I venture out to the grocery store, I feel like Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. I decided creating a an emergency preparedness pantry (preppier pantry), might be the better way to go.

Choosing the right foods to stock your prepper pantry with is very important. You want to make sure you have things that will last a long time until you need them, and that will last while you need them. Below are the basics:


Dry rice will last indefinitely as long as it stays sealed and dry. It is also great for a prepper pantry because you can control how much of it you use at a time. Basmati, jasmine, and white rice have the longest shelf lives of all rices. However, brown rice only lasts up to six months in a regular pantry, so try to avoid using it as part of your prepper pantry if possible. 


Dry beans will last for at least two to three years in airtight containers away from moisture, heat, and sunlight. However, keep in mind that the longer they are stored, the longer they will need to be soaked before they are cooked. You can also control the amount of beans you use up each day without compromising the rest of what you have stored. 


Uncooked, dry pasta also lasts for years as long as it is kept sealed in a cool, dry place. Pasta is a good option for a prepper pantry because there are many varieties and ways to prepare it, as well as being able to control the rate of use. The best way to store dry pasta is to transfer it from the plastic or cardboard it comes in, to an airtight container with an oxygen absorber.


Different flours can actually last for different amounts of time past their expiration date. Whole wheat and self-rising flour have the shortest shelf life at six months past use date; rice flour, potato flour, and white flour can be used up to eight months past; corn flour is good for a year after; and corn meal has the longest shelf life after use date at two years. Just like other dry goods, flour needs to be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Sugar and Spices

Being able to flavor your survival foods is going be a great boon to you and your family in an emergency. Sealed, dried spices can last up to four years in your prepper pantry, and sugar actually never spoils in the right conditions. Due to the strong smells that sugar and spices have, it is very important to keep them in well sealedcontainers in a pest-proofed area. Keeping them dry and cool will be important for their longevity as well.

Canned Goods

Cans that remain in good condition can last up to six years on a shelf. Good condition would mean no dents or deep scratches, and no big temperature fluctuations while they are being stored. You will want to make sure to get a variety of canned goods to keep up a high amount of differing nutrients and possible ingredients for survival recipes. Keeping cans in a temperature controlledenvironment is very important to keep them from spoiling or developing growth of botulism.

Peanut Butter

Unopened peanut butter can stay good for about two years. It can also be used for up to four months after being opened. Peanut butter is very shelf stable, and high in protein and good calories. It also tastes good as a sweeter kind of treat or snack if you have kiddos you are prepping for as well.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are not known for having very long shelf lives. They will only last about six months unopened, and a year if frozen. If you really want to have them stocked up for your prepper pantry, you should invest in a small deep freezer to keep them fresher longer. However, it may be better to simply keep them in a rotated stock where you use what you need and replenish as needed like you would with a “working pantry.”

Dried Fruits and Veggies

Dehydrated fruits and vegetables have incredibly long shelf lives when stored properly. Fruits can last at least five years, while vegetables can last over ten. Making your own dried fruits and veggies that will last this long can be quite the process, so be sure you know what you are doing, and practice a lot if you want to do this yourself. If not, store bought, vacuum sealed packs of dried fruits and vegetables are perfectly fine. Dried produce has the same amount of nutrients as fresh, and more than three times the amount of fiber. This makes these products especially useful for a prepper pantry.

Pickled Products

Pickling can preserve food for months depending on the way it was pickled. Like drying, pickling can be a tedious task that you need experience within order to make food that will be safe for that long. However, getting store bought or professionally pickled foods is great for your prepper pantry. As long as they remain sealed, pickled products do not need to be refrigerated; but you will need to refrigerate them after you open them. For this reason, you will need to make sure you have a way to do this in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency. 

These are all just the basics of what you could have in your prepper pantry. If you simply use this as a guideline, you will be able to figure out the perfect foods to fill your prepper pantry with. You can also refer to this list to help you decide how you want to store, and how much you want to store of each thing.


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