Long Term Storage of Food

Long Term Storage Shelf Life of Basic Staple Foods

Long term storage food need to be kept in a cool,dry, dark and oxygen free environment in order to have the shelf life listed below.

Dried Beans
Black Eyed Peas 15-20 Years
Black Turtle Beans 15-20 Years
Garbanzo Beans 15-20 Years
Kidney Beans 20 years
Lentils 20 years
Lima Beans 20 Years
Pinqinto Beans 20-30 Years
Pinto Beans 30+ Years
Small Red Beans 8-10 Years
Soy Beans 8-10 Years

Dried fruits do not have a very long shelf life. Even if kept in oxygen free environment they will not last more than a couple of years. This is fine if you are able to rotate them regularly, but for storage longer than a year or two then you should probably depend on freeze dried fruits. Freeze dried fruit packed in #10 cans with an oxygen absorber will last 10-15 years.

Barley 10 Years
Buckwheat 15 Years
Corn, dried 30 Years
Cracked Wheat 15 Years
Millet 8-12 Years
Quinoa 8 Years
Rolled Oats 30 Years
Rye Berries 10 Years
Spelt 30 Years
Triticale 8-12 Years
Wheat , hard white 30 Years
Wheat, hard red 30 Years+

Butter, powdered 3-5 Years
Cheese, powdered 3-5 Years
Milk, powdered 20 Years
Morning Moo 25 Years
Peanut Butter Powder 5-10 Years
Powdered Eggs 15 Years
TVP 15-20 Years
Whey Powder 15 Years

Rice, brown 3-5 Years
Long grain
Rice, white 25+
Long Grain
Wild Rice 25 years

Seeds must not only be kept oxygen free, dry and away from light, it is very important that they be kept in a cool environment in order for them to remain viable . Here is a list of shelf life in years by temperature:
Temp.       Years
39.76    40
49.84    30
59.92    20
70.00    10
80.08    5
90.16    2.5
100.24    1.25
As long as it is possible, it would be prudent to put your seeds for long term storage in mylar with an oxygen absorber and keep them in the freezer. If the power is out for an extended period, place your mylar bags of seeds in a bucket/gasket lid combo to protect them from puncture, rodents or anything else that might compromise the bags and find the coolest place on your property, the crawl space, a root cellar, a closet on the north side of the house, and store them there. For every 10 degrees above freezing that the seeds are stored they lose 10 years of shelf life.
Spices and Herbs
Herbs do not keep very long, but can be store in an oxygen free environment for a year or two. It is best to store whole spices rather than the ground varieties, since the oils dissipate much quicker in powder form. Many spices will last for 5 years or more if kept cool, dry, and oxygen free.
Salt stores indefinitely as long as it is kept dry. Since salt is essential to life, make sure to store enough for normal consumption as well as enough for food preservation and fermentation.

Vegetables, dehydrated and freeze dried
Most dehydrated and freeze dried vegetables are stored in #10 cans with an oxygen absorber. If kept in a cool, dry place, the vegetables will keep for 10-15 years. There are some exceptions, onions and garlic store for about 8 – 10 years. If you are drying and packaging your own dehydrated vegetables the shelf life is substantially less. This is due to the home environment having more ambient humidity than a packaging facility with strict environmental controls. Home dried produce should be used within 1-2 years and should be stored in mylar with an oxygen absorber until ready to be used.

Misc. Food Items
Beverage Alcohol                                                                             Indefinitely
Bouillon                                                                                             Indefinitely
Cocoa Powder                                                                                  15 Years
Coffee Beans and Leaf tea, vac sealed or canned                           2 years 
Carob Powder                                                                                  15 Years
Honey                                                                                                Indefinitely
Instant Coffee and Tea                                                                      Indefinitely
Kool Aid and Gatorade Powder                                                       Indefinitely
Maple Syrup                                                                                      Indefinitely  
Pasta                                                                                                   8-10 Years
Salt                                                                                                      Indefinitely
Soy Sauce                                                                                           Indefinitely
Sugar                                                                                                  Indefinitely
Superfoods*                                                                                        10 Years
Vinegar                                                                                               Indefinitely
*Powdered Superfoods like Chlorella, Spirulina, Acia berry, Bilberry, Maca, Raw Cacao, etc. can be stored in mylar with an oxygen absorber and have a shelf life of 10 years if stored below 70 degrees.

Oxygen Absorbers

What Size Oxygen Absorber Should I Use?
 These are approximations, use more rather than less if there is any concern about what size to use.

Bag Size                                  Type of Product                   Oxygen Absorber 

6" x 6"                                     Fine Grains (sugar, flour, etc.)                       20 CC
                                                  Pasta and Thicker, less Dense Foods          50 CC 

8" x 8"                              Fine Grains (sugar, flour, etc.)                      50 CC
                                        Pasta and Thicker, less Dense Foods         100 CC

 10" x 14"                         Fine Grains (sugar, flour, etc.)                           100 CC                                            Pasta and Thicker, less Dense Foods            200 CC

10" x 16"                                Fine Grains (sugar, flour, etc. )                     150 CC                                                 Pasta and Thicker, less Dense Foods         300 CC

16" x 18"                          Fine Grains (sugar, flour, etc. )                     500 CC
                                                  Pasta and Thicker, less Dense Foods         1000 CC

18" x 28"                          Fine Grains (sugar, flour, etc.)                      750 CC
                                                  Pasta and Thicker, less Dense Foods         1500 CC

20" x 24"                          Fine Grains (sugar, flour, etc.)                      750 CC
                                                  Pasta and Thicker, less Dense Foods          1500 CC

20" x 30"                         Fine Grains (sugar, flour, etc.)                       1000 CC
                                                 Pasta and Thicker, less Dense Foods           2000 CC


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Glad it is useful Crystal!Thanks for stopping by!


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