10 Foods That Can Last Over 5 Years
When you think about the shelf life of food, you probably think about how long it takes for something to go bad and become inedible. You probably don’t stop to consider how long a specific food could theoretically last before going bad. Most foods have a certain amount of time that they’re safe to eat, but there are ways to extend their lives even further than expected.
The ultimate long lasting foods are freeze-dried meals, however those who are more conscious of their finances as well as their diet may find themselves stocking up on cost-effective canned goods or other pre-packaged foods with a longer shelf life. This is great because it means that you can keep your kitchen stocked with healthy snacks and meals at all times without worrying about them going bad too quickly, which also helps minimise food wastage. However, there are some downsides to canned and heavily preservative-laden foods, and it can be helpful to look at foods that are naturally longer life, as these can often have their shelf life extended by making certain changes to how they are stored.
10 Foods that will last for years
Dry beans and lentils - Beans and lentils can last for more than 5 years when stored in an airtight container. There are two factors that contribute to the longevity of this legume-based food. The first is the fact that they’re very low in fat and contain no oil, which means they won’t spoil quickly. The second factor is that they’re extremely high in both antioxidants and proteins. Both of these are crucial to preserving the integrity of the food.
Nuts - Nuts are another food that people will often buy in bulk. They’re a great source of protein and healthy fats, but they can go rancid rather quickly if not stored properly. Luckily, if you seal them in an airtight container and keep them in a cool, dry place, they can last for years. The only exceptions are shelled peanuts and hazelnuts, which only have a shelf life of 6 months.
Rice - Storing rice in a cool, dry place can increase its shelf life from 6 months to 10 years. To ensure that your rice lasts as long as possible, store it in a container that can be completely sealed, either in a jar or a Tupperware container. You can also place it in a sealed Mylar bag, then store it in a container.
Oats - Storing oats in an airtight container can increase their shelf life from 6 months to 10 years. This is because oats don’t contain any oil, which can spoil easily, and they’re also rich in fibre, which helps to preserve them as well.
Whole grain flours - Storing your whole grain flours in airtight containers, preferably in the freezer, will extend their shelf life to over 10 years. This is because freezing preserves their freshness and stops mould from growing on the inside of the container and the flour inside.
Vegetable Oil - Vegetable oil is a commonly used kitchen ingredient that also happens to provide excellent long-term storage potential. While vegetable oil is often used in cooking, it is actually more commonly used for baking because it does not impart a strong flavour. Yes, vegetable oil expires too, but it can last for up to 5 years when unopened in a cool, dark location. If it does go rancid, it’s easy to tell because it will smell off - if you notice a bad smell when you open your vegetable oil, do not use it. While there are no preservatives in vegetable oil, it does contain antioxidants, which can help extend its shelf life.
Hard-boiled sweets - Yes, really! Hard-boiled sweets contains very little moisture and can last for years when unopened. Certain types last longer than others, but the vast majority are good for at least 5 years under the right conditions. The trick to storing sweets for long periods of time is to store them in a dry, cool place. An unheated garage is often a good choice. Extreme temperatures can alter or melt the candy, so it’s important to store it in a place where it won’t get too hot or too cold.
Granola - Granola is a great way to start your day or enjoy as a healthy snack. It can also be used in baked goods, or even eaten by the handful! Granola has a fairly short shelf life of about 9 months when unopened, but when properly stored, it can last for up to 5 years. Granola is best if stored in a cool, dry place. A dark cabinet will protect it from UV light, which can break down some of the ingredients. Granola is best if stored in an airtight container such as a sealed plastic bag.
Dried Fruit - Storing dried fruit in an airtight container or resealable bag can increase its shelf life from 6 months to 10 years. This is because the dried fruit has already been naturally dehydrated and is rich in fibre. Both of these things help to preserve it.
Nut Butters and Legumes - You can also store nut butters and legumes in airtight containers for over 10 years. The same rules apply for nut butters as dried fruit.
You'll have noticed a clear theme for all of the foods - storing them in airtight containers in a cool & dark location is the best way to extend their shelf-life.
All 10 of the foods can last over 5 years when stored according to these guidelines - and you can further extend the shelf life by including Oxygen Absorbers in each airtight container. Follow this approach and you can ensure that your nutritious food supply lasts for years reducing your need to spend a lot of money on fresh produce that you can’t eat quickly enough.