What has the longest shelf life? Food that will last for ages

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Post lockdown, figuring out what has the longest shelf life has suddenly become much more important. Although the days of hoarding pasta and toilet roll have (thankfully) passed us by, it's still worth knowing how long something is going to last.

Now that we're all spending more time away from the supermarket, stocking your storecupboard requires a new approach. Things that, though delicious, can't last more than two days are off-limits. The age of perishables is over. The time of the can has come.

what food has the longest shelf life Canned foods are famous for having a long shelf life (Credit: Pixabay)

What has the longest shelf life?

When prepping for a time when fresh produce is off-limits, it's natural to gravitate towards stuff that's been sealed in metal. But, beyond the realm of SPAM and baked beans, there are dozens of other ingredients that can become key components in any larder.

READ MORE: Food you need to survive the apocalypse

To help you identify just what has the longest shelf life, we've put together a new handy guide. Next time you're struggling to decide what your post-apocalyptic survival bunker needs, look no further.

1. Honey

Why anyone ever puts an expiration date on a pot of honey is something of a mystery. Because it is made almost entirely of sugar, it is very difficult for bacteria to corrupt the honey itself, giving it an almost impossibly long shelf life.

In fact, some archaeologists have unearthed edible vats of honey believed to be around 5,000 years old.

2. Rice

Rice store food If stored properly, rice can last for ages (Credit: Pixabay)

Though the risks of reheating cooked rice have been well documented, there’s little doubt that the small white grains are an essential in any apocalypse bunker.

According to the USDA and FDA, properly stored uncooked rice can last as long as 30 years in a sealed container.

Watch Tom make Golden Menemen Fried Rice in this episode of Shelf Life:

3. Beans

While canned beans are also incredibly resistant to decay, it’s uncooked dried beans that you really want if you plan on rebuilding society.

According to researchers at Utah State University, beans that have been stored correctly for more than 30 years are still almost always edible.

4. Alcohol

Alcohol long shelf life Alcohol is a natural preservative (Credit: Pixabay)

As a natural preservative, it makes sense that alcohol can last a long time. That there are bottles of wine more than a century old that people are still willing to pay thousands of pounds for tells you that booze is a must-have in any bunker.

Even if you're forbidden from opening your front door, you can at least get plastered.

5. Energy Bars

Both preppers and extreme sports enthusiasts agree that energy bars are the ultimate way to get a long-lasting boost in any situation. With most brands sporting a sell-by date around three years in the future, energy bars are an essential ingredient in the post-apocalypse pantry.

6. Meat

One of the biggest challenges of any unconventional diet is protein. This is where foods such as beef jerky come in handy.

Dried meats may not be as long-lasting as some ingredients on this list, but with shelf lives typically around the two-year mark, they are still a must-have.

7. Peanut Butter

Thanks to its high oil content, a properly sealed jar of peanut butter can last an extraordinarily long time. Typically, most jars will last anywhere between three and five years, though their lifespan can be dramatically reduced if improperly stored.

8. Squash

Squash long shelf life Squash lasts for a long time compared to many vegetables (Credit: Pixabay)

Obviously, squash is not going to stand up against the long-life heavy-hitters like honey and dried beans. But, compared to other fresh fruit and vegetables, the almighty gourd is basically immortal.

If stored correctly, squash can last for up to four months, making it a great way to get some veg in your diet several weeks after your last trip to the shops.

9. Apples

Apples long shelf life Apples can last for ages if correctly stored (Credit: Pixabay)

Anyone who has watched their noble intentions slowly rot in a neglected fruit bowl knows that incorrectly stacked apples aren't going to win any endurance awards any time soon. That being said, there is a way to keep the fruit fresh for as long as six months.

Simply store them in a cool, stable environment like a cellar, and you'll be amazed at the results.

 10. Pasta

dried pasta longest shelf life Dried pasta can last for a long time without spoiling (Credit: Pixabay)

The recent source of countless supermarket stampedes, dried pasta is a go-to for anyone anticipating protracted periods trapped in their kitchen.

In fact, dried pasta is so resilient that some claim it can last for two years beyond the stated best before date. This makes it a must pick for any lockdown larder.

READ MORE: What is the Doomsday Vault?

Before we became prisoners in our living rooms, it was easy to take fresh produce for granted. If nothing else, our present situation has highlighted just how important mindful food consumption can be. At least with this collection of long-life foods, you know that you won't be going hungry any time soon.