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How long will stuff last in an emergency?

Let’s say that you have stocked up for an emergency, for some kind of disaster. You want to be prepared. Now, the question is how long will that stuff stay useable and safe to eat or drink? There are different types of preppers out there. There are those who just want to be prepared in the near term, and there are those ardent folks who want to be prepared “forever,” however long that may be.

Not so healthy of a choice
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Being a prepper can become contagious, and in the process, one thing leads to another. One day, you are stocking shelves. The next thing you know, you are growing and canning your own food. The next advance, you have become a logistics specialist.

The American Prepper Network published an excellent presentation describing how to preserve food without modern energy such as electricity and propane. That would be like preserving food the way that Native Americans and pioneers might have done it, correct? APN wants you to sign up for a presentation and CD about how to do it at

Here, for free and no signup is a story about the shelf life of “emergency essentials.” It is published at “” and is called “Emergency Essentials.”

“Best if used by shelf life - Length of time food retains most of its original taste and nutrition.
Life sustaining shelf life - Length of time food preserves life, without becoming inedible.”

A main idea from this source is that items have a recommended shelf life, but that usability can be extended by taking extraordinary steps to prepare and store it properly. “Properly” generally means storing in a proper temperature range, keeping it dry, acquiring items that is packaged with the intention to ensure a long shelf life.

The article discusses the nutritional value of the items being stored for food consumption. That is particularly useful.
It is this prepper’s belief that disasters lasting longer than the normal life of canned goods just might be too great to survive altogether. That is a controversial thing to say in the prepper column because many of you intend to survive “the big one,” whatever that may be. I just want to be around to enjoy a bite of canned sardines of beans, if you will.

The source provided here is from the “jerky world”, and they want you to pack your pantry with dehydrated and freeze-dried food.

“Shelf Life

The question is regularly asked, "What is the shelf life of my food storage?"
It is important to first identify what is meant by food storage and shelf life.
Food storage that is intended to be held long-term is generally considered to be low moisture food packed in either #10 cans or in metalized bags placed within large buckets."

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