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Best items for long-term Food Storage.
Dave Ramsey uses the metaphor of a “Rice and Beans, Beans and Rice” diet to explain to his listeners that if they want to get out of debt, they need to go bare-bones with their food budget. That means eating at home instead of eating out and planning meals in advance to keep the grocery bill down.
I am usually pretty good at shopping sales and using coupons. I try to keep my pantry stocked with nonperishable food, not only for everyday meals but also for emergency situations. You never know when you will lose power and have to heat something up on your wood stove or grill (this happened to me a couple of weeks ago).
A “Rice and Beans, Beans and Rice” meal budget doesn’t have to be boring, and eating actual Rice and Beans can be pretty good. Check out all of my Rice and Bean recipes Here
Buying in bulk can also save you money in the long run, but only if you are going to use all of the product and if you do the math to make sure you are getting the best price per unit. (Total item price ÷ unit weight or number = price per unit.) Example: Members Mark 25 lb bag of rice was on Amazon for $11.72 ÷ 25 pounds = 46¢ a pound. The cheapest 1-pound bag of rice I found was $1.66, which would be $41.50 for 25 pounds, that’s a savings of $29.78.
Some items I recommend buying in Bulk that can be stored for a long time include:
If stored properly in the pantry or freezer white rice can last well past the “best-by date”. White rice will store well for up to 10 years at room temperature. In cooler storage areas rice sealed in oxygen-free containers can be stored for up to 30 years.
Either dry or canned. Dry beans will save you money but canned beans will save you time. Canned beans will store well for 5-10 years if kept in a cool dry place. Dry beans can last up to 30 years if stored properly in a sealed container. They do start to lose moisture after a few years so you will need to increase your soaking and cooking times when you use them.
Both Rolled and Instant Oats can be stored for a long time. Instant Oats if stored in an air-tight container can last for several years. Rolled Oats can last for up to 30 years if stored in an air-tight container in a cool environment. Oats can be used to make your own flour, cereal, and granola bars.
Honey can last forever. Honey may crystallize over time but it will still be safe to eat. You can de-crystallize it by warming it up, the best way is to place the jar in a pan of hot water and stir while gently heating it on the stove. Do not overheat it. You can store it in the container it’s sold in. Just avoid heat and moisture. Moisture can cause honey to turn into mead.
Quinoa is a seed, not a grain, it can last for several years past its “best-by date”. It needs to be stored in a cool dry place or it can mold, never eat moldy quinoa. Quinoa should keep well for 3-4 years. Cooked Quinoa will keep well in the freezer for a year.
Whenever cheese goes on sale I buy extra and freeze it. Cheese maintained at 0° F lasts indefinitely from a safety perspective, but the quality deteriorates over time. Cheese gets crumbly after being frozen and is best used for cooking. Freeze it in the vacuum-sealed package you purchased it in or in a freezer bag with all of the air pressed out.
Dry Pasta will last for years past the “best by date” especially if stored in an air-tight container in a cool dry place. Dry pasta can lose flavor and quality over time but will still be safe to eat with a shelf life of 8-30 years.