A full guide on the Longest Lasting Produce and Pantry Staples we stock in our home. Stock your pantry and have it stocked for any crisis or disaster.
Having a well-stocked pantry is essential if there’s ever a crisis, whether it’s a natural disaster, health reasons, less income or even job loss. We’re sharing our favorite healthy items that we always stock in our pantry, freezer, and freeze from dried goods to fruits and vegetables.
Most produce can usually last 3-5 days, maybe a week tops. This is true for things like asparagus, broccoli, some fresh herbs, etc. You can help things last longer by storing asparagus in water, but generally, other than listed below, produce spoils within a week if not used.
We’re also sharing easy pantry meals below each item so you can easily make recipes with what you have at home.
LONGEST LASTING PRODUCE:
- Apples – These can be kept for weeks, in fact, they could already be a few months old in the supermarket. Store them on their own in a cool area around 30 degrees and they can easily last a month, maybe more. How long do apples last? 4-6 weeks.
- Bell Peppers – We always have bell peppers in the house. In fact, when we have just 3-4 left we run out and get more so we always have them stocked. They’re great for recipes and snacking. If you can’t use them up you can easily freeze them. How long do bell peppers last? 1-2 weeks.
Beets – It’s important to remove the greens from the top, the same goes for any other root veggie that has greens still attached. How long do beets last? About 2 weeks.
- Cabbage – This should be properly stored in the refrigerator, wrap in a damp towel and with a plastic bag that has tiny perforations. You can use in soups, stews, and it’s even great with stir-fry. How long does cabbage last? 1-2 months.
- Carrots – They’re great for cooking and snacking, best kept in the bag in a crisper drawer. How long do carrots last? About 3-4 weeks.
- Celery – This is great for soups, stews, and snacking. How long does celery last? About 3-4 weeks.
- Ginger: This can add tons of flavor to recipes, great for sauces, tea, and full of health benefits. Store in the refrigerator or you could even freeze. How long does ginger last? About 4-6 weeks.
- Garlic – We keep ours in a cabinet and buy it in bulk so we never run out. How long does garlic last? About 6 months for a bulb.
- Onions – Store onions in a dry area and they can last for many months, we keep them in a cabinet just like our garlic. How long do onions last? About 6 months.
- Oranges – Nothing beats a fresh orange, these are best stored in the fridge. Don’t forget about lemons and limes! How long do oranges last? About 3-4 weeks.
- Potatoes – They should be stored in a cool dry place, not in direct sunlight. We have found that organic potatoes spoil much more quickly, so that is something to consider. If they develop any sprouts remove those and don’t use them if they’re soft. How long do potatoes last? 2-3 months.
- Radishes – These can be a great addition to salads and stews. We store them just like we do carrots. How long do radishes last? About 2 weeks.
- Winter Squash (not zucchini) – Butternut Squash, Spaghetti Squash, these are hearty squashes like pumpkin and can last for months when kept in a dark cabinet. How long does winter squash last? About 3-6 months.
- Frozen Fruit and Frozen Vegetables – When fresh isn’t available it’s nice to know you have some frozen produce to tide you over. The produce is picked while fresh and frozen within hours of being picked, it’s just as good as fresh, but can be a little more waterlogged. We always have frozen berries, pineapple, mango, peppers and onions, vegetable mix, broccoli, spinach, and even artichokes.
HEALTHY PANTRY STAPLES:
We recommend checking dates, the longer the better. Some things may last longer than the expiration date, but this depends on how it is stored and packaged.
- Canned Vegetables – We like to keep a supply of canned corn, canned beets, canned carrots, canned potatoes, and canned green beans. These should keep for a few years depending on the expiration date. Just be careful if any cans are dented or bulging. Anything that has been damaged or isn’t properly canned carries the risk of botulism. We stick to commercially canned.
- Dehydrated and Dried Fruit – You can easily add more flavor or have a great snack with dried fruit. Our favorites are mango and banana.
- Dried Beans or Canned Beans – Dried beans can be easily cooked in the instant pot or on the stove, but if you have no water or cooking source canned is always a good option. Dried beans will last nearly forever, but do take longer to prepare. There are many options but our must-haves are Garbanzo Beans, Kidney Beans, Pinto Beans and don’t forget about lentils, we love making lentil soup.
- Tomatoes – We buy a lot of canned tomatoes, actually we prefer using glass jars, but canned works just as well. You can use to make sauces and soups, or even add to recipes like you would tomatoes. It comes in whole tomatoes, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, fire-roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce, and even tomato paste.
- Maple Syrup – This can last forever and is so much more than just a syrup for your pancakes. It can be used to sweeten recipes. Keep in mind once opened you must refrigerate and then it will last for a few months after.
- Rice – White Rice can last many years if properly stored. Keep it in a cool dry place in an airtight container. Some wholesale stores carry 25lb bags of rice, that could last you a long time. Brown rice will not keep as long due to the oils and will go rancid over time.
- Nuts and Seeds – Almonds, peanuts, pistachios, walnuts, can be added to meals to add texture and protein or even enjoyed as a snack. Don’t forget about superfoods like chia seeds, hemp hearts, and flaxseeds.
- Dried Pasta – You can use pasta to bulk up many recipes or even just enjoy with a little sauce.
- Oats – can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert. We love having our apple cinnamon oatmeal, making banana oatmeal cookies, and you can even make savory oats. Don’t forget about other grains, barely is one of our favorites for soups!
- Flour – Having flour is essential to the pantry. You can make bread, cookies, cakes, muffins, and so much more.
- Dark Chocolate – This will last longer and can even last years if unopened. Opt for dairy-free as the dairy in milk or lighter chocolate causes it to spoil more quickly. This also goes for cocoa and cacao powder.
- Flour Tortillas – These on average last 2-3 months, but they can be frozen. They’re great for tacos, burritos, even making chips.
- Coconut Milk – Use for drinking or cooking. We love adding to soups or stews and thickening sauces.
- Milk Cartons – Shelf-stable milk comes in many options from oat milk to hemp milk, you can also get regular milk and even powdered milk.
- Broth – Stocks and broth are always good to have you can use it to add flavor or make a soup with canned or frozen vegetables.
- Salt – We always have salt in the kitchen, but it’s a good idea to have a separate container in your pantry for emergencies. Salt is one of those things that’s is easy to overlook, but when you’re without it some recipes could be very bland. Don’t forget about pepper and other dried herbs and spices.
- Vinegar – We use vinegar for recipes, but this is also great for cleaning surfaces and your humidifier. We always have 1-2 gallon jugs.
- Canned Fish and Meat – If you’re not vegan things like tuna, salmon, and even chicken can come in a can and last for a few years depending on the expiration date.
- Canned Soups – When you buy soup in a can or a carton you can easily make it into a meal by adding bulk like pasta or rice.
- Popcorn Kernels – You can easily make a snack when you have popcorn. It’s a whole grain and filled with fiber.
- Peanut Butter Powder – This has double the shelf life of regular peanut butter and can easily be added to recipes.
- Sugar – When stored correctly it can last for years. This is great for baking, sweetening recipes, and even for drinks. We also love using sugar to make homemade scrubs for our hands and body.
STAPLE CONDIMENTS AND MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS:
- Coconut Aminos or Soy Sauce
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Hot Sauce
- Jams and Jellies
- Baking Powder
- Baking Soda
- Vanilla Extract
This is simply a guide. We’re simply providing this information based on our personal preferences for what we have in our pantry now or in the past. Use your best judgment when purchasing things for your pantry. Pay attention to dates and consult a doctor for specific diet recommendations if needed. We are not certified nutritionists and we make no claims to the contrary. Each individual’s dietary needs and restrictions are unique to the individual. Please know that you are ultimately responsible for all decisions pertaining to your health. Please see our full disclaimer for more info.