The UK prepper’s food list consists of long lasting foods that can be stored for a long time without power (i.e. no fridge of freezer).
The Foods that we can store in a prepper’s pantry need to be long lasting. We also need to be able to survive using the food in the prepper’s pantry after a disaster has happened. The UK prepper’s food list is divided in to several categories including everything needed for a nutritious balanced diet. It isn’t intended to be a shopping list of items to buy, but guidance for ideas of the types of food that are best for long term storage.
This UK prepper’s food list applies anywhere, but is tailored to include items that are easily available in the UK. Most of the items on the UK prepper’s food list are available from supermarkets in the UK, although a few are easier to find online.
Storage Of Food
Everything on this UK prepper’s food list is shelf stable. This means that these foods can be stored for a long period of time without deteriorating. All foods will deteriorate eventually, but by storing correctly you can extend the life of the stored food as much as possible. Storage conditions are one of the most important factors determining how long any food will last. Everything on this prepper’s food list is best stored in a cool, dry place, away from moisture and temperature fluctuations. Some of these foods can be stored in their original packaging (e.g. tinned food), while others are best transferred to airtight containers.
When you buy food, it will have a date on it. This can be a “use by” date or a “best before” date. “Use by” suggests that the food will not be safe to eat after that date has passed. “Best before” means that after the date has passed, the food will still be safe to eat but may not be at its absolute best quality. Foods that are past their best before dates will still be usable for much longer after the date.
The best way to stock a prepper’s pantry is not to buy everything at once, but gradually build up supplies over time. This way, you won’t have all of the food getting old at the same time. You can rotate food out of your prepper’s pantry to use as it gets closer to its date, and replace with new. This means that when a disaster happens and you need to use your food stores, everything will be ready to use and still have plenty of time before it goes bad.
If you find any tins that are damaged, bloated, or tins that hiss from gas escaping when opening don’t use them. Damage could allow air in to the tin, which will cause the contents to go bad. Bloating or hissing indicates that the contents of the tin are producing gas, which is a sure sign of decomposition.
The UK Prepper’s Food List: Long Lasting Foods To Store
Grains are a great source of food for storing in your prepper’s pantry. They are very long-lasting and easy to store, as well as being nutritious and versatile.
Some grains can also be made into flour, which is also long-lasting and easy to store. This list includes both wheat grains and flour. Wheat grains last longer than flour if stored properly, but require equipment for grinding in to flour. White flour will last for around a year if stored in a cool, dry place. Whole wheat flour will not last as long because the bran and germ from the grain are included in whole wheat flour and these go bad more quickly.
The list below includes whole grains, pseudo grains (foods that aren’t really grains but are treated like grains), and foods made from processing grains.
- White Rice (lasts longer than brown)
- Oats (pinhead oats or rolled oats)
- White Flour (strong or bread flour for bread making)
- Dried Pasta
- Dried noodles
Meat and Fish
Meat and fish are a very good source of protein, and when tinned they last for a long time. A lot of meat and fish has a low acid content, so could last for many years when tinned. Anything with a tomato or lemon based sauce included has a higher acid content and won’t last quite as long.
- Tinned chicken
- Tinned ham
- Tinned tuna
- Tinned salmon
- Tinned frankfurters or hot dog sausages
- Spam (or cheaper alternatives that aren’t Spam brand)
- Corned beef
- Dry cured ham, pork loin and sausages (this pack contains all three!)
- Beef Jerky (available in 1kg bags online here)
Legumes (Beans, Chickpeas, Peas, Lentils)
Legumes includes beans, chickpeas, peas and lentils. Although legumes are a category of vegetable, they are treated separately for this food list. Legumes have a much higher protein content than other vegetables. The protein content is actually similar to meat and fish, but with a much lower saturated fat content. This makes them a very useful food for preppers as they store well and can provide the base of many meals. Legumes are tinned or dried to preserve them for long term storage.
- Tinned chickpeas
- Tinned beans – there are many different beans that will last a long time, baked beans in tomato sauce will not last as long because of the acidic sauce
- Tinned peas
- Dried chickpeas
- Dried beans – there are many different dried beans that will last a long time
- Dried lentils
Vegetables and Fruits
Fruits and vegetables are very important to be able to maintain a healthy diet when using stored food. Fruits and vegetables are either tinned or dried to allow them to last for a long time. Some fruits and vegetables have a higher acid content, so when tinned won’t last as long as those with a lower acid content. Tinned tomatoes, for example, have a high acid content but should still last for a couple of years.
- Tinned vegetables such as potatoes, carrots and corn have a low acid content, and so will last for a long time.
- Tinned tomatoes and most other tinned fruits have a higher acid content, but will still last for 1-2 years before the tin starts to degrade.
- Dried vegetables (dehydrate your own, or buy mixed bags) are great for soups or adding to stews
- Dried fruits such as raisins make a good snack item
Other Dried Food
- Powdered milk
- Powdered Egg (hard to find in supermarkets, available online here)
- Textured Vegetable Protein (hard to find dried in supermarkets, available online here)
Fats and Sugar
Fats are a vital part of a balanced diet, and are very useful for cooking. The fats listed below store well, and will last at least a year or two. Sugar stores almost indefinitely if stored well, and good quality honey will last forever.
- Lard – an animal fat that is great for cooking with, and stored in a cool, dry place can last 6-12 months. It can last a little longer in the fridge
- Olive oil or other vegetable oils can last up to 2 years unopened in a cool, dry place
- Coconut oil will last around 2 years if stored unopened in a cool, dry place
- Sugar – brown sugar tends to clump over time but is still edible, white stores better
- Honey – good quality honey lasts forever, and although it may crystallise this won’t affect it’s usability
Seasoning, Herbs and Spices
When you’re eating the food you’ve stored in your prepper’s pantry, you don’t want it to be bland and boring. It’s a good idea to store plenty of salt, pepper and other dried spices and herbs to add to those meals. If stored well in a cool, dry place, the items on this list should last almost indefinitely. Some of the herbs and spices will not be as flavoursome after a year or two, but they won’t go bad and will still retain some flavour.
- Salt – the most important because not only does it add flavour, our bodies also need salt
- Black peppercorns – very useful, but keep a grinder too
- Vinegar – white vinegar is used as a preservative for pickling and lasts indefinitely, others may go bad eventually but will still last for many years
- Dried, ground spices, e.g. cumin, paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper – choose the ones you use often
- Dried herbs – choose your favourites, but make sure they are stored in a dry place
Not Just A Prepper’s Food List, There Are Drinks Too
You may have sorted out a water supply that will provide all the water you will need, but it would be nice to be able to add some flavour sometimes. The items on this list aren’t needed for survival, but may provide a much needed morale boost.
- Instant coffee is freeze dried and unopened will last for many years
- Tea bags will last for around 18 months, but the flavour may become weaker over time
- Powdered drink mixers – Kool Aid is an American brand now available in the UK, just mix the powder into water for a flavoured drink
- Cordial doesn’t last as long as powdered drink mixers, but should still last at least a year unopened in a cool, dry place
No Prepper’s Food List Is Complete Without Snacks and Treats
Maybe not strictly necessary for survival, but when stocking your prepper’s pantry include some sweet treats. You’ll be relying on your prepper’s pantry during hard times, and a few treats might help with a morale boost. Listed below are some ideas for snacks and treats that will store well. Unfortunately for those who prefer salty snacks, these tend not to store well.
- Boiled sweets will last around a year if properly stored away from moisture and heat
- Dark chocolate will last around a year, as long as it is stored in a cool, dry place
- Jam might not normally be considered a sweet treat, but it’s mainly just flavoured sugar. Unopened jam will last for many years after all the sweets have gone bad
- Cereal bars can last up to a year, or longer in some cases depending on the ingredients
Make Your Own Prepper’s Food List
The list of long lasting foods to store above includes plenty of different foods that will store well. You don’t have to buy everything from the list; only store foods that you and your family actually eat. There is no point buying something long lasting if it won’t ever get used. Part of your prepping and planning should include making your own list of long lasting foods to store. Use my list above as the starting point, but customise it to suit you and your family. For example, remove foods you won’t use, and add quantities that will keep you fed for the duration you are prepping for. Is your food supply intended to last for a month, 6 months, a year or longer? How much room do you have to store your own food, and how long will you need before you’re able to become totally self sufficient?