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Be Informed

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Shelf-stable foods are foods that can safely sit on the pantry shelf for at least one year and do not have to be cooked or refrigerated to eat safely.

Making sure a portion of the groceries you regularly buy are shelf-stable is an easy way to prepare. More shelf-stable foods on hand, means more food in the cabinets that you can rely on in an emergency.

Always pay attention to expiration dates, since even shelf stable foods expire after a while. You can prevent waste by rotating newly purchased foods into your existing supplies. The way to do this is to place the newest items at the back of the shelf, and use the oldest items from the front of the shelf. It may be helpful to write the expiration date on the top of the cans to keep track of what foods need to be used first.

Here are some examples of what kinds of foods are considered shelf-stable:

Meat, Fish, and Protein
Canned Fish (Tuna, Salmon), Canned Chicken, Canned Ham, Beef or Turkey Jerky, Beef Sticks, Non-Refrigerated Pepperoni, Canned Beans (Lentils, Chickpeas, Kidney Beans, Black Beans), Canned refried beans, Nuts (Almonds, Walnuts, Peanuts, Cashews, Pecans etc.), Peanut Butter, Almond Butter

Canned Green Beans, Canned Sweet Corn, Canned Creamed Corn, Canned Carrots, Canned Peas, Canned Tomatoes

Juices (canned, bottled, Individual Boxes), Stock (chicken, beef, vegetable)

Condiments (only considered shelf-stable until opened, after which they need to be refrigerated)
Ketchup, Mustard, Mayo, Salad Dressing, Oils, Vinegars, and Sauces, Salsa, Canned/Jarred Pickles/ Relish/Olives

Cereal, Cereal Bars, Crackers, Tortilla Chips, Pretzels, Granola, Granola Bars, Protein Bars, Couscous, Grits and Instant Oatmeal (Add room temp water, allow extra time for reconstituting)

Canned Peaches, Canned Pears, Canned Pineapple, Canned Fruit Cocktail, Applesauce, Dried Plums, Dried Apples, Dried Apricots, Dried Raisins, Dried Cranberries, Dried Blueberries, Dried Banana Chips

Shelf stable (ultra-processed) Milk / Soymilk / Almond milk, Cheese in a Can (cheese wiz), Velveeta, Shelf-Stable Cheese-Dip

Dry Herbs/Seasonings
Salt & Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Cumin, Coriander, Curry, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano