Twenty-six Food Essentials to Have on Hand Now

As a society we depend on convenience, daily. Want a coffee?  We hit the Starbucks drive-through. When we walk into the local grocery store, there’s food to buy at the prices we’re used to paying. (not lately.) We can even order from our computers and have it delivered to our doorstep within hours. Dinner doesn’t have to be laborious when there’s an Uber Eats app installed on your phone, but here’s the truth, convenience becomes a brutal master during a period of economic inflation.

The Downside of Convenience:

 In the long run, these luxuries have hurt us and kept us from learning how to do things for ourselves. For example, have you ever baked a loaf of homemade bread? I spent the entire Covid period creating my own bread “starter” and mastering baking sour dough bread. Unfortunately, a few months after lockdown, I stopped feeding my starter and it became rancid. Why? Because I became dependent on convenience again. Bummer!

Convenience becomes a brutal master during a period of economic inflation.

The writing is on the wall. Soon the day will come, and many won’t be prepared when these conveniences become unaffordable. Through food-plant fires, dead cattle, chickens burned, less truckers on the road, and a broken supply chain…it is inevitable.

More recently, the baby aisle points to evidence of something broken, with formula unavailable for our babes.



The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.” Proverbs 21:20 (NIV)

Pray Over Your Pantry:

There is a small window of time to get our houses in order, but as with anything, I encourage you to pray about it. Do not take my word for it. Allow God to lead you in this area.

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11 (NIV)

As food shortages become more evident, it is time to seriously look at our pantries and insure we have what we need to feed our families. Before we begin storing comfort food and cleaning products, it is essential to store the long-term shelf items needed to make a meal. I believe these 26 items are essential stockpile items to start your prepared pantry. Some of them have multiple purposes.

Twenty-six Food Items to Store:

  1. All Purpose Flour

Flour is a necessity when thinking of your long-term pantry. If it’s stored properly, it can survive many years on the shelf.

  1. Rice

Rice is an economical staple which feeds a crowd. It is filling and can be inexpensive when purchased in bulk. It must be stored properly to retain its flavor and freshness. Don’t throw out the rice water! Rice water is great for hair and scalp health and can be used as a toner for skin.

  1. Dried legumes (beans, lentils, peanuts, peas are some)

Legumes are a reliable source of fiber and protein and are highly nutritious. They also have a long shelf life.

  1. Salt

Salt can be used medicinally, as a preservative, or food enhancer. Make sure to have some salt with added iodine to keep your levels healthy.

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar (with the Mother)

Apple Cider Vinegar is beneficial to use as a seasoning on salads and meat, it can be used as a preservative, but also can be used medicinally. Check out the following articles for the many uses of Apple Cider Vinegar: 28 Surprising Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar and Dr. Axe’s article for its many medicinal uses.

  1. Olive Oil

Olive oil can be used in baking or on salads, and topically, for skin and hair. It is also great for health and uses around the house. Check out this 25 Uses for Olive Oil Around the House.

  1. Canned Tuna, Salmon, or other Canned Meat
  2. Dried Pasta
  3. Canned Vegetables
  4. Water Purifier (a must!)
  5. Garlic and Onion Powder.
  6. Canned Tomatoes
  7. Oatmeal
  8. Coffee

For long-shelf-life coffee, look for freeze-dried-crystals instant coffee. It has better flavor than the coffee powder—which tastes burnt. Instant coffee is the only one suitable for long shelf-life as beans dry out or get rancid with time. But it’s been our experience that vacuum-packed lasts longer than its expiration date states on the package. We found Pilon vacuum sealed coffee to still taste good a year after expiration date when stored in a cool dark pantry.

  1. Canned Soups
  2. Cocoa Powder
  3. Nut Butters
  4. Honey

Honey is one of the only foods that has no expiration date! I recommend buying it in large jugs.

  1. Sugar

I rarely use sugar, except occasionally in baking, but I’m putting this one out there for those who do.

  1. Canned Fruit
  2. Spices (such as Cinnamon)
  3. Canned Pumpkin

I add this due to it’s a nutrient dense food. High in fiber and potassium.

  1. Dried Milk
  2. Nuts

Store in freezer to keep from getting rancid.

  1. Seeds (to plant)

Buy some seeds that will grow in your zone to begin planting now. Buying “heirloom seeds” is best, as you can harvest the seeds from your produce.

  1. Dehydrated Fruits and Vegetables

Purchase Power

I recommend not ordering these items on Amazon, as checking the expiration dates is necessary when purchasing for a long-term pantry, and this convenience isn’t currently available on Amazon. I’ve ordered foods on Amazon only to find they were near their expiration date. Here are some ways to save money in buying for your pantry:

  1. Buy in bulk at your nearest Costco, Sam’s Club, or BJ’s wholesale center.
  2. Check the “buy one get one free” (BOGO) at your local markets.
  3. Use the coupons in your local newspaper when available.
  4. Check for coupons online.
  5. Partner with other family members and divide and conquer.
  6. Check out previous articles about saving money on The Hallelujah House: How to Save Money Stocking Food and Saving for the Storm with Coupons.

Soon, I will share how to store each of the dry items properly to extend their shelf life. What are some things on your list you deem necessary for a survival pantry? I would love to hear them in the comments.

Until then have a wonderful week shopping!

Tammy Carter Adams is the founder of The Hallelujah House and a co-host of The Hallelujah House podcast. A native of the Tidewater area, she lives in Orlando, Florida with her husband Jay and their four children. When she’s not writing Tammy enjoys painting, interior design projects, and hanging out with her family at their farmhouse in the sticks of Georgia.

July 2022

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