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Novel and delicious shelf-stable foods

Hi friends, 

I’m thinking of putting together a novel pantry foods post/list. There are a few weird and delicious items that are shelf stable that get very little attention: canned dolma (oh, my!), canned country gravy with sausage (don’t get me started…), pimento cheese, caramelized onion jam (you just don’t know), pork pate, Oregon specialty fruits, and dried hash browns (the texture is AMAZING) come to mind. My list needs to be filled out. What is your favorite but odd (or otherwise little-known) shelf-stable food?

-Steph

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  • Comments (93)

    • 4

      Some cool stuff I’m already finding:

      Lychees

      Guava paste

      Cougar gold cheese

      Braised eel

      Strawberry rhubarb mix

      Lobster meat

      • 2

        What is the cheese and where do you purchase it,  please?

      • 7

        It’s made by Washington State University’s Creamery, and it comes in a can. It’s real, aged cheese. It’s delicious. I’ll be making a post with all this info–right now I’m in the info-gathering stage. I’m looking for the best shelf-stable foods people like so I can add to this list. Here’s where you can get the cheese: https://creamery.wsu.edu/cougar-cheese/

      • 2

        I’m going to get some to try it out, thanks! An alternative from Australia is Bega’s cheddar in a can that has an indefinite shelf life: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00TEMS4U8/

      • 2

        I was going to order the Cougar gold cheese but it says on their website that it has to be refrigerated? 

      • 2

        Yes, it appears that’s what they recommend. I was hoping that wasn’t the case because it’s tinned, but it is. I’d recommend trying it anyway, because it’s delicious–but maybe it’s not the best for long-term storage. A waxed cheese wheel might be a better long-term solution. 

    • 5

      Good morning Stephanie,

      As subjective as the word “delicious” is, … 

      I find it deicious and a refreshing treat to consume a square or 2 of baker’s chocolate especially for shelter in place objectives.

      Baker’s chocolate is an unsweetened all cacao bar that I find to be a real good “change of pace” from the traditional sugar-loaded chocolate.

      It’s got a 2 year shelf life and it is still AOK to consume after just checking the food safety basics of the bar. Properly packed in an airtight container, and baker’s chocolate definitely qualifies as one of my novel pantry foods.

      Since my area next to the Chesapeake Bay must be ready for evacuations, my baker’s chocolate is placed in an airtight container after also packed in an airtight ziploc type bag.

      • 2

        Great idea. It also makes me wonder if there are any chocolate canned pastry fillings that I’ve never heard of…

      • 6

        Yum! Chocolate! I stock Pound Plus 72% dark chocolate bars from Trader Joe’s, (no nuts as they go bad.) I’d be a bear without my fix of chocolate. They sit in my pantry without any noticeable loss of quality, as the packaging is Mylar lined & airtight. Also, oddly, I store Arrowroot powder that I use with a little baking soda & essential oils for a deodorant, non irritating body powder. 

      • 4

        Good afternoon CR,

        That Trader Joe’s pound plus 72% dark chocolate is an ideal evac “food”.

        In a small, otherwise useless pocket on a cargo vest I’ve outfitted for evacs is a vial of lavendar essential oil.

        Actually now I’m in the mood for some Trader Joe’s chocolate biscotti “health food”. It would be for my mental health. Of course also in mood for an accompanying coffee.

      • 2

        You’re speaking my language Bob!

      • 3

        I totally subscribe to the same idea that some ‘healthy’ food is for your mental health.

    • 10

      Something I found this week was actually at the Dollar Tree! This is a box of shelf stable milk 🥛with an expiration date of a year out. I’ll probably break into it today and see if I actually like it, but if I do then this will be an incredible prep to store in my cupboard. 

      I’m always running out of milk in the fridge at the worst times like when I need to bake some muffins or have a bowl of cereal at 3am… 😳 But now I can whip this out and be set!

      Also comes in 2% and fat free I believe. Go Dollar Tree!

      IMG_20211014_101714_1

      • 3

        Yes! Shelf-stable milk is a game changer. 

      • 2

        I recently came across canned cream -full fat 6 oz cans. I’d not seen that before.  It has a 2 year shelf life from my purchase date of last week in an international type of grocer.  My latte is saved!

      • 2

        Back in Australia a lot of people have the UHT as a backup to the fresh stuff, especially in remote areas. Storing for 6-12 months in the pantry is not a problem.

      • 2

        I buy this stuff by the dozen! It’s shelf stable, but I like to keep it at the back of my fridge, and replace each box that I use, to keep it rotating. 

    • 4

      A novel shelf-stable food for my wife would be Spam. I opened up a can the other day and she was totally grossed out by it. She says she has never tried Spam before, but I would bet she would think it’s tasty if she actually ever tried it.

      • 4

        😂 a little Spam goes a long way, Robert! Try adding little cubes (fried crispy first) into scrambled eggs or fried rice. Easier to accept than a gelatinous pink slab & that mellows out the excess salt too. 

      • 5

        I love Spam. And corned beef hash in a can. They’re both very tasty when cooked until they get those crispy brown edges. 

      • 2

        I add a can of diced potatoes to the canned hash.  It stretches the meal and adds some more nutrition and calories.   Just remember to dry the potatoes of excess moisture before adding them to the pan.  It’s quite tasty!

      • 2

        I’m the heathen who likes Spam as is 😆 As in just added to a salad.

      • 2

        Hey, it’s good stuff!

      • 3

        Ditto. That’s if those little cubes of heart attack lovliness actually make into the salad. #notatallembarrassedtobeaheathen. 🙂

      • 4

        For those who haven’t seen it, Josh Centers from The Prepared recently put out a blog post about spam. Add Hawaiian flavor to your survival pantry with spam musubi

    • 4

      First post here :), but I was intrigued by the Cougar cheese.  The FAQ on their website says the cans have to be refrigerated.  https://creamery.wsu.edu/cougar-cheese/faqs/

      • 2

        That’s interesting. I wonder what the shelf life is in the fridge…?

      • 3

        Website says it can be store indefinitely unopened in fridge. 

      • 1

        That’s pretty good!

      • 2

        Good morning KokosMom,

        Welcome to the forum.

        This place is valuable for prepper education.

        Looking forward to your later posts.

        Again: Welcome !

    • 7

      I may or may not keep cherry pie filling in stock… where I may or may not eat it right out of the can 😁 🍒💙

      • 4

        My mental pantry list is getting pastry goods heavy… I can see how a supply of various pie fillings would be very nice.

      • 2

        I was having this thought the other day as well. I wanted a pumpkin pie, but the crust is my least favorite part of the pie and I truly just enjoy the pie filling. So why don’t I just snack on the pie filling from the can? Or if it needs to be cooked, just cook the pie filling somehow.

      • 4

        Liz, I used to make pumpkin pies from our home grown pumpkins, and since I couldn’t bear to waste the filling after all that work, I’d bake any extra without crust in custard cups which worked fine! I loved it, as I’m not fond of crust either. 

      • 2

        LOL, I’m not so keen on pie crust either. So behold! I give you the gift of…

        Libby’s Famous Crustless Pie Recipe.

      • 3

        You shouldn’t have done that… Especially around the holidays. My poor waistline.

      • 3

        I agree with Liz! It had never occurred to me to get canned pie filling but I just went over and checked and there are so many kinds! And I want to try them all! So now Lindsey has to do a review article of ALL the kinds, right?

      • 1

        Some of those pie fillings have some right nasty ingredients in them. Lots of high fructose corn syrup and other sugars. It does take a bit more time, but I’ve always felt less guilty when I eat homemade pie filling.

        Having some pre-canned pie filling though isn’t a bad idea. But I’m trying hard to eat cleaner after years of abuse of fast food to my body and have to watch out for things now. They probably do have a healthier canned pie filling, but it probably will cost a dollar or two more.

    • 7

      At the beginning of the pandemic and periodically throughout, I went to the online shopping versions of all of my local grocery stores (you’d be amazed how different the product lines are across the stores) and simply searched for “canned food”. And then I bought six of everything that looked interesting that I wasn’t allergic to (reading labels is very important – people put weird things in packaged foods and I have several allergies).

      Here are some things I rarely hear about but that are really good:

      • Black olives. Perk up salads, Mexican food, and fish dishes.
      • Mangoes. Great for smoothies, breakfast bowls, mango salsa
      • Coconut milk (be sure to get full fat). Great for sauces, smoothies, or even desserts – skim off the solid coconut and add sweetener + canned pineapple for a tropical treat.
      • Pumpkin and sweet potato. I mostly use these for waffles, pancakes, soups, and sometimes for overnight oats.
      • Salsa. Yes, my grocery store sells it in CANS. Much longer lasting than the jars. 
      • Artichoke hearts. Very nice for dips. Hard on the digestion if you’re not used to it; you’ve been warned. 
      • Potatoes. May seem that that is not unusual but I constantly come across people who don’t know you can buy canned potatoes. They make wickedly delicious mashed potatoes, especially with extra butter!
      • Any seafood I can find. A mixture of mussels, clams, shrimp, salmon, etc – all available canned-  makes a delicious seafood stew. Best with a cream base if possible.

      It is an immense source of frustration to me that to get plain ol’ canned ground beef, pork, etc. I have to special order it. I wish every grocery store had that in stock.  

      Not canned, but great to have around and long-lasting

      • Coconut aminos – makes a great marinade, dressing, or sauce
      • Pickled beets. Great for your gallbladder and tasty with salads and most meats. 
      • Mango chutney. I use this in everything. It brightens up sauces, is great in Thai food, and is required for my Indian dishes!
      • Maple syrup – great for baking as well as the usual sweetening tasks
      • Almond milk – in the “long storage” packages, great for making overnight oats. 
      • Jarred asparagus. For some reason it only comes in jars and not cans. I don’t love asparagus but it’s nice for variety. 
      • Kalamata olives. Turns boring chicken into Greek chicken, especially when combined with:
      • Lemon juice. So much lemon juice. Usually only lasts for a year but I use a FIFO system. Great for marinades, lemonade, dressings – so many things. 
      • Marshmallows. Fun for hot cocoa, S’mores, impromptu desserts, and last forever. 
      • Pine nuts. Great for variety in salads, pastas, etc. Best stored in the fridge. 
      • LOTS of mac and cheese. I know this isn’t a novelty but I use it in novel ways because the powdered cheese is so shelf stable. I usually add “real” cheese to it and it’s a great way to make boring canned food (tuna, Spam, etc.) into a comfort food. 
      • Fish and other boullions to make soups, stews, and sauces. 

      I typically have a full stock of every conceivable nut and dried fruit, too, which I eat every day for breakfast and rotate in a FIFO system. Nuts, seeds, and dried fruit last a LONG time and are a great source of a variety of vitamins and minerals. Depending on the store I can get dried strawberries, pineapple, apricot, blueberries, cherries, etc. 

      The “British” section of most grocery stores also has a great variety of unusual canned foods that are probably delicious but to which I am usually allergic. Canned bread. “Drowned baby”. “Spotted Dick” (really; I did not make it up) I’ve also occasionally bought clotted cream etc. 

      • 4

        For those who don’t know, Coconut Aminos tastes like soy sauce but without the soy if you are worried about it spiking estrogen levels or have a sensitivity to soy. It’s good stuff.

        Good list by the way. I didn’t know that there was canned potatoes but that is something I will look out for now. Is that just with the other canned vegetables?

      • 2

        I have not set foot in a grocery store since the beginning of 2020 (I always order online and pick up) but I assume they are with the other veggies!

        Even if you plan to shop in the store, viewing the online inventory of canned goods for your local grocery is a great way to make a shopping plan. I’ve made a habit of searching canned goods and sorting by unit price every time I shop, then stocking up on whatever I like that is on a very good sale.  Quick way to keep my preps topped up without spending a ton of money.  The store-brand versions are usually just as good as the brand names (and honestly are probably packaged in the same facilities).  Just be sure to check the expiration dates.  

        And yes I have a family member who reacts badly to soy which is why we use the coconut aminos. And I completely forgot to mention vinegars! A nice supply of fancy vinegars – I adore a good balsamic – can add some zing to those supplies.  And they last a long time. 

      • 1

        https://www.healthline.com/health-news/americans-are-eating-more-ultra-processed-foods-how-to-cut-down-on-them#Healthier-choices-explained

        Good morning ME,

        Ref “reading labels”;

        Had once thought I knew how to read labels.  I don’t.

        Can you explain the term and it’s diet perameters “added sugar ” ? It’s mentioned in the above link saying “not high in added sugar”.

        When is this threshold reached ?

        Is it best to have foods with no added sugar ?

        Thanks in advance.

      • 2

        I am not a nutritionist and am not the right person to respond to any nutrition-specific questions. My reference to reading labels is related to allergies. I have several unusual allergies and have learned the hard way that if I don’t read the ingredients, someone will have snuck in the very things to which I am allergic.

        It is important to read the labels every time, because companies change the recipes. A soup, for example, that once was “safe” for me modified their ingredients list and I could no longer eat it. It is particularly important during crisis situations to avoid preventable things like allergic reactions – there will be enough to deal with!  

        I wish online grocery shopping apps would let people filter OUT all the foods that have a particular ingredient in it. For example if you are allergic to peanuts (which is not one of my allergies), it would be nice to be able to list all foods that do NOT have peanuts.  You’d still have to read the labels of course – software isn’t perfect, and the filtering might not have worked – but it would save a ton of time shopping.  Right now, since I do all of my shopping online, I often have to do a lot of research to “read the label” since my local grocery isn’t particularly diligent about posting the labels in their app.  

      • 1

        Good afternoon M.E.,

        Appreciate reply.

        Actually, your posts are at least equal to a nutritionist.

        I’ve learned more from them than the nutritionists giving my vet orgs brief briefings on various foods.

      • 4

        Well – thanks! That is good to hear. I came to the inevitable realization a few years ago that the world likes to make things too complicated, particularly when it comes to food.  “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” I realized that I simply have to trust my own body to signal what it needs. Mass food distribution has only been around for about 150 years. Yet the human race managed to exist for thousands of years before that. So instead of listening to “keto this” or “vegan that”, I ask my body what it wants, and then give it that. Sometimes it is lots of orange veggies. Sometimes it is a fruit smoothie. Sometimes it is liverwurst! 

        In addition to trusting my body I decided to trust the planet. It is logical that the wide variety of foods available to a human are likely to provide a wide variety of nutrients for said human. So I eat a lot of variety, on the assumption that micronutrients matter. Instead of having almonds and raisins in my yogurt, for example, I’ll have one almond, one Brazil nut, one cashew, one date, one fig, and so one (yes, those are in alphabetical order!).  I also eat a variety of meats, dairy products (sheep’s milk is high in Vitamin C – who knew?), etc. Eating this way has made me feel absolutely fantastic – I even view that as part of my preps! Knowing that my own body is storing all kinds of nutrients is super cool.  

        I also trust my body on the “bad stuff”.  There is “bad stuff” everywhere. I trust my liver and my kidneys and my immune system to do their jobs. I help them along by treating them well and feeding them yummy things and yes, I take some supplements (for things that are hard to get from a well-balanced diet, like magnesium). I eat mostly organic foods because I find they taste better, but I don’t go nutso if my grocery store is out of organic bananas this week. 

        The societal obsession with the “perfection of foods” is, in my opinion, a form of insanity.  The life expectancy in 1900 was 46. Forty-six! (for men – 48 ish for women) It is now 77 for men and 81 for women. So clearly we are doing something right.  Most supposedly healthy diets were actually driven by some sort of profit motive – a corporate body wanting us to favor their products over someone else’s. A great podcast about this is called “Maintenance Phase“. I highly recommend it. It is very thought-provoking and has revolutionized my views on food and on my own body.

        To the point of listening to my body, it is clear that there are certain foods that just make me feel awful. So I stopped eating them. You don’t have to ask some kind of wellness guru – your body KNOWS. In my case, for example, dairy does not bother me at all. I find people who need to blather on about the dangers of dairy over a meal to be all kinds of insufferable. Corn, on the other hand, is something my system just refuses to digest. That doesn’t mean I have to harass other people who do like corn, and can digest it just fine.  Every body is individual, and should be treated accordingly.

        Food is one of the greatest pleasures of life. At most we have eight or nine decades to enjoy this life. So enjoy it!  ALL of it!  I am grateful to Stephanie for starting this thread about bringing joy and flavor into food preps.

      • 2

        Good morning M.E.,

        There are a couple of major exceptions to above.

        One exception is pain management. At one of my vet organizations with a kitchen and coffee bar, some vets avoid the decent coffee and adequate food to manage their pain via a shot of whiskey. Initially, it does work until the required quantity and frequency of the alcohol kicks in.

        Closely related to this relates to the once “free” medicines now having a small co-payment cost. This typical veteran will save for the medicines and sacrifice the healthy foods.

        I stop by my vet orgs for coffee breaks and see these drinking scenes quite often nowadays. 

      • 3

        Alcohol use disorders are heartbreaking. It is a medical problem with effective medical treatment, but the unfortunate tendency to treat these disorders as moral failures rather than as biologically based pain management issues (sometimes the pain is emotional, but still pain) has caused so much unnecessary suffering.  My heart goes out to the vets and others who are doing the best they can to manage unimaginable pain.  As for the medicines, there are many programs to help those unable to afford their medications, but I am not sufficiently familiar with them to provide good advice. I wish you and your fellow vets all the best. 

    • 3

      Canned peaches in juice.  (Actually in little plastic containers not metal cans.)  Tastier and more cost effective than most other canned fruit, though the expiration date is usually only about 6 months out.

    • 2

      Ducal black beans – they are the Guatemalan refried beans that are smooth and rich. They come in cans or pouches. I could eat them straight on a tortilla or scrambled eggs without even heating them up.

      Canned Chicken:  So versatile.

      Dried Herbs and Spices! They are really shelf stable and can help many things taste more palatable. The key one being salt which is a multi-tasker in itself. I include dried onions, ginger and garlic in this lot as well.  They don’t really go bad, just less potent so use more.  I have my own Cincinnati Chili, Everything Bagel, and Taco mixes as well as individual spices.

      Cointreau (orange) liqueur. Just a splash can elevate canned or dried fruits to a gourmet level.  

      White wine: can’t say how many recipes call for it and it’s a must for risotto (my SIP staple).

      Parmesan cheese: A bit of a cheat here as my blocks are in the fridge, but the canned stuff would work too. In the aforementioned risotto and a must for pasta.  

      Balsamic Vinegar: Reduces into a sauce on its own as well as adding flavor to all sorts of dishes.

      • 6

        I’ll see your white wine and raise you some dry sherry! Drain a can of mushrooms, sautée with a little butter (or ghee or olive oil), then add a splash of sherry at the end. A splash of sherry is also nice in sauces for red meats if you’re lucky enough to have those around.  

        My grocery store also has lots of dried mushrooms but I’ve never tried them, as so far we’ve been able to get plenty fresh. I love different varieties of fresh mushrooms.  I do keep several cans of mushrooms in the pantry to use in a pinch, but they are admittedly not nearly as nice as fresh – texture matters. They’re great in omelets, burgers, and even salads. 

        Why hasn’t The Prepared done a review of long-life chocolates? That review is long overdue. I volunteer as a tester!

      • 3

        Yes! Cooking sherry makes some killer sauces.

      • 1

        Win-Win on that bet!  

    • 4

      One thing on my mind for shelf-stable is condiments. Minimus.biz is wonderful for buying packets of all kinds of things. I’m thinking in terms of power outages and needing some mayo, relish, mustard, ketchup etc to use with canned meats etc. Of course, many deli’s and fast food places are also good to find packets of salad dressings, salsa, hot sauce, things that don’t need refrigeration and come in handy small sizes.

      • 2

        That’s a cool site, I can add a single $0.09 ketchup packet to my cart and check out.

        I’ve always saved my extra packets from fast food restaurants and put them in a plastic bag in my cupboard. They still will expire, so keep an eye on that, but are extremely handy when going out on a picnic or bringing a meal to work and you don’t want to bring your large bottle from home or use the bottle in the work fridge that has been there since you started working there in 2003.

        I like looking through the travel size section of toiletries at Walmart too. The mini shampoo, deodorant, and tooth paste are great for a bug out bag or travelling. 

      • 3

        @livnlrn – That site also has a larger variety of condiments that I can appreciate (used for travel).  Another source is WorldMarket if you have one near you.  

        @Robert, I’ve liked that site for travel items I’ve not found other places as well.  Small sizes seems to be a fetish for me. 🙂  I think I got some FAK items there. 

      • 3

        I bought a box of 25 each mayo, mustard and ketchup packets for our evac supplies if we had to leave due to wildfire this past summer. The mayo says shelf life extended if refrigerated, so that’s where the box is, but for throwing in the tucker box for a quick exit, it really needs no refrigeration.

    • 3

      Quaker makes quick cooking barley.  Takes 10 minutes to cook instead of 40.  I am making a pot of beef/vegetable/barley soup with it right now, along with all canned/dehydrated ingredients.

      • 1

        There’s nothing like a good beef and barley soup!

    • 6

      Hi, All,

      One of my fav. foods to keep stocked is canned steamed brown bread, maybe too common to mention but, it is a ready-to-eat 3 whole grain deliciousness that lasts for years, and a very nutritionally dense treat. Raisins or no, I like both! Food is my thing, so looking very forward to food posts…really appreciate this website!

      Pam

      • 2

        I’ve always wanted to try canned bread after learning about it’s existence. I’ll keep an eye out for it at the store.

      • 3

        I’ve bought the B&M brand several times (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00473NSXW/), works well for me. I slice it up as soon as the can is open and keep the unused portion in the fridge. You need to use it within a week or so, or it’ll start to mold.

      • 3

        Definitely not “too common to mention” we had NEVER heard of it!! I just ordered some to try, sounds like it could be a great addition. Thanks! (I wonder if it’s a regional thing?)

    • 4

      I found TRUE Lemon crystals in packets in the following flavors: lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit. I’ve had them about 5 years now and they are still fine and add a puckery punch to my guacamole, iced tea, fish, etc. Bought them on Amazon. 

      • 4

        I also have powdered vinegar and powdered Worchestershire sauce on hand!

      • 3

        I have powdered vinegar and powdered soy sauce but will look for Worcestershire too! Thanks. 

      • 2

        I have the TRUE lemon packets as well because of the simple ingredients and good taste. I’ll look out for some of their other flavors. 

        How does powdered vinegar and soy sauce work and where can you buy it?

    • 4

      Spam if I ate it for a week my heart would give out. Has anyone canned meat if so how did it go.

      • 3

        Same here, however I store many hundreds of cans.  With the foods we eat today, last thing we need added to our diet is a food high in salt & fat.

        However, in a crisis those two dietary components will be in short supply & needed by your body, even if you use just a few hunks to season your beans & rice.  Most preppers stock beans & rice, as they are so shelf stable and because of their nutritional density.  You ever had rice & beans without salt or other flavorings?  I highly recommend preppers store canned meats, such as Spam, to go with your dried goods.

      • 3

        Hi Jim, I imagine you’ll get several answers.  Canning meat is my top priority.  I can hamburger, beef cubes, chicken, sausage, and meat-containing meals like chili and beef stew.  I also store Spam Lite, which has a lot less salt and fat and tastes pretty good.  We integrate the canned meat easily into “ordinary” meals.  I can without salt and use the leanest meat, mostly because excessive fat can interfere with the lid seal.

    • 5

      As an option for fresh vegetables at home to supplement other sources of vegetables, try sprouting lentils or another type of food-grade seed.  This can work with lentils or other whole grains or beans from the grocery store but works best with seeds intended for sprouting (for higher germination rates).  I’ve had best success and cost effectiveness with green lentils: https://www.trueleafmarket.com/collections/wholesale-sprouting-seed/products/green-lentils-organic-sprouting-seed?variant=4804897177641.  With any seed, the germination rates drop off after several years.  If after a few years you don’t use them for sprouting, just cook them as you would normally cook them.

      • 1

        I would like to try sprouting fresh greens again. I tried with some wheat berries before but haven’t done it in a long time. Very nutritious way to get fresh veggies! I do have some lentils, so I might have to do some experimenting later.

        Time to go make a sandwich. Hopefully we have some fresh store bought sprouts to add to it until I can grow some.

      • 1

        Great idea/recommendation

    • 5

      Someone may have already said this, but I truly love B&M’s canned bread. It’s like perfectly made molasses bread at the ready! I’ve also heard that Japanese canned bread and Cupcakes are pretty good too! see the link:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_mqn-TQIlY

      • 2

        Where do you buy canned bread? I went to my Kroger grocery store this week and asked if they had any and they thought I was nuts. Luckily they got on the radio and asked all the employees and one employee told her it was a thing but they didn’t have it.

      • 3

        I have seen it in the “British section” in most grocery stores, and it is in fact listed on Kroger’s site!  This is one reason I’m such a big fan of online shopping – even if you don’t want to do curbside pickup, often the online shopping site of your local store will tell you what aisle you can find things on.  It is also available through Amazon, but it is more expensive.

        I’ve also had great success with a company called “ShopFoodEx.com”  They have an amazing variety of shelf-stable foods. They are NOT fast – so I tend to order from them only if it is stuff I won’t need for a few weeks. But they are thorough and friendly and have exceptional customer service. 

        As a side note, yesterday I discovered canned mung beans, which I had no idea existed. They taste just as good as fresh in Asian dishes (per my experiment today).  Would recommend!

      • 1

        Ahh British. That makes sense now.

      • 2

        It’s by the baked beans at our grocery store. We used to take it regularly for camping. A tasty and long-lasting pantry food!

    • 4

      I was just shopping online at World Market for stocking stuffers and discovered some delightful and unusual shelf-stable foods.  Rice pudding. Devon Custard. Canned macaroni and cheese!  Curried beans! Mushy peas! Pizza sauce!

      I can’t speak to the taste or expiration dates yet but it was fun to find something different.  I personally love rice pudding when I’m ill so I’ve purchased a few cans (I didn’t know it could come canned – I’d only ever bought it refrigerated) and will report back once I’ve tried it.  Let’s hope it will be a while, though, since I typically only eat it when I’m not feeling well (childhood tradition……)

    • 5

      I just came across “pocket lattes“, which to me are a prepper’s dream: Chocolate and coffee COMBINED in a portable, shelf-stable package!  I might have to buy a case for hurricane season so I can be the #ShelterHero.  

      Would be worth doing a study of whether post-disaster chaos is reduced in areas well supplied with chocolate and caffeine.  

      • 2

        I’m not even a chocoholic and I can tell you that a piece of chocolate or other comforting sweet food really brings me happiness and calms down my mood. 

        Don’t they put some small mint or chocolate in military rations? It’s not there for nutrition or pure energy but probably for comfort and a sense of normality. 

        Once people’s needs are met like having water, a fully belly, and a warm blanket, the chocolate, coffee, or other comfort food will greatly improve moral and let people know that things aren’t too bad. 

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        I dig it! Cool find. 

    • 1

      I just came across a company called “Solo Foods” that has some unusual (for me) canned pie and cake fillings.  Poppyseed. Apricot. Almond. “Prune Plum”.  They don’t seem particularly healthy – lots of corn syrup – but I think that psychological health is often just as important as physical health and having variety in an emergency situation can be essential.

      Turns out my local grocery carries these products but you have to search for them by the brand name – if I search by “Apricot” or even “canned filling” they don’t show up. 

      As with all unusual foods I recommend trying them before an emergency just in case you happen to be that one in a million person who is allergic to poppyseeds or whatever. The time to find that out is before you’re stuck in a shelter somewhere!

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      Two (more fun than substance) items I enjoy are Trader Joe’s lemon curd (about a year shelf life) and chestnut paste (which being in the US I have to order online).  

    • 3

      My latest treat for my preparedness pantry is a collection of trial packs from Penzey’s spices.  They are already packed in mylar and roughly half an ounce each.  At the risk of being punny, variety is the spice of life! And this lets me have a huge amount of variety in very little  space.  I bought two of each trial pack (with the exception of a few of the available choices that I know I won’t eat) so I can try them in the coming months while maintaining a ready-made spice supply in my preps.  There are a few, like the sandwich sprinkle, that are likely destined as the luxury item for my BOB.  The way they are packaged, once they are opened you’d have to have another container to put them in, but that’s easily solved with a ziploc.  A friend gave me a Penzey’s spice collection for the holidays and wow are their spices exceptionally delicious. 

      Penzey

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        Having extra spices for food is something I had not considered storing.

    • 3

      I just found this one today:  It is novel, odd, and little-known, but I am not willing to be the one that finds out if it is delicious:  Boiled silkworm pupa. Enjoy, Stephanie.  Enjoy. 

      • 1

        No thanks… I’d rather starve.

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        I can’t get with the “eat bugs” thing. I’m with Mike. 

      • 2

         My experience with insects is only crickets at a restaurant in Europe – I think France.  They spiced them heavily and fried them so they’re more like crispy, flavored popcorn hulls.  I saw some lasagna flavored crickets at Cost Plus World Market today and thought of this thread. Mushy silk worm larva is not appealing in the least.  

    • 2

      Canned Ackee fruit just became available at my local grocery store. I thought it would be fun to try something new – until I read up on it!  Apparently the unripe fruit is extremely poisonous, and the fruit was actually banned from the US for ~30 years and is only now being allowed for import. I decided not to risk it – how can I know whether the canned fruit was sufficiently ripe when packaged?   

    • 1

      And I actually have a question/mystery about canned foods. Canned salmon – and ONLY canned salmon – seems to always come in a TAPERED can. So the bottom of the can is narrower than the top. Does anyone know WHY? It doesn’t seem to matter what brand – they always come in that odd tapered can. 

      • 1

        Hmmm. I was about to point out that Wild Planet had salmon in the same cans as their tuna, but alas it is different.  I had not noticed before.  

    • 2

      I have one for your list…Boiled Peanuts.