How long will food keep?

The invention of refrigeration is, in my opinion, as revolutionary as the development of agriculture. Its impact was similar, allowing people to spend less time in the day working on basic survival and more time for other things. Things like whether monkeys are actually talking to each other, what the other side of the moon looks like, and why, why is there always one bolt left over when you built the table just like the Swedish instructions told you to. But I digress. This handy chart I’ve included below will give you an idea of how long your food will last unaided, refrigerated, and frozen. These things are good to know, especially if you want to keep at least some fresh foods in a prepping stockpile (hint – potatoes).

For example, did you know you only have a couple of hours in which to use your unrefrigerated meats? That means while you’re hopping from foot to foot, painfully aware of the ticking of the clock, you have to make a fast decision on what to do with that while chicken. Cook it and you’ll probably have another 6-8 hours before it’s back to turning poisonous. Freeze it and it’ll last the rest of the year and double as an everyday weapon.

Pumpkins and potatoes are great keepers if the shelf is your only option. Although it’s not listed, pumpkin will happily sit waiting for you for a few months. Cut it, and its exposed flesh will dry out to form a protective layer. Even cut pumpkin can keep for about a week on the shelf. It goes without saying though, that pumpkins and potatoes will keep better in cooler storage areas that aren’t in direct sunlight.

It’s good to know that canned food isn’t your only option when it comes to preparing a survival stockpile. Rotating your stockpile, oldest to the front, ensures that you’re using what needs to be used first and keeping what will last for longer “just in case”.


Is there something you want to buy? Let the world know at – the world’s premier wanted classifieds. Free to register, advertise, and communicate.

Author: Mikeytronic

Mikey is the founder of Ultra Survivalist. He likes writing about sustainable living, disaster management and preparation, outdoor gear, and wilderness survival techniques.