Preservatives are found in nearly all food today. Most consumers have to go out of their way to seek out products that don’t use chemical preservatives to help increase shelf life. This can present a problem for those interested in storing food long term, or who may not have access to traditional storage, like hikers and campers.

Preservatives, while good at their job, have been linked to ailments ranging from obesity to chemicals that turn to carcinogens in the body. But all hope is not lost; certain foodstuffs can stand the test of time and make great staples for a healthy, natural menu.

Wheat

Storing wheat in whole-grain form leaves you with a healthy food that can last up to 30 years. The beauty of wheat is that it is a complete food; it contains carbohydrates, vitamins, protein, and minerals and can be made into foodstuffs as diverse as alcohol and flour.

White Rice

Rice has been a staple of the human diet for millennia. Responsible for its popularity are its ubiquitousness and ability to stand up to long-term storage. Like wheat, it can last 30 years or more. In addition, it’s a great source of calories, it’s cheap, and it can be used any number of ways.

Honey

Delicious and nutritious, the wonder food can be used for tea or to spread on your toast in the morning. The wonderful thing is that it lasts longer than you could ever need it to.

Beans

Beans last forever and make a tasty treat when paired with the rice mentioned above. You can take any number of types of beans on a camping trip: kidney, garbanzo, lentils, and lima are just a few. They’ll provide you with a healthy source of energy that will last as long as you need them to.

Do-It-Yourself

The above staples are nice, but if you’re serious about having access to healthy, preservative-free foods that will last a long time, think about freeze drying. With a freeze dryer on hand, you can take virtually any food you choose, (including all-natural options) and turn it into a long lasting supply that retains nearly all of its nutritional value without the nasty preservatives. You don’t have to limit yourself to the foodstuffs people favored before refrigeration came around. Freeze drying lets you store meats, fruits, and vegetables for as long as you may need them without limiting your menu.