sample long term food storage

Taste Some Of Your Long Term Food Storage To See If It’s Any Good

“Hi Ken. I recently had experience eating some of my preps, canned chicken, and was reminded of the importance and necessity of eating what one preps. Found that I really don’t care for one of the brands I had, and so will swap it out (donate to a local food bank) for brands I do prefer. Perhaps a good reminder to others to practice what one preps.”

What a great bit of advice!

I have found this to be true myself! Especially when starting out prepping, we tend to get excited about taking quick actions towards our food-independence. Some of those actions may not be entirely well thought out at first.

What I mean is… we might end up buying some things that may not be the best choice.

More specifically, we might acquire foods or brands that when tasted, we say “yuck!” “that’s gross!”. Or, we might buy the wrong foods for optimal long term storage.

I remember my first purchases when I became serious about long term food storage back in 2008 (or thereabouts). I had purchased an emergency food kit bundle of various dehydrated and freeze dried foods in #10 cans. It was more or less an impulsive ‘knee jerk’ reaction at the time (to get ‘something’), and then I would build from there.

However (and fortunately), quite a few years later I decided to taste some of that particular food. We opened up a few various #10 cans. We made a few sample meals (basically adding water and heating it up). To put it mildly, it was not what we expected. Most of it seemed to be various ‘fillers’. Gravy. Not much substantive ingredients. And it did not taste good. Yuk. Good thing I ate and sampled some of it. As a result, I got rid of that particular batch. Lesson learned… order a small quantity and taste it first before buying a bulk quantity!

Make A Meal From Some Of Your Old Food Storage

They (long term food storage vendors) always market with ‘pretty pictures’ – delicious looking meals on a plate – looks great, right? Well, that’s not what this stuff looked like! It didn’t taste very good.

That particular food company vendor mentioned above is long gone. They only lasted a few years before disappearing like so many others back then. There were lots of startups hoping to capitalize on the prepper movement at the time.

Anyway, we learned quite a few lessons the hard way:

  • Do better research first.
  • Check ratings and reviews of long term emergency food vendors and their products.
  • How long has the company been in business?
  • Which vendors have the best reputation?
  • Where are their ingredients sourced from? Email the company and ask.
  • Find out the expected shelf life of the various products. They do differ!

A particularly important thing that I learned with regards to long term shelf life foods of this type (#10 cans, dehydrated, freeze dried) –

Buy a small quantity first. Sample it. Open it up and actually use it, consume it. Taste it.

How did it work out? Were you happy with it? Did it taste okay or good? Okay, then you can buy more.

It also sometimes comes down to this: You get what you pay for.

Not always, but often the better ‘stuff’ costs more. Same goes with many of these long term storage foods and kits (#10 cans of freeze dried meals, etc..).

I Like Augason Farms The Best

(With that said, there are many good vendors!)

Awhile ago I polled Modern Survival Blog readers for their favorite emergency food vendor brands. Augason Farms came out on top. And I agree. Interestingly, Jacqeline Augason contacted me back during the early days of this blog and advertised with us for awhile. Phil and Jacqueline Augason created Blue Chip Group/Augason Farms, a prosperous dry food manufacturing business in Utah. Unfortunately Phil Augason passed away during 2006, and Jacqueline passed during 2015. The company remains a family business and has exploded in popularity, and you even see their foods in large chain big box stores these days. Anyway, they don’t advertise directly with us anymore because their presence is quite well known. But I do recommend them fully…

Augason Farms Storefront on amzn

Founders of Augason Farms

Sample / Consume / Eat some of your long term storage foods.

This goes for any and everything. Not just what I’ve suggested above (#10 cans emergency foods). But everything that you have in your diversified food storage. Look for old stuff. You might find that packaging has failed and some things have spoiled. Maybe a mouse got into some of it. Bugs? Who knows… but you should re-asses every so often.

We taste test different items from time to time, and also check store canned foods for bulge or looseness of the can. We found 3 canned hams that were very loose feeling packing and threw them out.

When buying canned foods be sure and check for dents. We found that pull top stuff does not keep a seal as long as a regular can.

Not too long ago we had some of our MRE meals. They were good, filling, and more than adequate, especially in tough times.

We home can things and much prefer home canned chicken to store bought canned chicken. We find that store bought chicken simply has little to no taste.

A comment on Modern Survival Blog

Store what you Eat and Eat what you Store.

[ Read:

Food Storage Mistakes To Avoid

Survival Food Most Common In Preppers Deep Pantry Storage

Round Out Your Long Term Food Storage


  1. great article as usual
    and would extend the advice to all your preps no matter how little used they are .
    Some months ago I broke my can opener ( have spares in my storage unit ,but was to idle to get one .
    so broke out one of those army type ones that rattle around in my cutlery draw I could not make it work !Spent 10 minutes trying it and its friends went in the bin now keep 2 proper openers on hand beside the couple in storage . Further I have been back through all my gear to make sure i can use it .

  2. bill posters,
    ten tears ago i bought 3 of the “EZ Does It” can openers thinking that i would get six months or a year out of one. i’m still using my first one and we use it often. they are great and i think that they are about 15.00 now. get the red handled ones. made in the USA.

    1. scout they look fine but at £26.32 = $34.35 on amazon uk i will stick to the £5 ones I buy lol

  3. keeping your food storage rotated out is very important as you all know, but it”s something that is easily forgotten about or overlooked.
    i have been guilty of putting things back and just forgetting about it.

      1. That stuff is great with Peas added and some Swanson White meat chicken breast….
        Is the Swanson Chicken ala King still sold? I can’t find it on the shelves in the food stores in No NJ anymore…

        1. Add rice to the Chicken ala King….

          One other item one should stock up on. Walmart has 12ct-$12 and 18ct- $18 boxes of CLIF Bars for $1/bar. Excellent survival food that lasts a long time….

          About The CLIF Bar

        2. 21Bravo
          The Swanson Chicken ala King may be off the shelf. I had a few cans purchased back for ACDH, happen to check the sodium levels on their products. Lol–they didn’t need a can to hold the product due to the levels of salt in that food.

  4. Great article… let me relay a story…every time went some where with Uncle Milton, who was a very good hunter, pistol shooter and trap shooter. We would see an animal and ask can you eat that? Whether it was a possum, a crane or a frog. Milton would say “If your hungry enough you’ll eat it”. So yes we should taste our preps and check for viability. We also need to be able to forage, grow, snarl and hunt.

    Ken, maybe you could write article on which animals are edible and which need special care when eating. Just an idea.

    1. I watch some odd shows sometimes like Monsters Inside Me. There is much good info wrapped up in the horror stories of ugly parasites and bacteria and funguses. One man did not cook his bear meat well enough and got trichinosis which you can get from pork too. A young guy in Hawaii ate a snail on a dare and got angiostrongyliasis/rat lungworm which if the snail is under cooked can happen too. There are all sorts of nasties in nature which can harm you when eating undercooked meats. The reptiles have some nasties and hands must be washed well after handling the meat.

      1. Mrs. U
        Here in Hawaii, you can get rat lungworm from eating garden grown fruits and veggies, all must be throughly washed , and the affliction has become sort of common. The state health dept runs ads warning of the problem, that’s how common.

  5. I’ve been rotating our powdered milk supply. I use it making yogurt, bread, whatever calls for a bit of milk. I had four cases in a deep freeze from 2014 to about 2018, and then it’s been on the shelf. Still good. Bought it from an LDS warehouse in Denver. Although I have other brands, it is my favorite powdered milk.

    1. And it’s ingredient in all my breads. I have the zir….. one.

  6. Canned cheese gets goofy after about 5 years-
    I’ll run through all the gear/stores every 6-8 months. I’m terrible with the freezer, seems like it’s never properly inventoried or rotated. Once buckets are done (MSB bean/rice method) checked and resealed on the basement.

    It’s a complete mind/lifestyle change. This site is fantastic and I’ve learned from all of you. Much love!

    1. “It’s a complete mind/lifestyle change. This site is fantastic and I’ve learned from all of you. Much love!”


  7. Hunger and hard times will affect your palate as will easy times. When we were living on next to nothing, I made ham and bean soup because that was all I had ingredients for and it tasted wonderful. I never liked it before and had to force myself to eat it growing up. I think about what we ate growing up on the farm and what I eat now living in an urban area. I don’t crave those home cooked items with so many other intensely flavored options available but when I do fix those good old recipes they taste great.

    Hint to avoid waste – Make the dates of your stored items obvious. For your home frozen or canned items, find a consistent place or manner of dating when they were put up. My DH is forever buying a great meat deal and vacuum packing without any date or identification. Even purchased foods sometime have hard to find dates. Consider – again consistently located in the same general spot – adding best by dates to cans, etc. with marker. Of course, we know those dates are not the expiration dates but it will help you use your inventory on a first in first out basis. For some items like OTC, I taped an index card with the tested expiration dates in number of years per the military on the inside of the medicine cabinet. I date the OTC with the expiration date again knowing I will be using them sometimes for years after that date.

    1. MamaLark,
      Thats funny. Everything I put away has a date on it. Its always the date I put it away. I do that incessantly to the point that my college books are in boxes with dates on them, but nothing else. I have to open them to find out whats in them. I’ve gone in over the years and added whats in them. I’ve come across food stuffs too like that with only a date. Especially if you are using generic packaging like Mylar bags, cans or jars (Jars are easier though because you can see inside them), …… also write on it whats in the package.

      Another story from my sailboat racing days. We got tired of everything getting soaked down below during storms and all the paper labels from the canned foods were falling off and clogging up the bilge pump. Someone thought it a good idea to remove all the paper labels. Until about 2 days into a race and someone went in to grab a can of (who knows what). You would grab a can for dinner and you might get soup or you might get peaches, or green beans. At least the Spam was identifiable by the can and the painted on label. ;-) Gotta know whats in the can.

      I’ve learned a lot over the years. Don’t seem to be done yet.

  8. Thats the thing, like NRP always said store what you eat eat what you store,
    Keeps it simple

    1. Kulafarmer:
      You got that right.
      I do have a little (HAHAHA) of the Augason Farms stuff stored for long term, it will most likely outlast me, so someone in the distant future will have fun with that.
      As far as what one stores, As many have said, when you get hungry you will eat that Crapo long term food, you may not like it, but you will eat it.
      Problem is that we here in the US don’t really know what real Hunger is. Honestly we are a bunch of spoiled people that waste 40% of the food we produce (look it up).

  9. Recently bought Keystone canned beef and
    chicken chunks. Cooked with sea salt as only added ingredient.

    I thought it was tasty. Best-by date is five years from purchase. Some friends said it was a little salty for their taste.

    Added to noodles or soup/stew, it should be a tasty protein.

  10. If the can is not Bulging it should be safe… I ate 1996 Dinty Moore Beef stew about 5 years ago. It was really greasey. If I was starving I would have eaten it all. I am stiill here…
    I had 9 yr old Stove Top Stuffing the other day. I cook it with a Knoor Chicken Bullion Cube. It was a little stale but still edible. Tasted ok….
    Tuna in Oil lasts a lot longer than Tuna in Water.
    White Rice will last 10+yrs.
    I bought 40 packages of Goya Red/Black Beans- Walmart has the best prices on those. I stored those in 3 plastic buckets….
    If you see something you eat-
    1) It is not going to get cheaper for a while….
    2) Buy a lot there as there is not a lot of food on the shelves at times…
    3) Buy as much as you can afford to…. there will be shortage and massive price increases before the summer…

    1. 21Bravo,
      That can was greasy in 1996! Its amazing the stuff I gulped down in that same time period that I won’t touch now. I have a hard enough time popping open a can of Dinty Moore right now. If I found one from 1996 it would likely go into the dogs bowl. But… its always nice to have preps for the pooches. They’ll think you are God if you give them that stuff over their stale dog food kibbles. ;-)

  11. We also rotate through our stored food because I try to purchase what we eat. Although in the beginning not as well…it was more of a buy this now just in case added to what I was already purchasing. Our problem is storing amounts to support more people than currently live here. I can donate many goods to people directly in need and the food pantry before they expire, but not items I repackaged for storage and not my home canned goods. Sometimes the animals get something extra. It is rare we have to toss something but usually a can that went bad before it’s time.

    I like keeping the FD and dehydrated veggies from the professional companies in #10 cans. I use them in my regular cooking to taste for the past 10 years or so. I do store their stew blends and black bean burger and Santa Fe rice mix. Mostly from Emergency Essentials, but some stuff here and their from Mountwin House and 4Patriots I believe. They are all tasty and handy when I have worked outside for 14 hrs and need to make something quick. I don’t store their meat as it is too expensive and I prefer home canned meat first and store canned meat next (chicken, tuna, salmon, sardines, meat chilis). Quick foods are usually soup or stews canned or dehydrate version. The price is so much higher than when I first purchased. I bought what was on sale when I made purchases.

    All items are marked with black sharpie on top or wide with expiry date for rotation or purchase date for those without expiry date. It helps for faster rotation check.

    Think about how you live, cook, and eat and then buy those types of products. Good article because it helps the newbies as they are trying to store foods and reminds us to go through our product.

  12. I have tried just about all of the long term stuff, I tend to get a sample pack of the various items. Try them out and then order the ones that we like. Some of the suppliers don’t really have a sampler. But if you contact them, most will work with you.

    My biggest problem with the long term stuff is that is so dense in carbs. And since I’m a diabetic it’s a problem. But with the addition of meat or a protein, and some fats. I can make it work.
    I have spent a lot of time with nutritionist going over my diet, to help keep my blood sugar under control. And even if your not a diabetic, understanding nutrition information is a very key part of staying healthy. So if your looking for something to do, or research. It would be time well spent.

  13. MSB’ers, When you add the vanilla to your powdered milk, do you use imitation vanilla? or the real vanilla?

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