Prepper Pantry: Spices

Spices for your Prepper Pantry

Having spices in your prepper pantry is important. It’s important because it will allow you to add variety to your meals. You can start with the same basic ingredients but if you change the spices, then it can taste like something completely different. And because spices take up very little space you can greatly expand your meal options without sacrificing too much room in your pantry.

Food will play a huge role in our survival if we ever find ourselves in that situation. And not just because of the calories. So often we focus on the “calories” when we are stocking our pantry. We try to make sure that we have enough calories to last however many people for however long a time. But we need to understand that it’s about more than just calories.

Food affects us in many ways. Both physically and mentally. Believe it or not, but human psychology can be altered by not only the nutritional value of food but also from the taste of food. So having the means to offer your family a flavorful meal everyday that they can enjoy will go a long way to ensuring their chances of survival.

How long will spices last?

Whole dried spices can last up to 5 years. Ground dried spices will last around 1 -2 years. Of course this can vary depending on the spice, processing and storage. So it’s best to store whole dried spices in smaller quantities and then grind it up in batches as needed.

And when I say ‘smaller quantities,’ what I mean is that if you have 5 years worth of one whole dried spice, you shouldn’t seal it all in one package. Every time you unseal the bag or bucket to get more out, you expose it to oxygen and lessen the shelf life. Having 6 months to 1 year in each package means that it will last longer.

However, spices don’t expire or go bad in the same way as other foods. When a spice has expired it simply means that it has lost its flavor, potency and/or color. It’s highly unlikely that you would get sick from using an expired spice. So there’s no need to worry about using a spice past its expiration but it also won’t add much flavor to your food either.

There is one item in your spice pantry that will last forever though. And that’s salt. I’m sure there’s probably a regulation or something that requires them to put an expiration date on it but it’s an expiration date that you can ignore. Fun fact though – salt isn’t technically a spice because it doesn’t come from a plant.

Also, some people say that black peppercorns will last indefinitely as well. But I had some that was about 8 years old that actually lost most of its flavor. Because of that I only keep about 5 years worth at a time now and make sure that I’m rotating it properly. Maybe you’ve had better luck though.

Spice Blends

There are a lot of different spice blends out there. If you have a well stocked spice pantry and your favorite spice blend recipes then you have everything you need to make your own. Not only will it save you money but you can adjust the recipes to create a blend that tastes much better than a store bought one. And once again you’ve expanded your pantry and meal options without taking up more space.

Being Self Sufficient

Having a well stocked pantry to last you for years without a supply chain is great. For some of us though, we have the goal of being self sufficient in case we end up in a long term SHTF situation. Because if that happens, our pantries will eventually run dry unless we can restock it on our own.

Thankfully most spices are one of the pantry items that you can easily grow and dry yourself. You should understand though, that you might not be able to grow every spice that you use because of the climate needed for the plant. Some of that can be overcome with using a greenhouse or other means of creative gardening. So if you have a favorite spice that you aren’t currently growing and is not rated for your growing zone, then you should start figuring out how to grow it now.

Remember the fun fact about salt I mentioned above. You can’t grow it. And it’s pretty important. So stock up now if you are a prepper with a long term goal. After the dust settles, most likely someone will eventually start mining salt again because of how valuable it is but who knows how long that could take.

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