Food That Will Not Stand the Survival Test of Time

saltine crackers

Because food is so important to us as a culture, many people try and store away food items that will allow us to maintain our culinary expectations, without thinking whether the food will store well.

Here are a few of the most popular items you should not store for the long-term!

Any canned vegetable or fruit that you do not like

Don’t assume you will fall in love with slimy, aged canned apricots five years from now if you detest apricots now! Canned veggies and fruits aren’t nearly as tasty as fresh versions, so if you decide to store them, make sure you really like them.


I know that canned tuna is a staple in many food pantries. However, I’ve discovered that after a couple of years, canned tuna becomes mushy. Now, if you love the taste of tuna, you may not mind the mushy version, but for me, I really didn’t like it. Also, tuna from various parts of the world has been known to contain mercury and other contaminants.

Saltine crackers

Just for fun, take a sleeve of saltine crackers out of the box and set them aside, at room temperature, for 3 or 4 months. You’ll never get over the stench of rancid saltines! If you must, you could store them in an airtight container with oxygen absorbers, or learn how to make them from scratch. Buy and enjoy saltines but do rotate through them and don’t depend on a giant stash staying fresh a year from now.

Canned tomato products

Personally, I have always stored a number of canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste, but then, we use those products often in our meals. Over the years I have heard more complaints about canned tomatoes than any other canned foods: the cans leak, they bulge, a seam opens. If you store these, be sure to rotate through them and plan on growing your own fresh tomatoes so you’ll have those to rely on instead.

Bottled salad dressing

When a bottle of Kraft ranch salad dressing is the same color as Thousand Island, you know something went very, very wrong on your pantry shelf! That was our experience just last week. About 4 years ago I used a number of coupons to buy bottled salad dressings for my brand new food storage pantry. I didn’t stop to think that I usually make my own homemade dressings, so here these 8 or 10 bottles sat. Needless to say, we tossed them into the trash.

While it is very important you store foods you like and will eat for a survival situation, you also have to stay on top of things like air tight storage, shelf life, and expiration dates.

If you do not, you will end up with food that is probably still edible but eating it will be a survival scenario in and of itself.

To see other food items you should never store for the long-term, check out The Survival Mom.