13 Shelf-Stable Protein Sources Preppers Should Store

Are you storing enough protein in your food storage? There are so many options outside of just beans that not only give variety but also have pretty good shelf lives.

Not everything listed below will have super long shelf lives, but not everything that we store needs a super long shelf life.

Remember, store foods that you eat, not just because they offer a certain nutrient. You can find nutrients that will cover all of our needs in a wide variety of foods. So look to the foods that you and your family eat.

Here are the top 13 shelf-stable proteins for your food storage:

Canned meats – whether you buy them from the store or can meat yourself, canned meats are a great source of protein and they’re shelf stable! When kept in ideal conditions (not freezing and not extreme heat), canned meats can last between 3-5+ years.

Beans – this should come as no surprise, being beans are a staple in the prepper community. Whether canned or dry, beans in various varieties are a great source of protein. When dry beans are stored in mylar bags with an oxygen absorber, they can last upwards of 20+ years.

Lentils – lentils are a protein powerhouse. They can be stored in a mylar bag with an OA for up to 20+ years. Though keep in mind, the longer they’re stored, they can harden up a bit which would require longer cook times.

Wheat berries – did you know that wheat berries contain 6.5 grams of protein in 1/4 cup? The even better news is, when wheat berries are stored in a mylar bag with an oxygen absorber, they can last 20+ years!

Protein powder – the shelf life of protein powder is about 1-2 years when kept in around 70 degree temps and in a dark place. It’s not recommended to package protein powder of any kind in mylar bags. Protein powders are an amazing source of easy protein, but they just don’t store all that well. However, if you use protein powder regularly, use one and keep a couple extra on hand. You’re bound to use them up within the 1-2 year period if you rotate properly and replenish the old with new. Do not freeze protein powder.

Peanut butter – did you know peanut butter contains about 7 grams of protein in just two tablespoons?! Store-bought peanut butter like Jiff, has a much longer shelf life than natural peanut butters. Peanut butter (not the natural kind) can last around 5 years when kept in cool, dark places. You could also store raw peanuts in the freezer and roast then grind them up to make your own peanut butter at home. Better stock up!

Powder eggsfreeze dried eggs are an excellent source of protein. You can also dehydrate your own eggs and grind them into a powder. Freeze dried powdered eggs can last 20+ years!

Protein bars – there are dozens of different types of protein bars available on the shelves today with various ingredients and amounts of protein. You’ll need to do some research here. The majority of them have a shelf life of 6 months to a year when kept in cool, dark places. Though protein bars don’t have a long shelf life, keep a few boxes on hand and rotate them out regularly, replenishing the old with new. Do not place protein bars in mylar bags.

Powder cheese – cheese varies widely between varieties how much protein is in each. And especially when we’re talking about powder cheese, it can vary. But for instance, the Hoosier Hill Farms White Powder Cheese has 2 grams of protein per 1 tablespoon. So we can use our own calculations from there. Freeze dried powder cheese can last anywhere from 10-20+ years when stored in mylar bag with an oyxgen absorber.

Powder milk – there’s a whopping 23 grams of protein in 1 cup of non-fat powdered milk. That’s an incredible amount of protein! Store non-fat powdered milk in mylar bags with an oxygen absorber and it’ll last 10-20 years!

Jerky/pemmican – I couldn’t leave jerky or pemmican off this list because of course, dried meats are a great source of protein. However, what most people don’t realize is their short shelf life. Though jerky is dried, it still contains oils and fats that can go rancid very easily. The shelf life of jerky is around 1 year. Do not place in mylar bag. Pemmican has been known to have shelf life of 1-5 years. Pemmican and jerky can be stored in the freezer for a longer shelf life, usually a few years. Some say you can store pemmican in the freezer for 20+ years, but that’s highly debated. Rotate your food often.

Freeze Driedfreeze dried meats are one of the best shelf stable options that can be relied upon for years to come. When you purchase them in the #10 cans, they can last for 20+ years!

Popcorn – popcorn has so many nutritional benefits! Along with all of the nutritional benefits, it has about 13 grams of protein within a 3.5oz serving size. This is great news because popcorn can be stored long term in a mylar bag with NO oxygen absorber. If you happen to place an oxygen absorber inside of the mylar bag, no worries! If the popcorn won’t pop, simply soak it in some water for a short period of time and it’ll pop right up!

This is not an end-all-be-all list but it should hopefully offer some viable solutions for your food-storage pantry.

What kinds of proteins are you storing?

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Morgan is the founder of Rogue Preparedness. She has been a prepper for over a decade. She's a wife, mother of two daughters and is homesteading off grid. She teaches people how to be prepared for emergencies and disasters.

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