After a while, even the best food storage stockpile will start tasting bland. That’s why you need condiments and seasoning- spice is, well… the spice of life! Out in the field with MREs, I quickly learned the importance of condiments (with my MRE go-to being Tabasco sauce) in making regular food routines much more palatable.
Some condiments are easy to make yourself with basic ingredients and others are very complex. Most have pretty good shelf lives to start, but even then they can be extended. The way you store and use your condiments can also affect how long they’ll last you.
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Why You Need Condiments and Seasoning
Regardless of your food variety, long-term food storage options can get bland over time. Spices, seasoning, and condiments will help you add variety and improve morale. Here are a few more reasons:
- Convenience – never worry about running out of condiments again! If you rotate through your storage, you’ll avoid hitting any expiration dates and always have your favorites in stock at home.
- Cost-Savings – bulk buying condiments can offer significant cost savings. These savings can be over 75%, usually more than making up for any dedicated racks or storage shelves you may need to store them.
- Expanding Horizons – with plenty of condiments on hand, you have plenty of ways to explore different tastes. Cultures all over the world use unique blends of spices and seasoning, so you may be able to find something you really enjoy by trying new combinations from your condiment storage.
Most people have condiments on hand, so why not get all of these benefits just with a little pre-planning and storage space?
Condiments Stockpile List
Here is my running list of condiments I stockpile. Feel free to chime in with your own suggestions in the comments section, and if it makes sense I’ll add it up here to the main list:
- Tobasco Sauce (or other hot sauce) – this is a lifesaver that used to be included in MREs.
- Ketchup – the kids wouldn’t make it a week without ketchup
- Mustard – low calorie and strong taste
- Salsa – become salsa self-sufficient with a small garden
- Mayonnaise – this one needs to be rotated through frequently due to the egg content.
- Barbeque Sauce
- Soy Sauce
- Teriyaki Sauce
- Vegetable Oil
- Jelly – a go-to condiment for canning has a great shelf life
- Honey – when stored properly, honey can have an indefinite shelf-life and sweeten any meal!
Seasoning Stockpile List
Seasoning and spices are arguably more versatile than condiments. Many condiments are made up of just a few seasonings anyways. Here are the seasonings suggested for stockpiling:
- Salt – never underestimate how much salt you need.
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Sugar Substitute
- Cocoa Powder
- Soup Packets
- Seasoning Packets
- Liquid Smoke
- Vanilla Extract
- Curry Paste
- Boullion Powder
- Bay Leaves
- Chili Powder
- Cayenne Powder
- Red Pepper Flakes
How to Store Condiments and Seasoning
Storing condiments is just as easy as storing other foods, plus you have many of the same options. Here are some good general rules for storing them for longer shelf lives:
- Store in airtight containers: Air and moisture can cause condiments and seasonings to deteriorate, lose flavor, and spoil. Use airtight containers, such as glass jars with tight-fitting lids, to keep them fresh for longer.
- Keep in a cool, dry place: Heat, light, and humidity can also affect the quality of condiments and seasonings. Store them in a cool, dry place, such as a pantry or cupboard, away from direct sunlight and heat sources.
- Label containers: Make sure to label the containers with the name of the condiment or seasoning, as well as the date you stored it. This will help you keep track of how long it has been stored and when it expires.
- Avoid contamination: Avoid contaminating the condiments and seasonings by using clean utensils and keeping them away from raw meats or other foods that may carry bacteria.
- Consider refrigeration: Some condiments and seasonings, such as ketchup, mayonnaise, and hot sauce, may benefit from refrigeration to prolong their shelf life. Check the label for storage instructions and follow them accordingly.
Additionally, it is possible to can, dehydrate, and freeze-dry certain condiments. Using oxygen absorbers with airtight containers or mylar bags can help, especially with seasoning spices. Here are our guides and reviews that address all of these methods:
- The Best Dehydrator for Prepping and Food Storage
- The Best Freeze Dryer for Drying Food at Home
- The Best Oxygen Absorbers for Food Storage
- The 7 Best Long-Term Food Storage Containers
- The Best Mylar Bags for Food Storage
Keeping track of the expiration dates is usually a good idea, even if you don’t get around to labeling. Spreadsheets or other inventory methods are used often in the community and could help you out as well.
Condiment Shelf Life
Condiments last a while both on the shelf and in the fridge, but many have an expiration date. Those that are high in sugar, salt, and/or vinegar tend to have long shelf lives. Tomato bases (like salsa) and mayonnaise do not last as long.
Specific shelf life is dependent on the condiment. Dehydrating works well to extend the shelf-life of some of my favorite condiments, check out dehydrating hot sauce in action:
Seasoning Shelf Life
When you store seasoning properly, you can really extend the printed shelf life.
As we mentioned above, cool and dark pantries are the best option but how you package them in that environment can also help. Using the mylar bag and oxygen absorber combo works great with powdered seasoning and can extend shelf life drastically (and improve taste).
The Final Word
Condiments aren’t a necessity, but it sure does get bland without them. Stockpile your favorite staples while you have them in mind and both you and your taste buds will be thanking you later. Let us know in the comments below if you stockpile any that we left out.
Here are some other popular guides our subscribers have found helpful:
- The Best Emergency Food Supplier
- The Best MRE: Taste, Portability, and Calories
- Survival Food List | Pantry Stockpile Plan and Checklist
Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.
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