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Survival Friday: Spices for the Survival Pantry

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: August 1, 2022
Survival Friday: Spices for the Survival Pantry

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Spices_in_an_Indian_marketA commonly used idiom, “variety is the spice of life”, is used to mean that life is more interesting when things are not always the same.  And so it is when you are cooking and with your food storage pantry. Plain old rice and plain old beans will keep you alive but you may succumb to food fatigue from the boredom of it all.

Include some common spices with your other food storage items and everything changes.  As l wrote about in the recent article 20 Items to Kick Start Your Food Storage Plan, adding some spices and condiments to your food storage pantry will allow you to vary the taste of your storage foods, thus mitigating some of the boredom that is likely to occur over time.  I maintain that the exact mix of spices and condiments is up to you but some of my favorites include garlic, chili powder, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salsa, oregano, thyme and black pepper.  Yep, I have a lot of favorites.

Apparently I am not alone in my thoughts.  This week ‘Above Average Joe’ shares his thoughts on both common and not so common spices that will liven up your food after the SHTF.

23 Common Spices That Should Be In Your Pantry Now

MRE’s, mac and cheese, powdered potatoes, and canned vegetables are going to get really old, really fast after the SHTF.

But if you take a little extra time to include herbs, spices, and seasonings into your supply lists, you can completely change the flavor of otherwise bland meals.

I don’t always follow the rules and tend to be a fan of the “throw it in, how bad could it be” cooking method when it comes to spices.

With many of the prepackaged survival meals on the market, it would be pretty hard to ruin a meal by adding some. (Which in a survival situation you really don’t want to do.)

Common Spices:
  1. Salt
  2. Black Pepper
  3. Crushed Red pepper
  4. Chili Powder
  5. Garlic Powder
  6. Garlic Salt
  7. Minced Garlic (If you can’t tell, I like garlic)
  8. Onion Powder
  9. Cinnamon (also great on fruit)
  10. Bay Leaves
  11. Parsley
  12. Oregano
Uncommon Spices:

These mostly include ingredients mentioned above and are way too high in sodium, but they sure can turn bland food into something delicious and take all the guess work out of seasoning.

  1. Meat Spices (those mixed spice things that are made for grilling) One of my favorites is Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick’s.
  2. Mrs. Dash
  3. Cajun Seasoning
  4. Chinese 5 spice
  5. Pickled peppers (jalapeno,  banana, and pepperoncini are my all time favorites)
  6. Wasabi Powder
  7. Tabasco sauce (or my favorite Cholula… goes great on eggs)
  8. Sriracha Sauce
  9. Balsamic Vinegar
  10. Oils (olive oil is great and can be infused with other flavors for all kinds of uses)
  11. Honey (not technically a spice, but an unlimited shelf life that can be used to sweeten everything from coffee to baked goods is never a bad thing to have around!)

The great thing about spices is that they never actually spoil. But over time, spices will lose their potency and not flavor your food as intended and you may need to experiment on how much more spice needs to be added.

As a general rule, whole spices will stay fresh for about 3-4 years, ground spices for about 2-3 years and dried herbs for 1-3 years.

About ‘Above Average’ Joe:  I am just an average guy with a passion for learning. I am excited to share the things I learn with you but I am most interested in learning from you. Survival Life is more than just one man. It is a growing and living community of individuals; all with the desire to be prepared to survive and thrive no matter what this world throws at us. I want to welcome you to the Survival Life community and look forward to growing with you! Thank you, Gaye, for inviting me to share the Survival Life with your readers!


How many of these common and uncommon spices do you currently have in your survival pantry?  Heck, what about your day to day cooking pantry?  There a just a few that I don’t have  but you can bet that I am going to take an inventory to insure that I have plenty of these items on hand and ready to go just in case the SHTF.

cayenne peppers

Cayenne Peppers have many therapeutic properties

One more thing.

In addition to cooking, many spices and herbs have therapeutic properties. Turmeric, cayenne, garlic mustard, and fennel are just a few of the spices that will not only make your food taste better but will deliver medicinal and healing benefits as well.  But that is a story for another time.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


If you have not done so already, please be sure to like Backdoor Survival on Facebook to be updated every time there is an awesome new article, news byte, or free survival, prepping or homesteading book on Amazon.  In addition, when you sign up to receive email updates you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

Bargain Bin: All of this talk about food is making me hungry.  Today the Survival Husband baked a fresh loaf of bread – I wish you could smell it!  (See Making Bread in a Breadmaker is Not Just for Wimps).  We are starting to use coconut oil as the fat in our bread and the results are simply amazing.  Are your ready to do some baking from scratch? It really is easy, you know. Here are some items to get you started.

Nutiva Certified Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil:  So far I am pleased with the Nutiva Coconut Oil.  It is pure-white, USDA-certified-organic, extra-virgin coconut oil that is cold-pressed from fresh coconuts within two hours of chopping. No refrigeration is required and although it solid at room temperature, it melts at 76 degrees. I was able to easily liquefy a small amount and put it in a 4 ounce squeeze bottle where I re-liquefy by putting this smaller bottle in a glass of hot tap water.

Lodge Cast Iron Loaf Pan: This is next on my “cast iron that I covet list”. As you know, cast iron heats up evenly and retains heat for super cooking results. Mmmm . . . think of the quick breads, meat loaves and more from a cast iron loaf pan!

Ove’ Glove Hot Surface Handler: These oven gloves withstand extreme heat up to 540 degrees F. If you could see the scars that I have from my pre-Ove Glove days, you would know why I endorse them. They can be used by both left and right handers and are washable in the washing machine. A Survival Woman must have if you do any cooking at all.

Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day: This is the latest edition in the Artisan In Five series and possibly the best. And yes, I need to write about and review this book. But that takes longer than five minutes LOL.

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking: At an average cost of 50 cents a loaf, this bread is easy, delicious and inexpensive to make.

Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients: Ditto.

Danish Dough Whisk: Besides the book, this is the one must-have. This gizmo makes mixing up the dough a lot – and I mean a lot – easier.

FD Tomatoes

Shop the Emergency Essentials Monthly Specials: The monthly specials at Emergency Essentials feature discounts of up to 35% off sometimes a bit more.  They are currently selling their Freeze Dried Tomatoes for $25.99, a discount of over 40% off the normal price of $43.95 for a #10 tin.

Tomatoes are good to have on-hand in your food storage for your favorite recipes. They are easy to store and rehydrate anytime you need them and are great for adding versatility to your home food supply. I use them in chili, sauces and soups.

Another special this month is the Freeze-Dried Uncooked Salmon which is an amazing $20.99 per can which is 58% off the normal price of $50.95.

In the gear department, the Katadyn Vario Microfilter Water Filtration System is 26% off at $69.99.   My favorite emergency radio, the Kaito Voyager is only $39.99 this month.

kaito VoyagerDon’t let the picture fool you – this radio is quite compact and light weight and it works great – even in hand crank mode.

There are a lot more items on sale this month – be sure to take a peek.

Shop the Emergency Essentials Monthly Specials

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Survival Life is offering my readers a business card sized survival tool for free.  The only hitch is that you must pay $2.95 in shipping charges.  This is a good deal that to the best of my knowledge has only been offered in the past to Survival Life newsletter subscribers.

survivalbusinesscard-uses-large Following along with the numbers in the diagram, here is what the tool includes:

1.  Can Opener
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This tiny but powerful survival tool is no bigger than a business card and fits right in your wallet.  Now why wouldn’t you want one of these?

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10 Responses to “Survival Friday: Spices for the Survival Pantry”

  1. You mentioned that you are using coconut oil in your breads. Do you sub it equally with the oil? thanks!!!

    • Yes – I use a one to one substitution for either the butter or the oil called for in the recipe. It might be my imagination but it seems to do something to the texture and give the bread a superb crumb and texture. It is difficult to explain.

  2. Gaye, I really appreciate all the time and effort you put into these articles. I have a question about the Worcestershire and Tabasco (Cholula is my favorite too) sauces. Don’t they have to be refrigerated after opening? I’ve always kept mine in the fridge but without electricity how would you keep them from spoiling?

    • Actually, I have never refrigerated mind and they are fine. I just ran downstairs and checks the bottles and they say nothing about refrigeration after opening so you should be golden in that respect.

    • Thanks Gaye, I could have sworn they both had that on the bottle. I guess I must have just made that assumption and you know where that gets someone!

  3. Cinnamon is great for many things. Also add other baking spices, pumpkin, apple, all spice, nutmeg, clove, different mints, etc.
    cumin, paprika, chili powder, curry.
    I have umpteen different peppers and chilies. They will fix any dehydrated food or mre.
    Also have ethnic groups like Italian, Chinese, Mexican/Southwest, Cajun, Indian, Thai, German/Hungarian.
    I am trying herbs for the first time this year. Some have already died, so I am not sure what I am doing wrong.

  4. Gaye, another great article. I have almost always had a huge inventory of herbs and spices. I am growing rosemary, oregano, both greek and italian, sage, thyme,parsley, cilantro, spinach, lovage- which can be used in place of celery and can be trimmed just like you would parsley. chives, Lots of lavender. trying to grow dill, but it’s having a hard time. I also planted 30 bulbs of saffron crocus’s. hope they do well.

    • A lot of my herbs died over the winter this year which is odd because the geraniums wintered over for the first time ever. Other than some oregano and rosemary, I am starting over. I never could grow basil although I do keep trying.

  5. Besides all the condiments Joe listed, we would add Tony Chacheres. But my real favorites are rosemary (think lentils and onions) and oregano (think everything from Italian to Indian) that I grow myself. Seems to be just the right climate here – hot – and I just have to water the oregano. I think of them as being part of my non-ending pantry.

    • I have a lot of rosemary in my yard as well so I don’t think that heat is a requirement. The hottest it ever gets here is the mid-80s and even that is rare. I had to look up Tony Chacheres on Amazon. Creole seasoning, right? I will have to check it out.

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