Unusual Survival Foods

When something happens that causes a person to go into survival mode, one of the things that quickly becomes an issue is what to eat to continue to survive and stay healthy. While many people have set aside some supplies in case of a disaster, sometimes the catastrophe may last for an extended period, resulting in the supplies becoming exhausted. When this happens, people still get hungry, and still need to eat. 

Sometimes knowing about unusual options can make the difference between surviving and dying in a dire situation. There are some things that will aid in survival by providing nutrition from unusual sources. These may be common foods in uncommon forms, or they may be foods from surprising origins. When one is willing to do something like eating earthworms, survival is the top priority.

Dehydrated Food

Removing the liquids from a food will make it last much longer, as decay, mold, and mildew all require moisture. It may be surprising to find that some of the items below can be dehydrated.

Where to Buy
Frontier Co-op Soup Vegetables, Deluxe, Kosher
Nutristore Freeze-Dried Pepper Jack Cheese Shredded | Amazing Taste & Quality

Dehydrated Lettuce & Vegetables

A vegetable that is mostly water, it seems odd to dehydrate lettuce, but it will keep for much longer when dried. It can be rehydrated with a few spritzes of cold water or used as-is with dehydrated vegetables for pet food. 

Freeze-dried Cheese

Cheese dries well and retains flavor even when dried. It can be used as snacks or added to recipes to perk up an otherwise bland survival meal. It can also be powdered for better storage.

Freeze-dried Fruit

Where to Buy
Nutristore Freeze Dried Grapes | Healthy Snack | Bulk Fruit Emergency Food Storage
Augason Farms Freeze Dried Sliced Strawberries 6.4 oz
Augason Farms Butter Powder 2 lbs 4 oz No. 10 Can
Eggylicious Whole Egg Powder, Dried Natural Protein Powder, Made from Fresh Eggs, White & Yolk mixed
2lbs of 100% Premium Powdered Peanut Butter from US Farms – Bulk, Only Roasted Peanuts, Vegan, No Additives, Preservative Free, No Salt, No Sugar - 76 Servings - Naked PB
Future Essentials Canned Shortening Powder
Hoosier Hill Farm Sour Cream Powder, 1 Pound
Dried Tomato Powder | 16oz - 453 g - Bulk Spice Quart Jar with Shaker Top | 100% Natural | Tomato Soup | Premium Grade, Freshly Packed
Anthony's Textured Vegetable Protein, TVP, 1.5 lb, Gluten Free, Vegan, Made in USA, Unflavored


Grapes, strawberries, and other fruits can be dehydrated to last longer. These are delicious in their dry form but can also be slightly reconstituted for use in recipes. Be aware that strawberries will be mushy if reconstituted. 

Powdered Butter

Butter can be dehydrated and powdered to add flavor and fat to things without the worry of the butter going rancid. It can be rehydrated or used as powder. 

Powdered Eggs

Whole eggs are dehydrated and powdered to use in all sorts of recipes that require eggs. It can be mixed with water or added to dry ingredients to make anything from cakes to omelets.

Powdered Peanut Butter

Peanuts that are roasted, dehydrated, and powdered are all that are needed for a delicious peanut powder that will add flavor and protein to all sorts of recipes. 

Powdered Shortening

Shortening is used to add texture to baked products. This can of shortening powder will last on the shelf for up to five years. 

Powdered Sour Cream

Add three parts water to five parts sour cream powder to reconstitute this dehydrated powder. Use in anything that would generally take sour cream.

Powdered Tomato

Make things like ketchup, barbecue sauce, spaghetti sauce, and other tomato-based recipes with this long-lasting dry tomato powder. This pound of tomato powder will last up to two years in the cupboard. 

Textured Vegetable Protein

Not everyone is fond of TVP, but it can be helpful in a survival situation. Add to meat or vegetables to add protein to a dish without affecting the flavors.  

Canned Foods

Foods preserved in a can will last much longer than fresh versions of the same foods. A large quantity of foods can be canned. 

Where to Buy
Yoder's Real Canned Bacon (3 Cans)
B&M Brown Bread, Original Flavor, 16 Ounce (Pack of 12)
Wild Planet Wild Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Lightly Smoked, Keto and Paleo, 4.4 Ounce (Pack of 12)


Canned bacon can sit on a shelf for over 10 years. 9 ounces of fully cooked bacon can be eaten from the can or added to recipes. 

Brown Bread

Made in New England since 1869, this canned bread will last on the shelf and still tastes great. Bagged bread needs to be eaten quickly or it will go bad, but canned bread lasts for years.


Sardines are full of nutrients, fats, and protein. They are a great snack and since they keep in their can for a long time, they are a great option for survival food.

Edible Plants

Plants are normal things to eat but some of these plants may not be something most people have considered adding to their diet.

Where to Buy
Tin Roof Treasure's Pack of 75 Fresh Natural Acorn Nuts Plus a Pack 85 Matching Caps
Dongliflower 40 Stems,Dried Natural Cattails Jumbo 24"
Outsidepride White Dutch Clover Seed: Nitro-Coated, Inoculated - 2 LBS
Dandelion Seeds - True (Wild) - 0.25 Oz ~2,125 Seeds - Taraxacum officinale - Culinary Herb Gardening & Microgreens Seeds - Non-GMO, Heirloom, Open Pollinated, Perennial
Hooyman Bush Machete with Heavy Duty Construction, Ergonomic Non-Slip Handle and Belt Sheath for Gardening, Land Management, Bushcraft, Hunting and Outdoor , Black/Green
PRE Order for Spring (TYK3) Bulk 100 (Bulbs) Tulip (Purple Flag Triumph)


Acorns need to be soaked until the water runs clear to remove potentially toxic tannins before ingesting. Once this is done, the acorns can be used as is or powdered to use as flour, thickener, or to add to recipes.


Find these nutritious plants in many places where water is. This can be a creek or river but they may also be found in and near ditches if water stands for long. These starchy plants have many uses. The pollen that grows at the top can be harvested for use in flower to add protein. The fuzzy brown part, if found when green, can be eaten similar to corn on the cob. Young shoots can be sauteed and eaten and the roots can be used to make flour – but be sure to only use the root if the area is clean, as the roots will absorb pollution that may be in the water. 


White and red clover grow wild in many places. It can be planted in the yard to be sure to have a good crop if needed, as well. The flower is sweet and can be eaten right off the stem. The leaves can be used as greens, and the flowers can be dried and used for tea.


Dandelions are widely regarded as a weed, but they are actually extremely nutritious. All parts of a dandelion are edible from the flower to the root. The leaves are better before the flowers appear, because they tend to become bitter after that.

Pine Bark (Inner)

This machete is likely to be one of the best ways to get to the inner white bark of a pine tree. Cut off the outer bark of a pine tree – preferably in a six to eight inch vertical strip, only a few inches wide, to prevent killing the tree – and when the inner white bark is visible, peel off pieces. These can be eaten raw but will be chewy. Dry over a fire or in an oven to dehydrate and powder the bark for easier eating and other uses. 

Tulip Bulbs

Tulips growing in the yard are beautiful when they bloom, but they are also a potential source of food in a catastrophe. The petals and the bulbs can be eaten, but the leaves and stems should be avoided. Fresh bulbs are sweet and can be prepared in the same way as a potato. 

Farm Leftovers

Be sure to check with the farmer, if possible, before gleaning anything from a farmer’s field, but once permission has been received, anything left in the field is usually fair game. 

Animals & Other Creatures 

While people regularly eat animal products, there are some animals and creatures that are not generally considered food. Some of these can, in fact, be eaten and are quite nutritious.

Where to Buy
Meat Maniac Edible Insects | Salted Queen Weaver Ants
Meat Maniac June Bugs | Edible Insects | Salted June Beetles
Cricket Bites: 3-Pack of Assorted Flavor Edible Insects (Made in Portland, Oregon) by Cricket Flours


Black ants and weaver ants are edible. Those who eat them usually recommend sauteeing them or drying them before eating. It is not recommended to try to eat fire ants.


June bugs are one of the edible beetle types. Another is the rhino beetle. Cooking these makes them more palatable, so in a survival situation, a campfire or oven will be helpful.


Cicadas are edible and are said to taste much like avocadoes. It could be assumed that mixing them with guacamole spices might turn out a nice dip for vegetables or chips, if available.


Crickets have gained some popularity thanks to television shows that include them in recipes. Since they tend to be quite ubiquitous in the summer, they may end up being one of the best survival foods available in an extreme situation.


Tarantulas are less common in the United States, but they are delicacies in other cultures. These large spiders can be fried and eaten, if one can get past being freaked out about it!