In alphabetical order, not order of importance, here are my top 20 picks for survival food crops:
1. amaranth – high in carbs, a complete protein, high yielding, easy to harvest (no hulling).
2. beans – good source of protein, easy to grow, continuous crop over several weeks, easy to dry and store.
3. beets – green and roots are edible, good source of vitamins and minerals, tolerates cool weather, productive.
4. buckwheat – high in carbs, a complete protein, easy to grow, easy to harvest (no hulling).
5. carrots – productive, easy to grow and harvest, good source of beta-carotene, complete protein.
6. chickpeas – high in protein, good hot weather crop, easy to grow, harvest, dry and store.
7. chufa – most productive source of dietary fat, some protein and carbs, a top crop for total calories produced per square meter, tolerates heavy rains and standing water.
8. corn (maize) – easy to grow and harvest, good source of carbs and decent source of protein, can be dried and stored.
9. fonio – quickest grain to grow (6 weeks from planting to harvest), no hulling needed (grind whole grain into flour).
10. lentils – good protein source, can be sprouted to improve amino acid profile, easy to grow and store.
11. onions – very productive root crop, easy to harvest and cook, keeps well in storage.
12. peanut – easy to grow from raw peanuts in the shell, be sure to dry thoroughly before storage, a top garden source of dietary fat.
13. peas – good protein source, easy to grow, harvest extends over several weeks, dry for long-term storage.
14. potato – top crop for carbs produced per square meter of land, decent source of protein, stores well.
15. pumpkin – choose a hulless variety for easy harvest of seeds, flesh is nutritious and sweet, seeds are high in protein and fat.
16. quinoa ** – high in carbs, a complete protein, high yielding, easy to harvest (no hulling).
** Rinse quinoa in running water to remove saponin coating. Cook in excess of water, strain with fine mesh strainer, and rinse again.
17. rutabagas – productive root crop that keeps well in storage, hardy crop that tolerates cool weather.
18. soybeans – excellent source of protein, good source of essential fatty acids (omega-6 and omega-3 dietary fat), easy to grow and harvest, can be dried for long term storage.
19. sweet potatoes – good source of carbs, some protein, and beta-carotene, a sweet crop that is easy to grow, leaves are edible.
20. tomato – very productive crop, harvest when green to maximize production of this vegetable.