There’s nothing worse than exploring The Constant in Don’t Starve only to find that all the food you were keeping in your inventory has turned into Rot. While it may have been easy to get around in your first year, once players begin exploring Caves or making their way to visit the Lunar Island, long lasting foods and foods with long spoilage times become imperative.
Players will also want to become of the mechanics in the game, including the perk of food lasting double the length in the frigid Winter and disadvantage of food lasting half the length in the searing Summer.
The reality is that there are a variety of methods of food preservation when it comes to playing Don’t Starve, but some methods take longer for players to get to, as they take more effort, especially if they require a Blueprint.
So, let’s get to talking about all of the ways players can ensure that they keep their food as fresh as possible while playing all versions of Don’t Starve.
HOW SPOILAGE WORKS
Before we get to chatting about the methods you can use to reduce the amount of spoilage your food endures, it’s important to understand the mechanics behind spoilage. Each food, including the different types of vegetables, has a different spoilage rate. Some foods, like the Deerclops Eyeball, have an unlimited spoilage rate, however, some foods like the Roasted Juicy Berries (DST) have a rapid spoilage rate of 1 day.
Due to the way spoilage works, when raw resources are cooked over a Camp Fire, Fire Pit, or Willow’s Lighter the food will rot at a faster pace, however, it will also gain a bit of freshness. What does that mean? Well, it means that you should leave your food raw until you’re ready to munch. At that point, get to cooking to receive the most stats you can. On the flip side, if you’re in need of some nice juicy rot, cook your berries or various vegetables to speed up the spoilage rate.
Similarly, when foods are mixed together in a Crock Pot to make food, the result will often have gained freshness. A good idea is to always mix spoiling food with fresh food to balance out the difference, however, depending on how easy it is for you to get resources, this may not even be a problem for you.
Food that spoils past a certain point will yield lower stats and in cases where players are using Wickerbottom, they will receive even fewer stats from foods that are rotting.
STRUCTURES TO STORE YOUR FOOD
The first trick to keeping your food fresh is to keep it in structures or crafts that can extend their lifespan. Although players will not need all of the methods available to keep food fresh, it’s a good idea to be aware of them as they can exponentially make the game easier to survive in.
The following are all of the things players can prototype to help reduce the speed at which food spoils.
THE ICE BOX
The most common structure players will turn to when it comes to keeping your food nice and chilly is the Ice Box. The Ice Box requires 2 Gold Nuggets, 1 Gear and 1 Board (or 1 Cut Stone in SW, HAM, RoG & DST) to prototype.
Ice Boxes are static structures players can place that will reduce spoilage rates by half. The Ice Box will also store Ice indefinitely, meaning that once you’re comfortable with how much Ice you have, usually after the first Winter, you can live off of it for a few years.
While Ice Boxes will do a great job preserving your food, Ice Boxes can still be destroyed and will often be one of the first targets the Deerclops breaks during its Winter reign. Players need to make sure that whenever they hear Hounds or terrifying seasonal giants approaching that they move away from their base. Mobs can quickly destroy an entire base, especially when it’s the Deerclops, Bearger, or red Fire Hounds. I’ve had to reconstruct our Ice Boxes about 4 times in the past 2 weeks on our public server, simply because the Deerclops targetted the Ice Boxes first and players froze or didn’t know what to do. While you might think Ice Flingomatics in your base will be good enough, sometimes players will leave Ice Flingomatics unfueled, ultimately leaving your base vulnerable to fires.
While I believe that Ice Boxes are essential, especially for multiplayer Don’t Starve Together servers, I don’t think Ice Boxes are particularly useful in single-player Don’t Starve. As mentioned, since the Ice Box is static you’ll be able to store lots of goodies for your friends, but once that food is out of the Ice Box it’s going to spoil very quickly making it useless for long-term exploration. Food isn’t difficult to get around the base, especially if you’re someone who has built a Pig farm, Improved Farms or a similar food source.
Ice Boxes, at the end of the day, are going to be most helpful when it comes to preparing for long adventures or for making sure that players in your server are always fed. Beyond that, players can also keep food-related dress and gear in an Ice Box to extend their freshness. Equipment that falls under this category includes the Bat Bat, the Ham Bat, Ice Cube, Fashion Melon and most notably the Thermal Stone (which may be useful in Summer.)
If you’re worried about using Gears on Ice Boxes have no fear as you can always choose to destroy the Ice Box with a Hammer in order to receive your Gear back. While not all structures or weapons will return a Gear, the Ice Box is guaranteed to always drop it once demolished or destroyed.
Best food to store in Ice Box: Since the Ice Box is probably not going to be the only structure you rely on to keep your food fresh when playing Don’t Starve I recommend using it to store only Crock Pot recipes focussing on Healing or Hunger.
Limiting the Ice Box to only containing Crock Pot dishes will ensure that your Ice Box isn’t perpetually filled with foods that aren’t necessary. It will so ensure that foods have remained as fresh for as long as they can be as raw ingredients tend to have shorter freshness than their Crock Pot counterparts.
If you need a place to store extra raw foods like vegetables, consider building yourself a second Ice Box (or more), though leaving foods in Improved Farms during seasons that can grow foods is also a feasible option.
One of the quirkiest ways players can keep food fresh is by travelling with Snow Chester. Snow Chester is one of the many variants of Chester that players can obtain by placing a total of 9 Blue Gems (one in each of his inventory slots) on a full moon. Upon transforming, Snow Chester will become a transportable Ice Box, though he will not be able to store Ice or an Ice Cube indefinitely.
Though Snow Chester is not as powerful as an Ice Box, he does keep Thermal Stones cool for Summer, so I would recommend getting him anyways. Your other option is Shadow Chester, who causes food to spoil quicker. Shadow Chester has his own uses and he used to be my favourite transformation, so make sure you study up on your Chester transformations to make use of this adorable guy in the best ways possible.
I usually use Snow Chester when I’m in groups and need to make sure everyone has enough food to take care of their health. Most notably, I will always travel with Snow Chester when trying to defeat bosses like the Bee Queen, Moose/Goose, Deerclops and Bearger. Make sure you always place Snow Chester away from the fight, though preferably by a Fire Pit, so you can quickly grab healing foods if you run out.
Snow Chester is extremely notable for mid-tier level exploration, especially for players who are teaching friends how to play the game.
Although I have to admit, I don’t use the Insulated Pack, I can’t deny how powerful an item it is. The Insulated Pack requires 3 Electrical Doodads, 3 Gears and 1 Thick Fur.
The only reason I don’t use the Insulated Pack is that it requires 3 Gears, which I don’t really think is worth it when you can get Snow Chester with 9 Blue Gems. Then again, I guess players may want to use their Blue Gems for magic items or for Purple Gems. Either way, if you want an Insulated Pack, get ready to kill a bunch of Clockworks or in Don’t Starve Together you can tumbleweed hunt in the desert the Dragonfly lives in.
Since the Insulated Pack requires players to surrender the chest slot, or “backpack” slot if you have a mod, chances are you will only want one Insulated Pack. Insulated Packs are great for moving all of the contents in your Ice Box to another base, especially if you have a base for every season.
I would also only have one Insulated Pack around your base as they are flammable, cannot go into chests and inevitably have to be on a player to make sure that they are safe. Basically, it’s one of those items you want to make sure is always treated like your baby.
By far the most crucial and game-breaking aspect of the game are Bundling Wraps. To prototype a Bundling Wrap, players must either kill Bees in single-player or kill the Bee Queen in Don’t Starve Together.
Although Bees only have a 4% chance to drop Bundling Wrap in Don’t Starve, killing the Bee Queen can be time-consuming, making prototyping Bundling Wrap a mid-to-late game priority in Don’t Starve Together. Though, that being said in Hamlet players can receive the blueprint from the Queen Womant.
Once the Bundling Wrap Blueprint has been acquired, grab yourself a piece of Wax Paper and a Rope and bundle up to four stacks together into one. These stacks can contain resources, food, weapons, or anything you think is important to travel with! I personally recommend putting food in them as Bundling Wraps will make sure that food is stored indefinitely.
Wax Paper has a bit of a process to make. First players will have to destroy a Beehive for its Honeycomb, then players must prototype Beeswax at the Science Machine and then players must prototype Wax Paper using 1 Beeswax and 1 Papyrus (4 Cut Reeds) and finally using the Wax Paper and Rope you can bundle the 4 stacks of items. *wipes brow and sighs* yeah.
I’m currently playing a lot of Wurt, so I make sure I have some Bundling Wraps filled with Dragonfruit, Dragonpies and Dragonfruit Seeds. It’s a bit of an overkill, but when you’re logging onto a server where people play regularly, you never know what food is going to be available to you.
Bundling Wrap is a godsend as it increases your inventory size beyond belief. I recommend looking into it as soon as you can. Bundling Wrap’s best use is to store big stacks of seeds to ensure that you never run out of a certain veggie or for big stacks of already cooked food.
SALT BOX (DON’T STARVE TOGETHER)
A structure that is severely underrated is the Salt Box, which reduces the speed of spoilage by 75% for Meats and their co-related cooked counterparts.
The Salt Box requires 10 Salt Crystals, 1 Cut Stone (3 Rocks), and 1 Blue Gem to craft, so players will have to survive until their first winter before they prototype these helpful suckers.
The Salt Box is where you should hide all of your uncooked Meat and/or Monster Meat if you do not plan on turning them into the Pig King or exchanging them for eggs with an entrapped bird. As mentioned earlier, having a Birdcage is one of the best strategies players can use when playing single-player Don’t Starve or multi-player Don’t Starve Together. You really only need one bird for unlimited seeds, unlimited eggs and a guarantee for fresh food at all times.
The weirdest thing about the Salt Box is the fact that it cannot contain Jerky. While Salt Boxes cannot contain Jerky, as mentioned, Jerky has a 20-day lifespan and players can also use the Ice Box to extend their lifespan to 40 days.
THE CHEF POUCH (WARLY EXCLUSIVE)
I’m not too sure how I feel about the Chef Pouch. While it’s cool that Warly gets an item that reduces spoilage, being that Warly is the food god, but the Chef Pouch only seems useful in single-player Don’t Starve.
You see, in single-player Don’t Starve Warly’s Chef Pouch reduces spoilage by 50%, but in Don’t Starve Together, Warly players will only see a 25% decrease. Not only will players see a difference in spoilage times, but players will also note that they have access to 8 inventory slots in single-player and only 6 slots in Don’t Starve Together. Useful? Maybe. How much? Not really much.
I wouldn’t rely on using Chef Pouches in Don’t Starve Together, especially because of it’s moderate crafting recipe, being 4 Cut Grass, 4 Sticks and 2 Nitre. While those aren’t the most pricy or valuable resources, they aren’t really worth the outcome. Players in Shipwrecked can look at a bit cheaper recipe being 1 Cloth (3 Bamboo) and 1 Rope (3 Cut Grass).
STRUCTURES THAT “RESET” OR REDUCE SPOILAGE TIMERS
Some of the most exciting discoveries I’ve had while playing Don’t Starve Together are the mechanisms in the game that make using storage units fairly useless or at least unnecessary in large quantities.
I cannot tell you how useful it is to have multiple food sources on a server, especially if there is any griefing on the server or players who have expended all of the resources at the base. If you’re in one of these situations, chances are you’re going to need one of the methods below to deal with the food shortages:
I know it’s probably a bit weird to see that I’m putting Drying Racks on a list of says to reduce spoilage, but the truth is that Drying Racks are an extremely powerful structure players can use to make sure that they are always sane and make use of all of the food they collect.
Drying Racks require 3 Rope (9 Cut Grass), 3 Sticks and 2 Charcoal and players will want at least 4 Drying Racks. Drying Racks take a long time to make Jerky, especially in seasons like Spring, which cause the Drying Racks to dry Meat slower. At minimum Drying Racks will dry food in 1 day and maximum of 2 days as long as it is not raining. If it is raining, Drying Racks will stop drying altogether.
On multiplayer Don’t Starve Together servers, I recommend having around 10 Drying Racks, although you may choose to have more or less based on the number of players on your server.
Meat is the best food to make into Jerky as it provides players with 25 Hunger, 15 Sanity and 20 Health, while its cooked counterpart only returns 3 Health and no Sanity. Great deal for waiting 2 days for it to dry!
Jerky can be left on drying racks to keep them from spoiling indefinitely, however, Jerky has a long lifetime, sitting at 20 days before rotting. Jerky can alternatively be thrown into the Ice Box if players want to extend their lifetime to 40 days, especially if they are trying to build up their supply for long-winded adventures.
Jerky is one of the most ideal ways players can control their Sanity, especially if they are playing the carnivore, Wigfrid. Unfortunately, when Wigfrid is out of battles for too long, her Sanity gets tricky to deal with, making her Jerky reliance inevitable, unless players would rather use Tents to sleep.
It’s important to note that there are two forms Jerky can take, including regular sized Jerky, which requires a piece of regular Meat to make, and Small Jerky, which can be made from a variety of raw meats, including Batilisk Wings, Drumsticks, Eels, Fish, Fish Morsels (Shipwrecked), Frog Legs, Morsels, Poison Dartfrog Legs (Hamlet), Tropical Fish (Shipwrecked).
Small Jerky is not as useful as regular Jerky as it only provides players with 12.5 Hunger, 10 Sanity, and 8 Health. While these stats should not be ignored for early exploration, I recommend keeping your Drying Racks only for regular pieces of Meat as smaller meat portions can be used to make Crock Pot recipes. While the stats you receive from Small Jerky may not be the most helpful in comparison to regular Jerky, a player will still benefit from Small Jerky’s long perish time, being 20 days as well.
The only bad thing about Jerky is that it doesn’t fill players with a whole lot of Hunger, so players may have to pair Jerky with Meatballs or another high Hunger yielding food.
The Birdcage is one of my favourite structures to build, especially in Don’t Starve Together. When a bird is imprisoned in a Birdcage they can be fed a variety of foods in return for Eggs or seeds. The prior is the aspect we’re going to focus on for the sake of this post.
Since it becomes significantly easier to collect Monster Meat in the middle to late game, players are encouraged to swap some of their Monster Meat for Eggs to either trade with the Pig King, or for foods like Bacon and Eggs, Pierogis and Waffles.
Birdcages make it so players always have a number of fillers and gain access to a variety of more potent foods.
Mushroom Planters are the best way players can make sure that their Mushroom supply is always topped up. Mushroom Planters require 8 Rot, 5 Manure, and 2 Living Logs.
Mushroom Planters are considered to be farms for Mushrooms and will inevitably provide players with between 4-6 Mushrooms that are at full freshness. Similar to Birdcages, Mushroom Planters can be used to keep Mushrooms that are about to rot from… well… rotting!
Get to chopping trees and summoning Tree Guards, because you’re going to need a healthy supply of Living Logs. Tree Guards may be scary to fight at first, but I promise you, as soon as you start understanding their kiting behaviour, Tree Guards will quickly become one of the easier mobs players can and will regularly farm.
Unfortunately, Mushroom Planters will require players to refuel them with Living Logs every few yields, so players are going to want to make sure that they have a steady supply of Living Logs anyways, making characters like Woodie and Wormwood especially helpful when it comes to harvesting Mushrooms.
BEST FOODS WITH THE LONGEST SPOILAGE TIMER
One of the best ways to deal with spoilage is to deal with the problem straight from the source.
Rule to keep in mind is: if you don’t need a vegetable or fruit turn them into a seed since seeds last 40 days. The only time you will want to hoard up on vegetables and fruits is in Winter, since farms cannot grow food in Winter.
The following are the foods with the longest spoilage timer:
BACON AND EGGS
Spoilage time: 20 days
Recipe: Bacon and Eggs require 2 Eggs and a Meat value of 1.5 or more, though players cannot have more than 1 Monster Meat or the recipe may result in Monster Lasagna.
I recommend the following recipe 2 Eggs, 1 Monster Meat, 1 Meat/Morsel/Frog Leg.
Spoilage time: 15 days
Recipe: 1 Dragonfruit and 3 Fillers (including sticks)
Spoilage time: 15 days
Recipe: 2 Meat, 1 Honey, and 1 Filler
Spoilage time: 20 days
Recipe: Jerky requires a piece of Meat to hang on a Drying Rack for 2 Days.
Spoilage time: 20 days
Recipe: 1 Meat, 1 Egg, 1 Vegetable and 1 filler. It can only contain 1 Monster Meat.
SEAFOOD GUMBO (SHIPWRECKED & DON’T STARVE TOGETHER)
Spoilage time: 20 days
Recipe: 2.5 Fish and 1 Filler
Spoilage time: 15 days
Recipe: 1 Meat, 1 Honey and 2 Fillers
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