Cleaning Out Your Pantry? These 10+ Food Items Can Stay Because They Never Expire
Many of us try to remain vigilant about removing expired products from our refrigerators, pantries, and cabinets. But before you go tossing stuff out, you may be surprised to find that there are lots of foods that have no expiration dates at all. So, you can stock up on them since you’ll never have to worry about them spoiling.
1) Vanilla Extract
The shelf life of pure vanilla extract is indefinite when kept in a cool, dark place, according to StillTasty.com. It can become hazy or lose some of its flavor or scent if exposed to light, heat or moisture but it will still be safe to use.
Honey is said to be able to last centuries and still be edible if it’s properly stored. Humans have been eating honey for thousands of years, it was even found in Egypt’s pyramids. National Geographic says that bee products have been in use since about 2,400 BCE and that its shelf life is so long because of the hydrogen peroxide, acidity and lack of water in honey.
“Honey stored in sealed containers can remain stable for decades and even centuries! However, honey is susceptible to physical and chemical changes during storage; it tends to darken and lose its aroma and flavor or crystallize,” The National Honey Board states. “These are temperature-dependent processes, making the shelf life of honey difficult to define. For practical purposes, a shelf life of two years is often stated. Properly processed, packaged and stored honey retains its quality for a long time. If in doubt, throw it out, and purchase a new jar of honey!”
Cornstarch will stay perfectly edible when properly stored, according to Eat By Date. Keep cornstarch dry in a sealed container in cool dark place.
A 2008 study found that rice can be stored between 10 and 30 years under the right conditions. Rice should be kept in food-safe plastics, glass jars, or #10 cans lined with food-grade enamel lining. Rice keeps best at 40°F or colder. You can store it at 70° F so it lasts 10 years but cooler temperatures will help it to last 25 to 30 years. It’s best to use rice within two years after you open from storage.
Sugar doesn’t really have a shelf life. It’s always safe to eat but might change in color or texture over time.
“There is nothing in sugar that ‘goes bad’ in a traditional sense. Brown sugar will harden over time but is still edible if softened,” United States Sugar Co.’s website says. ” The shelf life of powdered and granulated sugar is indefinite. Most retail chains require a 2-year best by date to be printed onto the bags, but the product will be safe to eat even after that date.”
6) Powdered Milk
Powdered milk is another item that can be stored for extended periods of time. It must be stored out of light and kept as dry as possible in an airtight container, according to USA Emergency Supply.
Vinegar ‘s shelf life is “almost indefinite” and can be stored without refrigeration, according to The Vinegar Institute.
“The Vinegar Institute conducted studies to find out and confirmed that vinegar’s shelf life is almost indefinite. Because of its acid nature, vinegar is self-preserving and does not need refrigeration,” their website says. “White distilled vinegar will remain virtually unchanged over an extended period of time. And, while some changes can be observed in other types of vinegars, such as color changes or the development of a haze or sediment, this is only an aesthetic change. The product can still be used and enjoyed with confidence.”
8) Soy Sauce
According to Eat By Date, the shelf life for soy sauce is indefinite depending on what kind it is and how it’s stored. It stays best if stored in the original airtight container in a cool dark place where the temperature is consistent. It’s best to refrigerate once open.
“Once opened, the soy sauce will start to lose its freshness and the flavor will begin to change. By refrigerating the sauce, the flavor and quality will remain at their peak for a longer period. As long as no water or other ingredients have been added to the soy sauce, it would not spoil if it had not been refrigerated,” soy sauce maker Kikkoman’s website states.
They recommend using their unopened products in plastic bottles within two years of its production date code.
Your unopened bottles of hard liquor, like vodka, whiskey, and cognac, have no expiration date, especially if bottles are kept upright and in a dark cool place. Once you open your bottle, the alcohol begins to evaporate and oxidation occurs which can give it a flat taste.
Salt does not expire or go bad but when properly stored but it does have a best if used by date, according to Eat By Date. It’s best to store salt in an airtight container in a dark cool place where the temperature is constant and used within a year.
11) Dried Kidney Beans
According to a study by Brigham Young University, dried kidney beans will change in appearance but are still safe for consumption after 30 years of storage.
12) Maple Syrup
Maple syrup will keep indefinitely in storage, according to the Massachusettes Maple Producers Association but it has to be refrigerated once it’s opened. Keep it in a cool place, the freezer is best. StillTasty.com, however, says that 100 percent maple syrup will keep for a year unopened in the pantry and a year after it’s opened and put in the fridge. They say it stays indefinitely in the freezer.