This Chart Shows You Exactly How Long Your Pantry Staples Really Last

The current situation made many people consider the content of their pantry, and even though none of us want to panic we all have checked what product items we can store for a longer period of time.

It goes without saying that we must consume fresh foods like vegetables, fruits, eggs and dairy products, but there are days when we cannot go to the store, so having a product with long shelf-life can be really handy. Therefore, we should know more about which products can last for longer period of time and how they should be kept.

Naturally, the first thing that we check is the date on the product, but not many people know that even if the date has been expired this food is still good for consumption, except for baby food, which cannot be used after the expiration date. On the other hand, other products can be used after this date as it shows only up to which time frame the product is best for use. After this date most of the dishes are still edible and of good quality.

The shelf life of products should be preserved if they are kept properly, meaning hermetically sealed, and in cold and dry conditions. If by any chance the food boxes are opened, and after that not properly closed, then there is a great risk of being spoiled due to damp or high temperatures. If this has happened to you, prior use, make certain to check your food for any mold, odor, or acid, and if there is a change of color and texture. In case of closed cans, there might be a recess or bulge. If your food has any of the above mentioned signs, then this food should not be eaten.

Guidelines of Keeping Food Products in Pantry

Check these guidelines and next time when you go to the stores choose the most suitable items for your pantry or warehouse.

Product Shelf Life of 0–1 Year

  • Dried fruits

This food product should be kept in tightly closed containers, or get frozen so that you can extend their shelf life by six months.

Product Shelf Life of 1–3 Years

  • Bouillon
  • Dried Pasta

The pasta that is bought in store should last up to two years, but the homemade must be eaten within a few weeks.

  • Dark Chocolate

It stays for a longer period of time if it is kept in its original package, and unlike milk or white chocolate, it lasts longer. The latter ones must be consumed within a year. If by any chance you have opened a dark chocolate, wrap it tightly, so that it does not spoil quickly.

  • Jam

The jars of jam that are unopened can stay good for two years. When they are opened they can last up to 6 months if stored in a fridge.

  • Oil

Unopened bottles of oil should last for a few years provided that they are not exposed to heat and direct sunlight. If they are opened, they can be used within a few months. On the other hand, the cooking oil spray should last for two years.

  • Oats

In order to prolong the expiry date of oats, you should take them out from the cardboard boxes and transfer them into airtight containers. In this way they should be good for consumption for around 2 months.

  • Ramen noodles

They can last for longer period, but in order to make them healthier do not use the flavor packets, use your own ingredients.

  • Powdered Milk

It should be good from 1 to 2 years if kept in an airtight container with a moisture-absorbing packet. Plus, it should be stored in a cool and dark area.

  • Tomato Sauce, provided that is unopened
  • Tea

Product Shelf Life of 3–5 Years

  • Canned Tuna
  • Pickles and Pickled Veggies (unopened)

If they are open, they should be kept in a refrigerator and thus can last for several months.

  • Spices

Over time condiments can lose their potency, ground spices should be consumed within 3 years, and whole spices can last for around 4 years.

Product Shelf Life of 5–10 Years

  • Canned Fruit, Veggies, and Beans

Even if their expiry date is far gone, they are still usable for 1 to 2 years, but prior use, check if they are still good, and for that purpose, all you need to do is to smell them. [3]

  • Grains

Make sure to keep them in airtight containers and buy them in bulk including quinoa, barley, rye, flax, grits, and mille.

  • Molasses

If it is open it can stay good for 5 years, and unopened up to 10.

Product Shelf Life of More Than 10 Years

  • Instant Coffee

It is good to know that instant coffee can last for about 25 years, especially in times when the visits to the coffee shops are not recommended or forbidden. If it is kept in the fridge it can last even more.

  • Rice

Rice with low oil content like white, basmati, jasmine, wild, and Arborio rice can have an indefinite shelf life only if they are kept in proper storing conditions. Brown rice has higher oil content which makes it to spoil more quickly.

Product Shelf Life – Forever

  • Corn Starch
  • Honey

Any type of honey stays forever, the only change is that it will get crystallized, which is completely harmless.

  • Liquor

Due to the high alcohol content of 40% or even more keeps these beverages forever. The alcohol content wards off bacterial growth that spoils food. However, some liquor like vermouth and Irish cream when opened should be kept in the fridge because they have a shorter shelf life. Keep your liquor at ambient temperature; there is no need to freeze them.

Once opened most manufacturers recommend to drink it up within a year as it loses its taste, but it has nothing to do with shelf life.

  • Lentils, Legumes, and  Dried Beans
  • Maple Syrup(unopened)

When unopened maple syrup lasts forever, but when it gets opened it should be kept in a fridge and consumed within a year.

  • Popcorn kernels
  • Soy Sauce (unopened)

Opened soy sauce should be kept in a refrigerator and thus can be consumed within two to three years.

  • Unflavored gelatin powder
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Pure Vanilla Extract

The original vanilla extract lasts forever, and the imitation expires after 2 to 4 years.

  • Vinegar

Sources:

thespruceeats.com

food.unl.edu

home-storage-solutions-101.com

fsis.usda.gov