These days, you’ve probably come across foods that expired or projected colors or mold on them. So the question is, how many days individual foods can’t last, when it’s time to throw them away and how much the expiration dates on the packaging actually have to do with food safety.
If you store food properly, process it properly, and handle it, it is safe as long as no signs of spoilage appear on it. Your senses will determine more accurately than the date printed. The bacteria that cause spoilage will make noticeable changes in the smell, taste, and texture of the food. So, if none of this has changed the food is safe to eat.
In addition, cooking, baking, or reheating food will protect you from bacteria such as E. coli or salmonella. The labels we encounter on the packaging are most often ‘Expires’ or ‘Best to use by’, but does this mean that the food is no good after that time?
Hence, what is the shelf life for your pantries?
Shelf Life Of 32 Most Common Foods
Let’s start with the food that lasts forever.
This includes honey, sugar, salt, vinegar, corn starch, vanilla or other extracts, and popcorn kernels. Then, unrefined oils in cans, and liquor (except the ones that contain milk or eggs like Bailey’s and Vermouths). Moreover, unopened soya sauce can also last forever but once you open it you must keep it in the fridge and consume it within 3 years.
More than 10 years:
Rice (white, basmati, wild, and jasmine are almost indestructible however brown rice has a shorter shelf life because of its oils) and instant coffee that can last for more than 25 years.
Between 5 and 10 years:
Grains such as barley, quinoa, millet, and flax can last many years when they are stored in air-tight containers and kept in a dry and cool place. Canned fruits, beans, and veggies can last for more than 2 years than their best by date. Blackstrap molasses lasts 10 years if it’s unopened; however once you open it, the shelf life shortens to 5 years.
Between 3 and 5 years:
Spices can last for about three years and the same goes for canned tuna. Moreover, pickled vegetables also can last for longer if they are unopened. If you opened them, store them in the fridge and eat them within 2-3 months.
One to three years:
This includes chocolate (dark chocolate has the longest shelf life), pasta, oats, unopened tomato sauce, tea, noodles, milk in powder, unopened jam, beef jerky, and broth.
Less than a year
This includes dry fruits, salad sauces, and nuts. Nuts, which usually contain a higher amount of fat, will spoil in the pantry within a few months, but stored in the freezer can last for several years.