What is the Shelf Life of Your Pantry Items?
How long have these items been in your pantry? Print out this list and tape it inside your pantry door and mark the date that you purchased the item for future reference. You may want to move the older items to the front of the pantry!
The information is from the USDA website:
More with Less Today tip – after reading this article, I started to write the purchase date in permanent market on my items.
Types of Dates
- A “Sell-By” date tells the store how long to display the product for sale. You should buy the product before the date expires.
- A “Best if Used By (or Before)” date is recommended for best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.
- A “Use-By” date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. The date has been determined by the manufacturer of the product.
- “Closed or coded dates” are packing numbers for use by the manufacturer.
Baking Powder (Unopened) -18 months (Opened) – 6 months – will not spoil but starts to lose it’s performance ability
Baking Soda (Unopened) – 2 Years (Opened) – 6 months – will not spoil but will lose potency over time.
Beans (Dry) -1 Year for best taste, although they will keep for many years after if stored in a tight container in a dry and cool setting. Beans may be tougher to soften over time.
Beans (Canned) -2-5 Years
Bouillon- 2 Years - will lose potency over time.
Brown Sugar – indefinitely
Canned Fruit – 12-18 months
Canned Meats ( Tuna, Chicken Salmon, etc) 2-5 years
Canned Soups – 2-5 Years
Cereal / Unopened -1 Year
Cocoa – 1 year
Corn Meal – 6-12 months
Cornstarch – indefinitely
Corn Syrup – indefinitely
Cream of Tartar – 2-3 years
Flour (All Purpose)- 10-15 months or freeze for longer.
Flour (Self-rising) 6-8 months
Flour (Whole Wheat) – 1-2 months or 6 months in the freezer. The bran oil will become rancid quickly at room temperature.
Hard Liquor – indefinitely, the flavor may change a little over time.
Jam & Jelly – 2 years
Ketchup – 1 year
Mayonnaise/Unopened – 3-4 months AFTER date on bottle
Milk (Evaporated) – 1 year
Milk (Powdered) – 1 year
Milk (Sweetened/Condensed) - 1 year
Molasses -2 Years +
Mustard – 2 years
Nuts- (Shelled) 4 months (Unshelled) 6 months
Oatmeal/Uncooked – 1 Year
Oil (Canola) – 2 years unopened, 1 year opened
Oil (Vegetable Spray) – two years
Olive Oil – 6 months
Pasta – 2 years
Peanut Butter / Unopened – 3 months opened (Unopened) 6-9 months
Peanut Butter (Natural)- 6 Months (refrigerated)
Ramen Noodles – 10+ Years
Rice (Brown) – 6 months in the fridge or 1 year in the freezer. The bran oil quickly becomes rancid at room temperature.
Rice (White) – indefinitely stored in a dry location and kept free from contaminants
Rice (Wild) – 6 months
Salad Dressing – 12-18 months
Salsa – 12 – 18 months
Salt – indefinitely
Shortening (Unopened) – 2 Years (Opened) – 1 Year
Soy Sauce – indefinitely if kept sealed and in a cool, dry place.
Spam -2-5 Years
Spices – spices dried commercially do not expire but do lose their potency over time. Dates given are for quality purposes only.
Sugar (Granulated) – indefinitely
Sugar (Powdered)- indefinitely
Syrup (Artificial) 1 year (Real) 1 year unopenend
Tabasco – 5 years
Tomato (Paste, Sauce, Crushed, Sun-dried, Whole) 12-18 months
Vanilla Extract (Imitation) – 1 Year
Vanilla Extract (Pure) – Indefinitely
Vanilla Beans – 3-4 Years
Vinegar (all kinds) best 2 Years – but safe indefinitely
White Rice – indefinitely stored in a dry location and kept free from contaminants
Whole Grains – 2-3 months or 1 year in the freezer. The bran layer quickly becomes rancid at room temperature.
Worcester sauce – 1 year
Yeast – follow expiration date on the package
Any surprises here? Do you have some items past their “shelf life” in your pantry?