Do you know that awful feeling of throwing food away? The waste of money and perfectly good nutrients are bound to make you feel guilty, but did you know there are some foods that never expire too?
It doesn’t matter how long you have had them lying around in your pantry, if the proper storage conditions are met, you can even leave them as an inheritance for your grandchildren!
Foods that never expire and can be consumed whenever
You might have noticed by now certain the presence in your pantry of foods that never expire. You can search their label all you want that the infamous date telling you when to throw it out will be nowhere to be seen.
And sometimes, they might have a date, but only as a suggestive information and only because brands assume you are likely to not store them properly.
Salt is not only one of the foods that never expire, it is even used to preserve other foods increasing their shelf-life beyond expectation. This effect is due to the fact that it removes moisture.
Salt is also found naturally on Earth, so it doesn’t surprise that it can last for a long time. Table salt, though, only has an average lifespan of 5 years since it contains iodine.
Honey can last for centuries in a row without ever going bad. The discovery of a 5 500 year-old honey pot in Georgia only confirmed this.
Besides containing little moisture, this sweet nectar has hydrogen peroxide and gluconic acid, two compounds that kill germs and have sterilizing properties.
As long as no other preservatives or ingredients are added to it and it is kept away from direct sunlight and moisture, honey has the right properties to prevent the growth of any microorganisms that could decompose it.
Canned and fresh beans do have an expiration date, regardless of what you see in apocalyptic movies or TV shows.
Dried beans, however, can last forever provided they are kept in an airtight recipient. They do, however, take longer to cook as time goes by, but that is just a little time-consuming detail.
Both white and brown sugar have an infinite lifespan provided they are stored in the right conditions for it.
Sugar presents an inhospitable environment for bacteria and germs to thrive, as it doesn’t retain moist well. This explains why brown sugar can get stone-like and the only way to loosen it again is by adding moistness to it.
To remain good, though, it needs to be stored under cool temperatures, away from direct sunlight and in an airtight recipient.
You can use any type of vinegar, from apple cider, to balsamic, wine or rice vinegar, whenever you want without having to check the expiration date.
Due to its acid nature, bacteria and germ cultures cannot develop in this seasoning and decompose it. The same properties that make vinegar such a great addition to health and home remedies, also make it self-preserving.
Provided it doesn’t come in contact with water, which will trigger its molecules to bond with hydrogen ones, cornstarch doesn’t go bad at all.
You do need to store it under the proper conditions, though. That includes an airtight recipient if possible, and storage in a dry, dark and cool place.
Pure vanilla extract
The key word here is “pure”. Imitations or special types of vanilla extract can have preservatives that will put a deadline to its life expectancy.
The pure version, however, has a content of up to 40% of alcohol, which preserves the extract from decomposing or being infected by germs and bacteria.
Speaking of alcohol, hard liquor high content of it also ensures it will last pretty much forever waiting for you to pour it in a glass. The flavor might change and a bit of the liquid might evaporate with time, but it does not go bad.
Cream liqueurs and other kinds of alcoholic beverages don’t enjoy the same lifespan, though.
If you keep the bottle tightly sealed, maple syrup will never expire. After it is opened, though, you need to keep it in an airtight recipient in the fridge. Being exposed to the air can trigger the decomposition of its properties.
Nevertheless, even once opened, it can last for years and years in a row stored in the fridge.
Soy sauce is a tricky case. First, it can go forever but only if kept in the fridge. If you submit it to many temperature changes, its properties can deteriorate and it can go bad.
And second, its lifespan depends greatly on the brand and which preservatives or ingredients were added to it.
4 Foods that last longer than you might think
Even if they cannot be included among the foods that never expire, you might have some foods in your pantry whose expiration date might surprise you. As long as storage is done properly, you can keep some of these foods for years in a row without losing any of their properties.
If kept isolated from oxygen and stored at temperatures below 40ºF / 4ºC, white rice can last anywhere between 25 to 30 years. They might not belong among the foods that never expire, but it is still a remarkable achievement!
Brown rice’s oils, though, work against it and shorten its lifespan to merely 6 months, regardless of the storing conditions.
The dried leaves of tea can last on average around 3 to 2 years in perfect conditions for consumption, as long as they are kept away from light and in an airtight recipient.
Their properties and qualities, though, decrease with time, so if you want to collect the benefits from these beverages you shouldn’t wait that long to drink them.
The dehydrated nature of pasta ensures its increased shelf-life, but you need to store it in an airtight recipient and keep it away from any moisture or direct sunlight.
On average, it keeps its quality and flavor intact for up to 2 years, past which some of its properties will begin to decompose.
Coconut oil‘s lifespan depends greatly on the brand and the ingredients added during its packaging. On average, it last anywhere between 1 to 4 years.
You need to check if it’s good or not in a case to case basis, though, since, if exposed to air, it will begin to decrease its properties. You also need to consider its contamination by germs and bacteria if you use uncleaned hands to scoop it out.
Weird things you didn’t know had an expiration date
People are used to dealing with expiration dates for food, but many daily objects should also be put to rest after a certain amount of time.
They might not make you sick or lose their properties, but they can endanger your well-being as they get worn out or contaminated with bacteria.
Check out below, 10 things you probably didn’t know had an expiration date.