How Long Do Pantry Staples Really Last?
Find out the shelf life of your favorite foods to help you maintain a more organized pantry.
We showed you how to cleanse your kitchen in an hour, but let's dig deeper into the pantry. After all the cooking and baking you did over the holidays, your pantry is probably your worst kitchen nightmare right now. The biggest source of clutter is most likely expired foods. But exactly how long can you safely keep food staples? Check out our list of common foods and their expiration dates.
Let's start with foods that never expire. The FDA and U.S. Department of Agriculture suggest you can keep the below foods in your pantry indefinitely as long as you keep them in a container away from moisture.
- pure vanilla extract
- pure maple syrup
- apple cider vinegar
- distilled white vinegar
- powdered milk
- instant coffee
- white rice
- baking soda
You should keep most fruits and vegetables in your refrigerator or kitchen countertop, but there are a few that store better in a cool, dark place like your pantry.
- potatoes — up to two weeks
- onions — up to two weeks
- unpeeled garlic — up to six months (in a wire basket for air circulation)
- winter squash — up to three months
Flour, Pasta + Grains
You can safely consume pasta, flour and certain grains beyond the "best by" date if kept in airtight containers.
- flour — white lasts up to one year; whole wheat lasts up to three months; keep in freezer indefinitely
- brown rice — up to one year
- dry pasta — up to two years
- bread crumbs — up to six months
- oats — up to two years
- quinoa — up to two years
- popping corn — up to two years
Oils, Nuts + Spices
Store these in airtight containers.
- vegetable and olive oil — up to two years
- coconut oil — up to three months
- oil sprays — up to one year
- spices — up to two years
- nuts — up to six months
- nut butters — up to three months
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones
The perfect companion to an early morning (or late night) cup of hot tea, coffee or cocoa, these dense, flavorful scones combine two favorite fall flavors: pumpkin and chocolate. Get the recipe: http://www.hgtv.com/entertaining/pumpkin-chocolate-chip-scones-recipe/index.html
Store these in airtight containers.
- baking powder — up to one year
- cake mix — by "use by" date
- chocolate chips — up to two years (keep in freezer for longer shelf life)
KETCHUP AND MUSTARD CONTAINERS
Upgrade your basic condiments by taking them out of their containers and instead emptying them into more decorating ketchup and mustard squirt bottles. This is a lot more aesthetically pleasing than looking at logos and price tags!
Flynnside Out Productions
Refrigerate condiments once opened.
- barbecue sauce — up to one year
- ketchup — up to one year
- mustard — up to one year
- jams and jellies — up to one year
- mayonnaise — up to three months
- hot sauce — up to three years
- salsa — up to one year
- Worcestershire sauce — up to four years
Southern Wedding Groom's Cake Table Display Featuring Whole Coffee Beans Scattered Over Wooden Scoop
The groom at this wedding had a well-known passion for good coffee. Coffee beans served as a beautiful, textural table display element with a personal significance. The casual display is perfect for a relaxed, homey vibe.
- ground coffee (unopened or opened) — up to five months
- whole bean coffee — up to nine months
- juice boxes — up to six months
- soft drinks — up to nine months
- tea — up to one year
- bottled water — up to two years
Add a Base Layer
Here’s a trick for making the most of deep shelves from Clea Shearer, cofounder of The Home Edit: Line up boxes and jars of food on top of a bin, basket or serving tray that’s not in everyday rotation. “Pull out the whole container to access anything in the back,” she says.