The expiration date food system is confusing. Not only is there more than one date to try to understand ― best-by, sell-by, etc. ― but a lot of times those dates can be totally off. And consumers aren’t sure how to read them, so a lot of good food gets tossed because of those dates. Often times those dates are just recommendations by the manufacturer for best quality, not for when food becomes unsafe to eat.
Actually, some of those foods don’t go bad. Ever. That’s right, some foods will keep indefinitely, even if they come with a date.
If you’re tired of throwing out good food, it’s time you knew which foods never spoil. There are 11 of them: learn them and then keep them forever. Or, until you eat them.
Honey keeps indefinitely. It may change color and become crystalized, but it will stay safe to eat. If your honey does crystallize, just place the open jar in warm water and stir until the crystals dissolve.
Even if it develops a frighteningly thick layer of dust on the bag or box, the rice inside is just as good as the day you bought it. This is true for white, wild, arborio, jasmine and basmati rice. Brown rice doesn’t have the same good fortune; its higher oil content makes it turn rancid. Just be sure to store in an airtight container to keep out any bugs.
3. White Vinegar
You can buy the bulk size of white vinegar without having to worry about it going to waste. It never will, since it keeps fresh forever. So stock up, that way you always have something to turn to when in need for dressings, marinades or even household cleaning.
4. Real Vanilla Extract
Pure vanilla extract, since it’s made from alcohol, will stay fresh and flavorful for as long as you have it in stock. Imitation vanilla does not have the same life span. With this in mind, you might want to opt for the slightly more expensive vanilla without an expiration date.
Table salt, kosher salt or sea salt, will stay as fresh as the day you bought it and remain so throughout the years.
To keep cornstarch indefinitely, keep it dry, tightly sealed and in a cool place. And since you probably don’t go through a tub of cornstarch that quickly, it’s good to know that you don’t need to refresh your stash ― ever.
The challenge with sugar is not keeping it fresh, but keeping it from turning rock hard. Sugar never spoils because it doesn’t support bacterial growth. Just make sure to store it in an airtight container to keep the bugs and moisture out.
8. Hard liquor
No need to hurry and finish that magnum bottle of rum, hard liquor will keep in a cool dark place for longer than necessary. Your liquor cabinet could itself be an inheritable item, passed down from generation to generation. The liquor may lose its aroma slightly, but not enough for it to be noticeable.
9. Dried beans
Dried beans can stay safe indefinitely. They will take longer to soften when cooked ― and sometimes won’t completely soften at all ― after about a year or two, but they do not lose their nutritional value with age so their shelf life is classified as indefinite.
10. Instant Coffee
Instant coffee will keep in the freezer forever, whether sealed or not.
11. Maple Syrup
Just like with instant coffee, if you keep it frozen it will keep forever. And we think you should just always keep some in your freezer, so you never have to eat pancakes without the good stuff ever again.
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