Most of us are guilty of it. We open our pantry and see mountainous stacks of random things we haven’t touched in months—if not years. Perhaps we don’t clean it out because we think that most of these items will never go bad. But pantry items that appear to have everlasting expiration dates might have a shorter lifespan than you think. Here’s a helpful guide for knowing when certain “immortal” items actually expire.
How Long Does Flour Last?
Oh dear, you bought that flour for a batch of cookies four seasons ago and you think it’s still good. Unfortunately, that flour has probably gone sour. What happens when the grains go bad? The oils from the wheat begin to break down, which affects the cooking process and can develop an unpleasant smell. An opened bag of flour is good for about six to eight months. Wheat flour has an even shorter lifespan at four to six months.
Do Spices Expire?
When was the last time you used that oregano? Or paprika? Or cumin? Spices do not have kryptonite lifespans, we’re sorry to say. In fact, spices only last about a year, if not less. It won’t be harmful if you sprinkle expired flavoring on your food, but the potency won’t be as strong and the desired taste won’t be the same. Don’t anger the spirit of Julia Child; only use fresh spices.
How Long Does Cereal Last?
Buying in bulk is usually a great thing for savings, but you might want to hold off on buying a year’s worth of cereal next time you’re at the store. The sugary grains tend to go stale quickly, and who has time for chalky-flavored loops and puffs in the morning? An unopened box will last you around six months, with opened boxes lasting less than that.
Do Canned Goods Expire?
There are two things that seem to last forever: Cher and canned goods. The trouble is, canned goods will decrease in quality over time, while some divas age like fine wine. Certain canned foods, such as tomatoes, will react in their containers after a few months, which will reduce the nutritional value as well as texture. If your canned goods are more than two years old, don’t worry about turning back time, rather simply toss aside.
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