In a world where we waste roughly one-third of food produced for consumption each year, finding foods that last forever seems like a dream come true.
Well, today that dream's about to become a reality. We're sharing a list of foods that will never let you down! Here are 16 foods that you can keep in your cupboard (almost) forever.
1. How long does coconut oil last?
Coconut oil is relatively new in most of our households. If you've not picked up a pot yet, here's another reason to do so - it lasts ages.
Virgin or extra-virgin coconut oil will last for a long time providing it's stored correctly. Along with its unique taste and low solidifying point - handy for things like vegan desserts! - this is another reason to stock it alongside your existing oils.
2. Is white rice better than brown?
Rice is something everyone should have in their cupboard.
This versatile carbohydrate goes great with everything from curries to Autumn salads and will keep you fuller for longer.
And now there's even more reason to stock up - white, wild, jasmine and basmati rice will last pretty much indefinitely. The key is to keep it in an airtight container, free of dust and other contaminants.
3. How long can you keep beans?
Another cupboard staple you can rely on for years to come are dried beans. They're dehydrated, which means they'll last infinitely longer than those of the canned variety.
Although dried beans take a while to prepare - often requiring extensive soaking - they absorb up any liquid they're cooked in making them extremely flavourful - just one more reason to choose dried over canned.
4. How long does salt last?
When we consider that salt is a mineral, it makes sense that it lasts a pretty long time. In fact, salt can be preserved indefinitely.
Whilst the quality may deteriorate over the years - often due to additives, it may have - it will remain edible.
5. How long can you keep coffee?
Here's one for all you caffeine lovers.
How long can you keep coffee? Well, thanks to its dry nature, instant coffee granules will last for years to come.
If this isn't an excuse to stop up today, we don't know what is!
6. Does vinegar go off?
Bought fish and chips home only to find you've only got an almost antique-looking bottle of vinegar to drizzle over it? Don't fret!
Vinegar is another pantry staple you can rely on for a long time to come. Thanks to its acidity, The Vinegar Institute conducted studies and confirmed that vinegar will 'remain virtually unchanged over an extended period of time'.
This is good news for your fish and chips, salad dressings and homemade cleaning products too.
7. Does honey go bad?
You may have noticed your lovely jars of golden honey changing in appearance as time passes. Honey is prone to going gloopy or even crystallising over time, but this doesn't mean it's gone bad.
Honey won't ever 'go off' as such, and any change in appearance is easily remedied.
TOP TIP: Place your honey in a bowl of hot water, or microwave in a microwave-safe container for about 15-20 seconds. Your honey will soon return to its golden, runny state and be ready to drizzle over yoghurt and spread onto toast.
8. Does cornstarch keep?
For everything from thin soups to gravies, cornstarch is the answer. It's an essential item in every cook's cupboard, and as it lasts indefinitely.
Whilst it may have a 'best before date', cornstarch doesn't have an expiry date as such, as is safe to use from the moment you buy it for years to come.
9. Does alcohol go off?
Wondering how long you can keep that old bottle of Whiskey that only ever comes out at Christmas time?
Technically, liquor never expires. However, opened bottles of liquor will deteriorate in quality over time. As a general rule, the higher the alcohol content, the longer it will last.
TOP TIP: Store your alcohol in a cool, dry and dark place away from heat to help it last longer.
10. Stock cubes
Got odds and ends to use up from the pantry?
Make a soup! Stock cubes have an extremely high salt content, which is enough to keep them from spoiling. That being said, the flavour of your stock cubes will weaken over time.
They'll keep their quality for around two years, but don't be afraid to use them thereafter either as they won't do you any harm.
11. Does soy sauce go off?
Love Chinese food? Then we have some good news for you...
...you can keep your bottles of unopened soy sauce for a very long time. What's more, even opened bottles will keep happily in the fridge for 2-3 years.
Don't stand for bland food - drizzle a bit of that 'old' soy sauce over your stir-fry.
Ever wondered how your curry gets its rich, buttery taste? The answer's Ghee.
Ghee is similar to butter, but with the milk solids strained out of it. This gives it a higher smoke point that lends itself to cooking.
Ghee can be kept much longer than butter - some people claim to keep it for up to 8 years in the fridge. Frozen, it can be kept forever.
If you've always fancied trying your own curries, Ghee is one of the staple products to invest with. Along with dried spices and tinned tomatoes, curries can easily become a go-to meal when you're all out of supplies and ideas.
13. Does sugar keep?
We really know we shouldn't but...
...we just can't do without our teaspoon of sugar in our morning coffee! Many of us try and limit our sugar intake, which means we can have bags hanging around for years.
Thankfully, this is ok - granulated sugar can be kept indefinitely, so you'll never have to worry about wasting it again.
TOP TIP: To keep your sugar from changing in appearance or texture, decant it into an airtight container once opened and keep in a dry, dark place.
14. When does powdered milk expire?
Powdered milk may not be the real deal, however, it does have a redeemable quality that liquid milk doesn't - you can keep it in your cupboard forever.
For those, 'just got back from holiday' days, or those, 'oops, forgot the milk' days, powdered milk can be extremely useful. Unopened powdered milk will last anywhere for 2-10 years, so it's definitely worth having on hand for emergency occasions.
Buy it in small packets to reduce waste.
15. Vanilla extract
Always liked the idea of baking but never quite seem to get round to it? Fortunately, most baking supplies will last a long time, so you won't have to worry about throwing out the old and buying the new each time you talk yourself into getting your apron on.
Vanilla extract, in particular, will never go bad thanks to its high alcoholic content. It is worth noting, however, that the alcohol may evaporate over time, leaving you with a more potent vanilla flavour.
Invest in a high-quality vanilla extract for all your baking needs, and you'll be able to keep it for years to come.
16. High-quality maple syrup
Last on our list of foods that never go off comes all the way from Canada.
That's right - providing you keep it in the freezer, maple syrup will keep forever. It will not freeze solid, but the cold temperatures will help preserve it for longer.
As maple syrup can be expensive, this is definitely music to our (and our pancakes') ears!
Who knew there were so many foods that don't go bad! Which one did you find most surprising?
Really useful information, so much we don’t know about food wasteage the manufacturers should do more with information thank you for your help.
You're welcome, William!
I have a shared tenant that throws away everything after it has been opened and sometimes before they've been opened just because they've been there a long time and your article will prove to him that not everything needs to be thrown out. I hate waste with all the poverty around but giving it to someone else after opening is unhygienic I suppose. I was brought up with a mum who grew up in the 2nd world war and she believed in not wasting anything and some has rubbed off on me. Something should be done with all the wastage.
We agree, Wendy! It's a shame to see so much go to waste, so we're pleased these tips might help your shared tenant to reduce their waste.
The one point about honey is if you microwave it you are almost pasteurizing it and if you have a good quality honey, you do not want to do that. I have eaten honey that has been in the cupboard eleven years with no ill effect. nice bit of information generally though for all the foods.
That's interesting! Thank you, Trevor.
Opened vinegar might not "go off", but it can still become contaminated by certain microbes. Most moulds and fungi. So if there are "strings" in your vinegar, I would get a new bottle.
Hi Kevin! The "strings" are called Mother of vinegar and they can appear in bottles if there is any non-fermented alcohol or sugar left. They aren't appetising but they are completely harmless. You could drain out the "strings" and the vinegar is still perfectly safe to consume! If they really put you off, you might want to get a new bottle of vinegar for your food, but we suggest keeping the old one for cleaning. It's really powerful stuff.
Do not put honey in a microwave!! In fact do not put anything in a microwave. Throw that awful, damaging thing out!
Why do you say that, Edith?
Why does bottled water have a date on it!
Hi Steve! This is because of the composition of the plastic bottle. The smell and taste may be altered having been stored in the plastic bottle for such a long time. If you want a bottle of water that will last for a long time (perfect for doomsday prep!), glass is much better.
Cornflour which I mainly use the sauce for my Christmas pudding and always buy a fresh packet if it has passed the date on the packet
Thanks for sharing, Laurie!
need my son-in-law to see this article, how do i share it please.
Hi Sheila! You can copy and paste the link and send the article via email, messaging app, or social media platform.
Alcohol is fine if it doesn't contain cream, like Baileys, this does go bad and give you food poisoning...... I know.... Xmas day.... That year was a blast!
Sounds awful! Thanks for reminding our readers. It should also be stored in the fridge once opened and consumed within one month.
I have always been told that tin items will never go “off”, unless they are damaged, is this not true?
Tin items can last a long time if stored properly and not damaged, but they can still deteriorate over time due to various factors such as corrosion, exposure to elements, and wear and tear. To preserve them, store them in a cool, dry place and keep them clean and dry to prevent corrosion.
That is great information,when i think of all the things ive thrown away ! brilliant advice, thank you xx
You're welcome, Lucy!
Thank you so much for the list, I knew that honey & sugar doesnt go off but the rest was surprising.
We're glad you found it helpful, Anne!
How long can you keep yogurt past it sell by date?
It could be safe for up to two weeks, but you will need to use your own judgement to see if it smells, looks or tastes funny.
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