These foods can be kept for years, sometimes forever
Best-before dates: who needs them? Many people don’t really understand the information listed on food and as a result, we often throw away lots of products, despite the fact that they can still be consumed long after their expiry date! Keep reading for a list of foods that you can actually keep for years.
Food that has no expiry date
You can keep vanilla extract forever, just like vanilla pods which also have a long shelf life.
If you want to remove some of the vanilla pulp, you can then store the rest of the pod in an airtight container until you are ready to use it.
Just because you’ve used the pulp, that doesn’t mean you have to throw away the rest of the vanilla pod. You can boil it in milk or fruit juice so that the liquid takes on the aroma and flavour.
Honey does have a limited shelf life
but it is significantly longer than most other foods. This is due to the high sugar content and low presence of water.
However, the rule does apply that the longer you keep honey for, the more it loses its positive properties.
You won’t find a best-before date on sugar packaging because sugar doesn’t really go bad.
This is because it immediately removes all water and moisture from bacteria and mould, just like salt.
As a result, both foods are also used as preservatives.
In theory, maple syrup does have an expiration date
But this can be extended. If you store the syrup in the fridge, you can exceed the best-before date by quite a lot.
Another ingenious trick involves pouring maple syrup into an ice cube tray and then freezing the golden yellowy syrup. This way, it can easily be defrosted as needed.
Dried lentils and legumes can be stored for at least one year.
If you store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, they can be used long past their best-before date.
Once again, this shows just how important it is to store food correctly.
Spices have a very long, if not unlimited, shelf life.
However, air and light exposure can reduce their aroma, especially that of ground spices.
This means that storing these spices correctly is crucial. They have to be stored individually in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Then, nothing will stand in the way of their long shelf life.
Whisky also has a practically infinite shelf life
as long as it is unopened and stored in a cool, dark place. Once opened, it should be drunk within a year in order to make the most of the full taste. It would last for 24 months, but will lose some of the taste and alcohol content.
Apart from iodised table salt, salts last forever because they are inorganic compounds.
Usually, gourmet salts such as sea salt, rock salt and vacuum salt are not fortified with iodine.
Coffee can also be stored for years and if it is stored dry, it will not go mouldy.
However, coffee will lose some of its flavour and aroma due to the natural oxidation process. Ground coffee should therefore be used within two weeks of opening it. Coffee beans on the other hand can last up to eight weeks because they don’t have as much surface area for the oxygen to react with.
Canned food has an almost unlimited shelf life.
As long as the cans are stored in a cool, dark place, even fish and meat won’t spoil. Of course, the taste and consistency of preserved food will change after being stored for years.
If corn starch is tightly sealed and stored in a cool place,
it will never spoil on its own.
When stored correctly (in a dark place between 12 and 20 degrees celsius), chocolate can also last for years.
Semi and dark chocolate will last for at least two years
Milk chocolate will last a year and a half
White chocolate will last around a year
Consuming chocolate after its best-before date is also possible if it has been stored correctly and only the taste will be slightly different.
If the chocolate turns white, this is a sign that it is being incorrectly stored. If the temperature is too high, the fat in the cocoa butter crystallises, forming this layer - but the white coating is not harmful.
Rice should be stored in airtight packaging in a cool, dark place.
However, the temperature that it is stored at has little effect on the rice, since the grains actually like the natural temperature fluctuations.
If these conditions are met, you can:
Store uncooked white rice for about two years
Store whole grain rice for a year
If the rice is infested with food moths despite being stored correctly, you will need to dispose of it.
If stored correctly, packaged wheat pasta will last forever and should be kept in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
Fresh pasta is different however. If you don’t want to eat it straight away, you should first let the pasta dry out completely before storing them in a dry, dark place where they can last forever.
You should keep pasta leftovers on the top shelf in the fridge and separate from the sauce. If you put these leftovers in the fridge immediately after they have cooled, you can store them for at least three days.