It’s not often you can get away with forgetting about an item in your pantry or refrigerator without it spoiling. So, if you tend to purchase and forget as I do, you can rely on these items that almost never go bad.
Make a mental note that these items either won’t ever expire, or have a shelf-life of more than 10 years (when sealed in airtight containers).
But first, start your money and time savings by downloading the KCL app to find out where you can get these great items on sale daily.
1. Store tea in a dark, cool place and it’ll never go to waste.
Tea keeps when stored properly in dark, cool, sealed conditions, however, all teas will lose their flavor over time. If you’re drinking tea for its health benefits, like green tea, it’s recommended you drink it within six months.
It’s nice to note that loose-leaf teas have a greater chance of retaining their flavor over time than tea bags, due to the difference in leaf size.
2. Seal and freeze instant coffee for up to 20 years.
When sealed tightly and put in the freezer, instant coffee can last up to 20 years. Coffee beans last up to nine months, and ground coffee beans can last no more than a few months past their expiration date before they lose their flavor. Save on beans, grounds, and coffee delights.
3. Buy pure vanilla extract to use indefinitely.
Vanilla extract has to be pure for it to last infinitely. You will only get two to four years out of the imitation versions.
4. Avoid storing your jar of ghee next to the stove.
Olive oil and coconut oil may both be perishable, but ghee, known as clarified butter, can be used for an unlimited time as cooking oil provided the jar stays free of water and steam (hint: don’t store next to the stove).
5. Use balsamic vinegar and all other kinds of vinegar for years.
If the cap is sealed, all types of vinegar can be kept indefinitely, but when it comes to cooking, the acidic flavor may change over the years.
- Balsamic vinegar can last for unlimited periods, but it’s best to use it within three to four years.
- Apple cider vinegar is best used within five years of opening.
- Red and white wine is guaranteed two years, as is rice vinegar.
- White vinegar, on the other hand, can always be used for cooking or cleaning.
6. Enjoy your stash of vodka and other hard liquors for years.
Most hard liquors, tequila, and whiskey, for example, have an indefinite shelf life. However, manufacturers recommend you use them within a year or two of opening for the best quality.
Not cream liqueur though! Bailey’s and other Irish Creams have a two-year guarantee but should be taste-tested before served. To keep the nice crisp taste of cream liqueur, keep them chilled in the refrigerator.
7. Freeze pure maple syrup to prolong its shelf life.
Unopened maple syrup can last a very long time in cool, dry places. Although pure maple syrup doesn’t actually freeze, it can last forever in the freezer, and more than a year once opened and refrigerated.
8. Count on honey to last for centuries.
Honey is so stable, experts have found it still edible after being stored in tombs for thousands of years. Although you may not find centuries-old honey appetizing, if your jar has sat around for a while and started to crystallize just warm it up and enjoy.
9. Keep unopened soy sauce in the pantry; open in the fridge.
Unopened, this condiment’s shelf life is indefinite if stored in a cool, dark area like a pantry. Even after opening, soy sauce will stay in the fridge for about three years.
10. Refrigerate bouillon cubes in airtight containers.
A great substitute when making broths and soups, Bouillon cubes can keep for more than two years once opened. Store them in an airtight container in your fridge and they can keep for another 18 months. Unopened or frozen they could last for more than a decade, but by then you might find the flavor lacking!
11. Keep cornstarch dry to use it indefinitely.
Cornstarch is safe to use for an unlimited period if you keep it dry in a dark place, preferably a pantry. Make sure to always seal the lid and it should keep.
12. Store instant dry milk powder for an unlimited period.
According to the USDA, milk powder can be stored indefinitely and you can use it in baking, or in your bread maker. Unfortunately, oat milk and almond milk can expire, as can other dairy products like milk, butter, and yogurt.
13. Clean with baking soda even after losing its potency.
Baking soda may lose its potency over time for baking, but it’ll always work as a household cleaner. Its unopened shelf life is two years for baking purposes, and it lasts six months once opened. The good thing is baking soda is relatively inexpensive, so we can bake and clean away!
14. Store dried beans in an airtight container for three years or more.
When stored properly in an air-tight container, dried beans can last more than three years, and are best eaten two to three years after drying. Once they pass that date, they may not be able to soften once soaked.
15. Freeze brown or white rice to extend shelf life.
Kept dry, in a storage container white rice can last up to at least one year, brown rice, six months. Place white or brown rice in their original packaging inside a zip bag or in vacuum-sealed bags and freeze for up to two years.
16. Expect bottled water to outlast anything in your cupboard.
Even if its appearance or taste changes, the FDA claims bottled water is still safe to drink.
17. Buy high-quality wines for a longer shelf life.
Aging is usually a red wine game, but some Chardonnays can last two to seven years depending on the quality. Today, all cheaper wines are made to be immediately opened, so make sure to drink them within two to three years, and buy them with a coupon to save even more.
As for champagne, expensive bottles can last five to ten years, while non-vintage bottles last three to four years. Once opened, champagne goes bad after two to four days.
18. Protect sugar from moisture and it won’t go bad.
As long as you keep sugar away from water, it won’t go bad. With time the texture will change, and become a little stiff. To soften brown sugar, try breaking it apart or applying light heat. Store sugars in airtight containers and drop a few marshmallows in to keep it from clumping.
19. Store spices and seasonings in a cool, dark place for longer shelf life.
Seasonings and their spices don’t go bad, they just won’t flavor your food as well. The best place to store spices and seasonings is in a cool, dark place like a pantry. I make it a rule to replace my whole spices every four years, ground spices every three to four years, and leafy herbs every one to two years.
Salt, on the other hand, can last forever. But make sure to look for the non-iodized variety, or it’ll only last for more than five years.
20. Take vitamins well past their “best by” date.
Although multivitamins potency is reduced after two years, they still retain about 90% of their daily value! Something to keep in mind when making your next vitamin purchase.
21. Store buckwheat and other hard grains for 12 years or more.
Placed in airtight, sealed containers, buckwheat, dry corn, Kamut, hard red wheat, soft white wheat, millet, durum wheat, and spelt have (at least) a 10-12 year shelf life.