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It’s not often you can get away with forgetting about an item in your pantry or refrigerator without it expiring. So if you tend to purchase and forget as I do, you can rely on this list of common household items and foods that don’t expire or 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 stored properly in sealed, airtight containers).
But first, start your money and time savings by downloading The Krazy Coupon Lady app to find out where you can get these items at the cheapest prices. Your budget will like these coupons, too:
1. You can freeze pure maple syrup to prolong its shelf life.
If you’re looking for foods that don’t expire, pure maple syrup is near the top of that list. Unopened maple syrup can last for a very long time in cool, dry places. Pure maple syrup doesn’t actually freeze, and it won’t expire if you place it in the freezer.
Once opened, store your syrup in the fridge. It’ll still last more than a year.
Related: Want to find Kirkland syrup on sale? You may like our Costco deals.
2. If kept dry, cornstarch can be used 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.
3. Store tea in a cool, dark place and it will 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 with green tea, it’s recommended that you drink it within six months so you get the maximum benefit. But black tea stored under optimal conditions can last up to three years before it’s considered stale or expired.
High-quality tea can last even longer. 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. The more broken up the tea leaves get, the more oxygen they’re exposed to, which also exposes tea to unpleasant flavors.
4. Instant coffee that’s stored in the freezer won’t expire for decades.
When sealed tightly and put in the freezer, instant coffee can last up to 20 years before it expires. 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.
Instead of throwing out your old coffee grounds, use them in your garden.
Related: Save on beans and grounds with these latest coffee coupons.
5. Food coloring doesn’t expire, but the color may change.
Food coloring doesn’t really expire because it doesn’t contain raw ingredients. By law, it must have a labeled expiration date (like all food items do), but that doesn’t mean food coloring isn’t safe to consume beyond that date. So go ahead and use those back-of-the-cabinet food colors for your cookies, kid’s science experiment, or homemade play dough. Just keep in mind the color may be different and the consistency may have changed if you’ve had them for a while.
Related: We found all the genius baking hacks you’ll love.
6. Pure vanilla extract doesn’t go bad.
Does vanilla extract go bad? Not if it’s pure! Vanilla extract has to be pure for it to last infinitely. You will only get two to four years out of the imitation versions. To prevent vanilla extract from expiring too soon, store it away from light and heat, and don’t refrigerate or freeze it, even after opening.
7. Ghee butter won’t go bad if you keep it away from your stove.
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. Like some other foods that don’t expire, storing ghee properly in an airtight container is key. Sticking it in the freezer will help prolong its shelf life.
8. Vinegar of all kinds may taste different if kept for years, but it won’t expire.
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 if 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.
TIP: Don’t toss old vinegar! Learn these household cleaning tips and make your home sparkle.
9. Vodka and other hard liquors can be enjoyed for years.
Most hard liquors like tequila and whiskey, for example, have an indefinite shelf life. But manufacturers recommend you use them within a year or two of opening for the best quality.
Not cream liqueur, though! Baileys and other Irish creams have a 2-year guarantee but should be taste-tested before being served. To keep the nice crisp taste of cream liqueur, keep it chilled in the refrigerator.
Related: Check out these alcohol coupons before your next celebration.
10. Honey never expires and will last for centuries.
Honey is one of the well-known foods that doesn’t expire. It’s so stable that experts have found it still edible after being stored in tombs for thousands of years. If your jar has sat around for a while and started to crystallize, just warm it up and enjoy.
11. Bouillon cubes won’t expire for a decade if you put them in the freezer.
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.
Related: Refresh your supply of airtight containers with these latest storage deals.
12. Soy sauce has indefinite shelf life if kept unopened.
Unopened, this fermented condiment’s shelf life is indefinite if stored in a cool, dark area like a pantry. Since soy sauce is fermented and is high in sodium, it won’t go bad if left unopened. Even after opening, soy sauce won’t expire for about three years if kept in the fridge.
13. Powdered milk will never go bad when you keep it in the freezer.
According to the USDA, powdered milk can be stored indefinitely, and you can use it for baking or in your bread maker. Unlike other foods that don’t expire, oat milk, nut milks, and other dairy products like cow’s milk, butter, and yogurt do go bad. Keep your powdered milk in a cool place or the freezer to last forever.
14. Baking soda can be used for cleaning long after its expiration date.
Baking soda may lose its potency over time, making it no good 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!
15. Store dried beans in an airtight container for three years or more.
When talking about foods that don’t expire, dried beans always appear on the list.
Although we hear about them lasting forever, is it true that dried beans never go bad, like ever? When stored properly in an airtight container, dried beans can last more than three years, but they’re best eaten two to three years after drying. Once they pass that date, they may not be able to soften once soaked and may lose their vitamin benefits.
16. Freeze brown or white rice to extend its shelf life.
Kept dry in a storage container, white rice can last up to at least one year and brown rice, six months. To make rice last longer, place uncooked white or brown rice (in its original packaging) inside a zip bag or in vacuum-sealed bags, and then you can freeze it for up to two years. To defrost, just place the rice in the fridge or run the package under cold water.
Make sure no moisture gets into the container — this could cause gross and unhealthy bacteria growth.
17. Bottled water will outlast anything in your cupboard, despite the expiration date.
Manufacturers have to put expiration dates on food labels by law — even on foods that don’t expire. Bottled water is no exception to this rule. So if water doesn’t expire, why does it need a label? The dates are indicators of quality — not safety. Even if its appearance or taste changes, the FDA claims bottled water is still safe to drink despite the expiration date.
18. High-quality wines will last for years.
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 wine coupon to save even more.
As for champagne, expensive bottles can last five to 10 years, while non-vintage bottles last three to four years. Once opened, champagne goes bad after two to four days.
19. Sugar won’t expire as long as it’s protected from moisture.
As long as you keep white and brown 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 in a few marshmallows to keep them from clumping.
20. Spices and seasonings stored in cool, dark places won’t expire for years.
Seasonings and 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. Red spices like cayenne and paprika should be stored in the refrigerator — they’ll keep their flavor and color much longer that way.
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 about five years.
21. Vitamins are safe well beyond 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.
Related: Use these vitamin coupons before stocking up.
22. Buckwheat and other hard grains will last for 12 years or more.
Placed in airtight, sealed containers, hard grains like buckwheat, dry corn, Kamut, hard red wheat, soft white wheat, millet, durum wheat, and spelt have (at least) a 10- to 12-year shelf life before they expire.