Never Throw Away These Long-Lasting Foods Ever Again

Some foods expire after just a few days. But others? Well, they can last a lot longer. In fact, some foods can pretty much last a lifetime. So, which foods should you toss based on their expiration dates, and which should you keep? We’ve got some ideas you’ll want to keep in mind.

The next time you decide to purge your pantry, you can skip over these long-lasting foods with a surprisingly long shelf life.

1. Honey

honey in a black jar

Honey will stand the test of time. | iStock.com/yasuhiroamano

This may not come as a total surprise, seeing as honey tends to top most forever-edible food lists. But do you know why? Turns out, the staying-power of this sticky substance can be attributed to its combination of acidity, hydrogen peroxide, and a lack of water.

Furthermore, not only does honey keep for years, but it remains in its edible form, ready to eat immediately. In fact, you could even “dip into a thousand year old jar of honey and enjoy it, without preparation, as if it were a day old,” Smithsonian.com says.

2. Rice

Bowl of steamed white rice

White rice can last for decades. | vlad_karavaev/iStock/Getty Images

While brown rice has a much shorter shelf life, white, or polished, rice can last up to 30 years, maybe even longer. As long as it’s stored in an oxygen-free container with no possibility of insects and other contaminants getting to it, white rice can last indefinitely. (And if you are interested in stockpiling rice for the next several decades, be sure to keep it in a temperate environment.)

3. Cornstarch

cornstarch

This pantry staple won’t go bad. | vikif/iStock/Getty Images

While cornstarch may not be the most appetizing food on the list, it certainly deserves a spot. Used mostly as a thickening agent, cornstarch is a kitchen pantry staple, a staple that will not soon spoil. In fact, the only way that this ingredient will go bad is if it gets wet.

4. Sugar

Granulated sugar in spoon and sugar pile on wooden

Sugar should be stored in an airtight container. | iStock.com/chokja

Another baking product that will never spoil? Sugar. You may be wondering how this could be, considering the rock-hard block of sugar you’ve had sitting in your pantry for years. But here’s the thing: While keeping sugar from turning into a hardened substance can be a challenge, that doesn’t mean it’s gone bad.

So, rest assured that sugar’s shelf life is long-lasting, and basically indefinite, so long as it’s stored in an airtight container. (Just make sure you go easy on the stuff.)

5. Powdered milk

Powdered milk

Powdered milk has a shelf life of up to 25 years. | DimaSobko/iStock/Getty Images

While you’d never dare drink refrigerated milk past its expiration date, powdered milk is a different story. It can be stored indefinitely, and can have a shelf life of up to 25 years. Whether or not you like the powdered variety, one thing’s for sure: Saving up on all that milk equates to a whole lot of cereal eating.

6. Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar in a bottle

Vinegar’s acidic nature helps to preserve it. | iStock.com/YelenaYemchuk

According to The Vinegar Institute, vinegar has a shelf life that’s almost indefinite. “Because of its acid nature, vinegar is self-preserving and does not need refrigeration,” the organization says. “White distilled vinegar will remain virtually unchanged over an extended period of time.” And that’s good news, because vinegar can come in quite handy around the house.

7. Salt

salt cellar and spilled salt

You probably won’t find an expiration date on your salt. | Sebalos/iStock/Getty Images

Everyone eats salt. Whether your intake is in limited or overwhelming amounts, you’ll be glad to know that this tabletop staple never goes bad. You won’t find an expiration date on it, either, so don’t bother searching. And it’s more than OK to use it well after the “best by” date.

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