Ever wonder how long kitchen staples will last? “Cook’s Illustrated” lists how long you should store your cooking essentials before tossing them.

e4d_spicesSpices & Dried Herbs:

Shelf Life
Whole Spices: Two Years
Fround Spices and Dried Herbs: One Year

Tips:
Purchase spices whole, rather than ground, and grind prior to use.  Grinding releases the compounds that give a spice flavor and aroma.

Heat, light, and moisture shorten the shelf life of spices and herbs.

e4d_oilOils & Vinegars:

Oil Shelf Life
Unopened: One Year
Open: Three Months

Vinegar Shelf Life: Long Lasting

Tip:
Although temping to display that decorative bottle of oil on your countertop, it is best to store it within a dark pantry or cupboard.  Strong sunlight will oxidize the chlorophyll in the oil, which produces stale flavors.

Store in the Pantry:
Olive
Canola
Corn
Peanut
Vegetable
Store in the Fridge:
Sesame
Walnut

soysauceSoy Sauce:

Shelf Life: One Year

Tips:
Pasteurized soy sauce can be stored within the pantry, rather than the fridge.  Unpasteurized should be stored in the fridge to avoid a fishy flavor.

e4d_sugarhoneySweeteners:

Shelf Life
Granulated Sugar, Honey, and Molasses: Long-Lasting
(Molasses & Honey in the pantry)
Maple Syrup: Two years unopened, One year opened.
(Unopened in the pantry, opened in the fridge)

Tip:
Store granulated sugar in an airtight container to protect from heat, moisture, and pests.

e4d_breadLeaveners:

Shelf Life
Baking Powder and Baking Soda: Six Months
Instant or Active Dry Yeast: Four Months (in freezer)

 Tip:
Replace baking powder and soda regularly for optimal potency.

e4d_flourFlour:

Shelf Life
All Purpose Flour: One Year
Whole-Wheat Flour and Cornmeal: One year (in freezer)

Tips:
Do not leave whole-wheat flour or cornmeal in the pantry, as their natural oils will go rancid in as little as three months.

Transfer all-purpose flour to an airtight container to protect it from humidity.

chocolateChocolate & Vanilla:

Chocolate Shelf Life:
Unsweetened and Dark Chocolate: Two Years
Milk and White Chocolate: Six Months

Vanilla Shelf Life: Long Lasting

Tips:
Wrap open bars of chocolate tightly in plastic and store in a cool pantry.

Do not store chocolate in the fridge or freezer, as cocoa butter absorbs flavors from surrounding foods.

Keep Vanilla tightly sealed, away from heat and light.

e4d_dairyDairy Products:

Shelf Life:
Butter: Refridgerator – one month, Freezer – Four Months
(Ziplock bag in the freezer)
Eggs: Check the freshness date, as eggs may have already been stored for two months by the end of the sell date.

Tip:
Keep butter refrigerated in its original wrapper. The foil laminated paper helps prevent spoilage from exposure to light and air

 

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Source: Charles Kelsey, Cook’s Illustrated