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

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

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

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.



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)

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



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

Replace baking powder and soda regularly for optimal potency.



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

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

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.

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


Looking for help organizing your kitchen?  Call Kathy at (616) 402-4871 or fill out a Consultation Request.

Source: Charles Kelsey, Cook’s Illustrated