Your pantry could use a New Year’s cleaning. Here are 4 items you should consider throwing out.
There are pantry staples that we rarely consider throwing out, things like flours, teas, coffee beans, vinegars and oils. However, these things all have expiration dates and may need to be discarded before they run out. Just because you haven’t used that giant jar of natural peanut butter doesn’t mean it’s still good.
Lisa Ruff, director of the organizational company Neat Method, told Huffington Post that pantries should be cleaned thoroughly at least twice a year. “Pull everything out. You never know what may be hidden in the back of a shelf. Then look at the expiration dates and compost anything that’s expired,” she said.
It’s not easy being told that all grains should be periodically inspected since they can be infected with moths, and that they should be removed from their original container and transferred into someplace airtight if you hope to keep them stuffed in the dark for over a year.
Here are some items you should inspect before the end of the year and what you can do to extend their shelf life for as long as possible:
Flours have a super long shelf life, and can last over two years when properly cared for. The catch is that most of the time they get spoiled due to contamination, making them taste and smell awful. What a way to ruin some cupcakes.
In order to extend the shelf life of your flours, store them in a cool and dry place and transfer them to an airtight container. Write down their expiration date so you can keep an eye on them. Add a bay leaf to the package if you’re feeling particularly crafty, thus repelling insects and other types of pests.
As with flour, store your teas in a dry place, away from direct sunlight. You can also transfer them to an airtight container, preventing contamination and ensuring they receive as little air as possible. Try to stock up on small amounts of tea, that way you’re forced to switch them out periodically.
There’s a wide variety of oils, with large parts of them having a long shelf life for over a year. But many oils that are popular nowadays, like sesame, avocado and grape seed, have shorter shelf lives. Keep them in a visible area and taste and smell them before using, especially once you’ve had them for some months.
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Canned foods are what people eat during the apocalypse, meaning that they have the longest shelf life of all. Still, they still get spoiled. High acidity canned goods, like tomatoes, jams and fruits, last 18 months. Low acidity foods can last for longer periods of time, up to five years when properly stored.