Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Pantry Staples that LAST for Years!!!

I know we have talked about this before - but we have new folks following and we also all need reminders now and then.
There are many, many items that you can stock - that virtually last for years and years (or forever), especially if properly stored.

Before I start that - I want to reiterate something that is a huge pet peeve to me.  There are NO expiration dates!!!!! (Only on baby formula).  The dates are "BEST if used by" dates.  That means optimal flavor if used by that date - but does not mean bad or expired!
The stuff in those packages and cans is inanimate and doesn't know the date!!!  LOL  It doesn't magically go bad.
The dates are not mandated by any government - they are applied by the manufacturer - to get you to buy more!!!!!  DO NOT throw away food! 
If I get people to learn anything - this is the one thing I hope it is.  People are so incredibly wasteful - and it is pitiful. 
If stored properly and not dented or rusting - canned foods and dried foods can last for years PAST those dates!!!!   STOP wasting perfectly good food!!!!

I have to say this drives me CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I know - short trip!)  This is my biggest pet peeve ever!

Consumables that last years:

HONEY - never goes bad.  If crystalized - just heat it up.  Honey that is thousands of years old has been found and it is good.  It is also basically the perfect food - it has so many healthy properties

SOY SAUCE - lasts indefinitely on the shelf unopened and will last over 3 years opened and refrigerated

Usually have a best date 2 years out - but they are still 90% effective way after that

Will outlast about everything in your pantry.  It may change in taste (because of container), but it is still perfectly fine to drink according to FDA

It may lose it's potency over time - but it is still usable as a cleaner, deodorant, toothpaste, etc.

SUGAR - white and brown - last for years.  It may get hard - but it can be broken up and used.  Add a few marshmallows to brown sugar container to help keep it soft.  Keep dry and in an airtight containers

Last years and years

Lasts basically forever.  Coffee beans and regular brew coffee will lose flavor over time - but instant can last for years.  Always keep some on hand for an emergency if you are a coffee fanatic!

USDA says that if properly stored that it will last indefinitely.

Will last years and years.  Yes, the older they get - the longer you have to cook them.  But they are still edible.  You can even grind the dry beans and add water to rehydrate - like refried beans.  Beans are wonderful protein.

All types of vinegar last for years.  White vinegar is basically a forever item.

(Clarified butter) is shelf stable and can be used instead of butter and for cooking oil.  Lasts for years
It is pricey to buy - but you can even make it yourself.  Great shelf stable alternative for butter.

SALT - Lasts forever - remember it took millions of years to form!!!  Keep non-iodized salt - as it lasts and can be used for everything

Can be kept indefinitely if sealed and dry.

Lasts forever.  I know a lot people aren't drinkers - but it is good for other things than drinking.  You can make pure vanilla extract from hard liquor (look at what you buy - it has alcohol).  It is antiseptic as well.  It is a useful item for barter.

PURE VANILLA EXTRACT - same as above.  It will last forever.

RICE - white rice if kept sealed and dry lasts for many years.  Brown rice can go rancid from the oils in it (so if you want to keep for a long time - freeze)

I realize that all the items listed above have "best by" dates on them - they mean nothing.  These items have been proven to last for years and years.

As we are all looking to add to pantries and look to be prepared for about anything that may happen - these are items that you want to have on hand.
Take time to do research - keep glass jars for storage and keep food grade buckets for food stuffs. 
Someday you may be hungry and these items could sure come in handy.



  1. Thanks for the tips. I didn't know that dried milk was still good. I know I have some past the expiration date, and I thought it went bad.

    1. Most dry milk is non-fat - that means it will last. Nothing to go rancid!

    2. Do you have any experience with powdered buttermilk? If not familiar, it’s usually in the baking isle and is used in bread and pancakes.

    3. Yes mam - I always keep it on hand. I use it in anything that calls for buttermilk and I love it in pancakes and biscuits.
      I have powdered buttermilk that I have had for a very long time. It lasts and stores well.

  2. What a great reminder, Cheryl. I'm with you on wasting food...don't do it.

    1. Thanks - it just drives me crazy how wasteful people are.

  3. Good suggestions! I have to laugh because a carton of milk, with a best before date of July 1 was finished on July 17th. We do drink skim milk so low fat may be the reason it lasted so long. But I refuse to buy smaller cartons, they're ridiculously priced in comparison.

    Take care and stay well!

    1. I do the same thing with milk - I think the one I am finishing in the frig was dated at least 2 weeks ago. I drink 2%.
      Mine always gets finished well after the date.

  4. I agree with you on dates on most things. We did however recently have a couple boxes of Teddy Grahams snacks that were past their date by just a couple months and never been opened. They had been donated at the beginning of the school year and we opened them like in February. Oh man did they smell awful and tasted awful ( I tried one just to see). So yes some things like chips and snacks can go stale & rancid. But most staples & pantry items are still ok for a long time. Oh almost forgot I had a can of French’s French fried onions go rancid as well that had never been opened and stored properly...never forgot that taste & smell either. Yuck! ....Vicky in Ky

    1. I guess anything with a lot of oils can go back. Really on the French's onions? I opened my last bag a year after dated and it was fine. It took a while to eat as well.
      Most part - things last - oily items need to keep watch of.

  5. Great information, Cheryl. I have shared this information with my family and friends. Thank you

    1. Thanks. Glad you shared it too. Hopefully it helps someone.

  6. I need to get some dry milk stored but not until we move!

    1. It is always nice to have around. Great for cooking and emergencies.

  7. Cheryl, I love this post. I have two questions please. How would you store powdered milk long term (open and vacuum seal in a jar or??)
    Also, I do not fry a lot of foods and my solid Crisco has went rancid before I used it all. I read somewhere that you can melt it and repackage it in jars and the heat will seal it. Do you think this is wise or do you know a way that I could store crisco? I trust your opinion. Thanks so much, Cindy Jane

    1. Hi Cindy. If keeping dry milk really long term - I would vacuum seal or put in Mylar bags. I have used some that was 2 years past best date and it was still in the original package (and was fine). I think if you could vacuum seal either in jars or in bags I would for longer term storage.

      You could keep your Crisco in the frig. That is what I have done in the past. I doubt there is a "safe" recommendation for 'canning' Crisco. Most experts say do not try to can grease/oil. I don't know if you could do that with a pressure canner or not - I am not well versed in pressure canning. I do know there are people who 'can' butter and say it is wonderful even though that isn't recommended.
      I will see if I can find anything on that for you and perhaps some of our readers might know.
      Thank you so much for asking and reading!

    2. Thank you so much Cheryl. "Put the Crisco in the fridge" .... what didn't I think of that. I do believe that would help.
      Thank you so much.

    3. You are welcome. That has worked for me for many years!

  8. Taking your recommendation, DH insisted we start stocking up, so last evening we stocked up on pasta, canned fruits, beans, tomato products, rice, shelf-stable and dried milks, TP. I have yeast coming from Amazon. I have a bucket of palm shortening and will get another. Also have 12# of butter in the freezer. My pantry is cool. I need to cover the window to keep it darker. I'm getting ready for the next round.

    1. Good for you both!!! Smart move for sure. I am happy people are paying attention and preparing for whatever!
      My pantry is cool as well (it sits over a basement stair well) and it is dark. Kind of like a second frig! LOL (not quite that cool).
      Good job!!!

  9. Terrific post Cheryl, truly helpful information and much appreciated.

  10. This is also one of my pet peeves. Thanks for telling everyone.

  11. All good information here! We keep powdered buttermilk and powdered goat milk. The Urban Farmer believes in being prepared so we keep a good supply of pantry staples at all times.