This Chart Shows You How Long Food Pantry Staples Last

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I just finished a purge of my kitchen — Spring Cleaning has commenced — and I was a little frustrated that so many of my pantry staples had expired.

It had me thinking — Exactly how long is food good in the pantry? What are some pantry staples that I can have on hand for emergencies that will last months or years?

Long Shelf Life Foods That You Can Keep In Your Pantry

  • Dried Fruit is great to have on hand for snacking and baking, but they last the least amount of time out of all your pantry staples. You can plan on storing them in a sealed, airtight container for up to a year.
  • Bouillon is a staple that is excellent for making soups and adding flavor to dishes. It will last 1-3 years in your pantry.
  • Dry Pasta is so versatile, and great for so many different dishes. You can keep dry pasta on hand for 1-3 years.
  • I can’t think of a snack that my husband loves more than Jerky. It is good in the cupboard for up to 3 years, and is perfect as a grab-and-go snack.
  • Oats, like oatmeal, is perfect as a breakfast, to bulk up meatloaf, and to make cookies. It will last up to 3 years in an airtight container in your pantry.
  • Oil, which obviously you need to fry things, will stay stable for up to 3 years before it goes rancid.
  • Tea will last in an airtight container up to 3 years.
  • Tomato Sauce, which you can use in just about every dish ever, will last for up to 3 years in the pantry.
  • Ramen Noodles, the staple of college kids everywhere, should keep its fresh flavor for 1-3 years.
  • Dark Chocolate, which is perfect for cookies or snacking, will last 1-3 years in an airtight container.
  • Jams and Jellies are good to have on hand, and will stay good for up to 3 years.
  • Canned Meat is great to use in a pinch for any recipe that calls for meat. You can keep it for up to 5 years.
  • Unopened Pickles, which we ALWAYS have in the pantry, will stay good for up to 5 years — Like the family will let them go that long without diving into the jar.
  • Most Spices will stay good for up to 5 years, and then they will start to lose their flavor.
  • Canned Fruit or Vegetables will stay good for 5-10 years, so you can stock up and keep them on hand.
  • Most Grains, like wheat, are shelf stable for up to 10 years.
  • Molasses tastes amazing, doesn’t it? It can stay, unopened, in your pantry for up to 10 years.
  • Instant Coffee, if kept airtight, can be kept for 10+ years.
  • Powdered Milk is so good to have on hand for emergencies. It might taste quite as good as milk, but you can substitute it in recipes. Powdered Milk will remain stable in your pantry for 10+ years.
  • Rice, which we have with just about EVERY meal, is an excellent food to keep on hand. It will remain good, in an airtight container, for 10+ years.

These things NEVER expire, and they are probably imperative to have in your pantry: Corn Starch, Dried Beans, Unopened Maple Syrup, Popcorn, Powdered Jello, Raw Honey, Soy Sauce (Unopened), Salt, Sugar, and Vanilla Extract.

You can get a set of really great Airtight Containers off the Amazon Website.


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