In this brief guide, we will answer the question “What food never expires?”, and enlist the foods that are safe to consume indefinitely. We will also discuss whether food expiry dates really matter.
What food never expires?
The foods that never expire are listed below.
- Honey: Yes! Honey never expires. It has high acidity content and very low moisture content which is why bacteria can not survive in it. It has to be stored in an airtight container though so that it does not absorb any moisture.
Honey can crystallize overtime so when it does happen, run the jar under hot water. Hot water will make it soft and then you can use it.
- Sugar: Sugar also never expires given that it was properly stored in an airtight container away from moisture, air, light, and heat. White and brown sugar both can be used indefinitely. For long term storage, consider using a vacuum sealed container or bag for it.
- White rice: White rice can also be used indefinitely when it is stored in an airtight container away from heat, moisture and air. Brown rice on the other hand spoils in a couple of months because it has a high fat content and the fats tend to go rancid over time.
- Salt: Salt has been used as a preservative for many years as it has the capacity to remove moisture and dehydrate. It is not favorable for bacteria.
Important thing to keep in mind is that iodized salt has a reduced shelf life so it will not last as long but will still be good for a couple of years.
- Soy sauce: Soy sauce has a very high salt content and salt is a preservative so an unopened bottle of soy sauce will be good to use indefinitely. Opened bottle of soy sauce will also last for years but it is better if it is kept refrigerated.
- Pure maple syrup: Pure maple syrup does not favor the growth of bacteria so it can last indefinitely when unopened. Once opened, it should be kept in the fridge in an airtight container but even then, it will last for years.
- Pure vanilla extract: Vanilla extract also lasts indefinitely when it is pure due the presence of alcohol in it. Artificial vanilla extract has other ingredients in it besides alcohol so it does not last as long.
- Vinegar: Vinegar is highly acidic and is used as a preservative for food so it can last indefinitely.
- Dried beans: Dried beans may lose their texture or quality over time but they are safe to eat even after long periods of time.
- Powdered milk: When stored in an airtight container, powdered milk can last very long. It might not taste as good, but it will be safe to use. It can also be kept in the freezer to further extend its shelf life.
- Popcorn: Popcorn kernels can also last for a very long time but they should be kept in a cool and dry place.
Find out what other foods never expire here.
Do food expiry dates really matter?
Yes, food expiry dates really matter because they give you an idea about the time a product will retain its texture, taste, and nutritional value.
The ‘best before’, ‘sell by’, ‘use by’ dates are just provided by the manufacturer to give you an idea about the amount of time that a certain product will remain in its optimum condition.
After this time, the food may lose its texture or alter the taste but it necessarily does not get spoiled.
The food generally lasts longer if you store it properly and in the fridge. Lower temperatures arrest the growth of pathogens making the food safe to consume for longer periods of time.
Processed foods have preservatives added to them so they have a longer shelf life. They are even safe to consume weeks after their use by dates.
Be careful with perishable items. For example eggs and dairy products like milk tend to go bad quickly and can cause food poisoning so it is better to throw these things out after their expiry date.
Although a lot of food products are safe to consume after their expiry date, it is better to know around what time a certain product will start to go bad so expiry dates should not be ignored.
In this brief guide, we answered the question “What food never expires?”, and enlisted the foods that are safe to consume indefinitely. We also discussed whether food expiry dates really matter.