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10 Foods That Never Expire

The term staple foods is reserved for foods that have a long shelf life. These are the foods that are appropriate to give to shelters and homeless people because they rarely require cooking and it’s pretty hard to get sick from them. That being said, most of these staples food are not that good for you especially the ones that have a lot of sugar in them. There is a lot of bad food in this world so food that never expires may not be the worst thing that you can eat. But, it’s pretty crazy that society can ingest food that is popular because it can sit on shelves for years. What is that doing to our insides? so, now, maybe you are thinking; “well if the package says expired i’m not going to risk my life and eat it”. You are totally correct if something says expired you should really steer clear of it. However, if something says best before that means it may not be at its optimal taste but it is still completely safe to eat. Many people often mix up best before and expiration dates but there really is a huge difference. Many food companies are adamant about making food that can last on shelves for a longer time because in the long run it’s better for them. We have to admit a lot of that food is tasty and with society’s new obsession about healthier more natural foods we are beginning to realize that long shelf life does not necessarily equate to poor food quality. That doesn’t mean that you should stop reading labels though.

10. Sugar

Of course sugar never expires the most evil food in the world will hang in there haunting you from your cupboards for the rest of your life. Why doesn’t sugar expire? Well there is a super science-y explanation behind that one. It has everything to do with microorganisms and how long they can last on their own. This could be why sugar is in everything its just always around and readily available. Please know that once you mix sugar into anything it can now expire but on it’s own it will last a lifetime. Don’t mix this fact up with brown sugar, the way that brown sugar has to be processed leaves it open for dryness and the opportunity to clump together. We all know clumped together is the most annoying thing ever. This never happens with white sugar and that is leaving us suspicious. We will admit that it’s pretty handy that sugar never expires at least we know something will always be there for us. Albeit a fattening food item but, beggars can’t be choosers.  

9. Instant Coffee

The smell of Instant Coffee is quite amazing. There are not many things that can instantly perk you up after just one smell. Fresh ground coffee is always the best but instant coffee is a good buffer when that isn’t available. Fresh ground coffee never keeps its freshness after a while it doesn’t taste the same and  it’s not as strong. According to, coffee doesn’t expire in a typical way. “In most cases coffee doesn’t go bad in a way that it’s spoiled and you can get sick after drinking a cup brewed with it. It will, however, lose its taste over time and after a certain period of time the coffee will start to taste stale or tasteless.”. When it comes to instant coffee, it can stick around for a pretty long time. “When it comes to instant coffee, it stays fine for years, so if it was stored properly even for a couple of years, it will probably still be tasty”. In some cases when it is stored while still at its best it can last indefinitely. That being said, if you are worried that your coffee has gone bad some things to look out for are mold in the container it is sealed in. but, it takes a lot for coffee to grow mold.

8. Powdered Milk

So let’s be clear like everything else on this list powdered milk can go bad. Powdered milk also known as dried milk is chalked full of preservatives that keep it useable for years upon years.manufacturers recommend that you use powdered milk within 18 months this is usually how long the best before date lasts. But the USDA has confirmed that powdered milk can be stored indefinitely. The website says, “An unopened package is probably still usable for 2 to 10 years after the printed “best by” date. Some survival stores sell nonfat dry powdered milk labeled with a 25-year shelf life.”. Apparently, the shelf life depends on the type of powdered milk; nonfat, whole or buttermilk. Like everything else, the storage life of this product depends on how it’s stored, what type of milk it is and what it is stored in. some people recommend using mason jars for a tight seal that cannot break unless broken. Another way powdered milk can last even longer is by freezing it. Usually things that are frozen are automatically in preservation mode and powdered milk is no different. If you choose not to freeze it or preserve it correctly start looking out for signs of it going bad. This will still take many years. But if you know you have a package of powdered milk in your cupboard that has been there for years there are things to look out for. Yellow discoloration, a bad odor, if it looks as though it’s clumpy it could mean that moisture got in there somehow. It’s best to throw it out at that point. You don’t want to risk a hurt stomach and anything that goes along with drinking spoiled powdered milk.

7. Soy Sauce

I always ask my mom when she is going to throw out that soy sauce in her cupboards. It looks like the same soy sauce she was using when we were kids. The lid is a mess, the contents of the bottle have spilled out onto the side of the lid leaving that disgusting ring of now sticky soy sauce on the edges. The bottle itself looks old yet, the contents of the bottle are damn near perfect, how is this possible? What kind of sorcery is this? The crazy part is, it tastes the same as the day we got it. After some research, a light bulb went off and it turns out soy sauce is yet another one of those staple items that will not expire. Like many seasonings and sauces, soy has Acid-hydrolyzed vegetable protein. This veggie protein also contributes to long-lasting shelf life. People in the Asian culture have never really had to worry about their soy sauce going bad because traditional soy sauce only has 4 ingredients; water, salt, soybeans and wheat and normally only enough is made for whatever it is being used for. Our question is; if it is only 4 ingredients why aren’t we all making it fresh instead of ingesting the one with a lot of chemicals to expand its shelf life?

6. Popcorn Kernels

According to Eat By Date, popcorn kernels are one of those foods that can just sit on a shelf and wait patiently for someone to feel like cooking them up. This is not only amazing it’s comforting. Seeing as popcorn is actually a pretty healthy snack before being loaded up with butter and all sorts of random stuff for flavor. It is 100% whole grain and you can eat like 6 cups worth in one sitting. This makes me wonder if there is something called the popcorn diet. Maybe I should be the ones to create it. Unpopped and properly stored kernels will last indefinitely. Microwave popcorn coated in all that coagulated melted butter will last a good 6-8 months. And popped popcorn will last a solid 3 weeks. All of this sounds like a pretty good deal to us. Think about it, if you were homeless and you popped some popcorn somewhere that thing will last 3 weeks on your person. That being said, here are some sign that could indicate that your microwave popcorn has gone bad. If when you remove the cellophane wrapping there is a weird smell, that means the butter and oils coating the kernels have gone bad. If you pop kernels and A LOT of them don’t pop it is not at it’s best.

5. Red Wine

Yes, that’s right your beloved red, red wineeee can last for hundreds of years. As long as it is of good quality and it is stored correctly. What is considered a good quality wine? on the package, look for information about where the wine was made or how long the fruits aged for. If that isn’t enough for you, look for stamps of approval like awards and glowing reviews; when you get as far as opening the bottle, smell it. If you can smell particular flavors and you can taste hints of those flavors you are good to go. But, of course, one of the best indicators is the year the batch was made. If you look up the region it was made in and the weather during that time it is usually a good indicator that this wine has legs. Even if you happen to pick up a fairly cheap bottle of wine it does not indicate that it will expire soon. According to Can It Go Bad. “When the wine is opened, you should keep it in the fridge. Before that, storing it in a cool and dark place, like in the pantry, is recommended. After opening the wine you should remember that it should be always sealed tightly. To do that, you can use the original cork (they do not always want to fit). A stopper or a plastic wrap and a rubber band. Just make sure it’s tightly sealed.”. So, now that we have that out of the way we should mention that some wines are actually made to go bad. “You know that wine can go bad. How to tell if it is bad? It’s fairly simple. You need to examine its looks, smell and taste. If it has changed its color, or it has developed off odor, it’s bad and you should throw it out. If it doesn’t taste as a normal wine does, discard it either. The main rule you should follow is that it’s always better to be safe than sorry.”. These wines are normally sparkling wines or really cheap wines.

4. Canola Oil

At one time there was a huge controversy over canola oil people were confused about how bad it was for you. The oil is vegetable-based and from Canada. Yet, it’s hard to find out exactly which vegetable is being used. This sounds like a product that would enjoy a long shelf life. Don’t get it twisted though not every oil has an indefinite shelf life. But, now that canola oil has received a clean bill of health many people are flocking to it. Not only because of that healthy check mark but because they can use it confidently 3 years down the road and then some. According to Eat This, Not That, “It can last up to two years in a cool, dry place and for an indefinite amount if stored in the fridge.”. This apparently goes for the oils in spray cans as well. They are even more preserved than the ones in the jug. According to the Huffington Post, canola oil is found in so many things we eat on a regular basis like meat. Once the teeny tiny seeds are pressed the shells that are remaining are mixed in with livestock feed. So even if you are actively trying to avoid this oil it may be harder than you though to keep it out of your diet.

3. Spam

One might assume that canned meat would be the first kind of meat to go bad. Come on people, it’s in a can. There has been the controversy around canned meat since before I was born. People just don’t believe that anything in a can be healthy. So let’s take a look at why people believe Spam can go bad. As we said, it’s in a can. Second, it’s meat. We all know that once meat is processed it needs to be eaten in a certain amount of time. There is an assumption that because Spam is in a can and looks like it has been minced to paste that it is cooked. This is where we all get it wrong. Spam has been preserved like a boss in that can. No, seriously, it sits in a salt brine that keeps it as fresh as a salt brine can keep anything. So essentially it is ready to eat from the can no season or anything else is really required. Eat By Date has given unopened cans of any kind of meat (chicken, fish, tuna etc) a shelf life of 2-5 years after the best before date. However, many people have admitted to eating their long lost can of Spam well after that. According to Spam is fine to eat after that 5-year mark the only difference is the taste might be dull. Dull meat over no meat? Guess we’re trying dull meat for the first time.

2. Dry Beans

Beans should be a staple in everyone’s diet they are high in protein and filling. Most people avoid beans because they don’t know how to cook them. Or, they think they take too long to cook and to be honest canned beans are way easier to deal with. Toss them in a pot and stir for a few minutes. Then add them to just about anything. Dry beans need to be boiled for a certain amount of time. Depending on the bean it’s best to start overnight. But the upside is they will last a very, very, very long time in your cupboard until you have the time to cook them. This has everything to do with the fact that they are dried. So, as long as you store them correctly and don’t allow any moisture into their package than everything should be fine. If you really are not a fan of dried beans than by all means get yourself some canned beans they too can last a pretty long time in your cupboard. Canned beans can safely last for a year in your cupboard afterward they are still edible but tread lightly every once in a while you come across a can after a year and well, let’s just say the smell that comes out of it after you open it is not the greatest. If you don’t finish an opened can of beans think about putting them in the freezer. You can get another year out of canned beans that have been frozen.

1. White Vinegar

White Vinegar isn’t something that many people think of as a staple what do you need white vinegar for? A lot actually. It can be used to pickle fruits and vegetables and clean meat before cooking. And it is actually pretty popular when you are making your own sauces and marinades. Think about it, if vinegar is good for all these things it makes sense that it has a long shelf life. According to Eat This, Not That, it’s self-preserving. “It’s basically self-preserving and its shelf life is essentially indefinite”. There is even a vinegar institute that provides information and research on the latest that is going on with this food. There are a number of health benefits that also go along with white vinegar. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that brown or malt vinegar is the same. They too are somewhat self-preserving but there are way more ingredients that go into it. Hence the color and the more potent taste. The acidic nature of this product also means that it does not require refrigeration. Vinegar is just a staple unchanging food. 

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