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Looking to stock your pantry with food that will actually last for months to come? Stockpiling your pantry with foods and ingredients that defy the withering tick-tock of expiration dates is always a smart idea. Here are 12 ingredients that blend convenience, sustainability, and good nutrition with insane shelf life.
Rice is a must-have pantry staple and a super versatile food to cook. It is easy to cook and an excellent source of carbohydrates, making it a viable option for emergencies or when you need a long-lasting food supply. When stored properly in a cool, dry place, rice can last well up to a decade.
2. Dried Pasta
When kept in a sealed container and stored in a cool, dry place, pasta can last up to two years or more, making it a convenient, cost-effective, and delicious option. Pasta is incredibly versatile and can serve as an easy and quick meal option. Moreover, you can use dried pasta well beyond its expiration dates if they don’t smell funny (no rancid odor).
Like rice and pasta, commercially processed uncooked oats can last 1 to 2 years. Thanks to their low moisture content and natural antioxidants that inhibit spoilage. When kept in a sealed container in a cool and dry place, oats can keep their nutrients, such as fiber, protein, iron, etc., throughout their storage years. This is true for a wide range of rolled or steel-cut oats. They are immensely versatile, as you can make nutritious foods such as baked goods, granola, and oatmeal.
4. Canned Tomatoes
Canned tomatoes are reliable and versatile staple ingredients for delicious home-cooked meals. Picked at their peak ripeness, tomatoes are heated quickly to kill bacteria and pathogens and sealed in an airtight container. Thanks to this processing, canned tomatoes can last 18 to 24 months. What is more impressive is they can maintain their flavor and nutritional value, even after weeks beyond their expiration data, so long as the can is undamaged and has no signs of spoilage.
5. Canned Beans
As with most canned foods, canned beans can be kept for years. Thanks to their low moisture content and acidity, they can last from 2 to 5 years. This makes canned beans a convenient, reliable, and versatile source of fiber and plant-based protein. Beans can be easily incorporated into various dishes, from burritos to salads and soups. When choosing canned beans to keep for your pantry, avoid those with bulging, dented, leaking, and rusty cans.
6. Dried Herbs and Spices
Another incredibly valuable staple for any pantry is dried herbs and spices. Their preservation process rids them of moisture through a thorough drying process. When stored in a cool, dry place, inside airtight containers, and away from light and heat, these ingredients can keep their flavor and potency for several months or even a few years. Whole spices and dried herbs like leaves and flowers, as well as whole chili peppers, can be stored for up to 24 months. Seeds and roots can be kept for up to 3 years. While herb leaves and ground spices can last for one year.
7. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter, especially commercially produced peanut butter, is low in moisture and high in natural oils and fats. Depending on the manufacturer, this allows them to last up to 2 years. They are excellent protein and healthy fats sources, making them a convenient and nutritious ingredient for sandwiches, smoothies, etc.
With low water and high sugar and acidity, honey doesn’t allow bacteria to grow. It doesn’t even have an expiration date and will last indefinitely. It should be kept in a cool and dry place inside a sealed container.
9. Canned Vegetables
Another healthy pantry staple is canned vegetables. They are picked at their peak and heated at high temperatures to sterilize them and kill the bacteria that can cause them to spoil. Then, they are sealed in airtight containers (cans), They can last 18 to 24 months. Some can even last for up to 5 years.
10. Canned Tuna
Properly stored, an unopened can of tuna can stay at its best quality for 3 to 5 years, and sometimes, even beyond that. Tuna used for canning undergoes an intense sterilization process to kill bacteria, and like other canned food, the cans used for the canning process are airtight containers, making storage easy and convenient.
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This originally appeared on The Gracious Pantry.