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Meet the 4 Foods in Your Pantry that Almost Never Expire

Would you eat 3,000-year-old honey? ‘Cause you can.

Eating nutritiously is a hefty task in itself. Then you tack on the worry about fitting in all your daily fruits and veggies before they go bad so you A) don’t waste money, and B) don’t get food poisoning. Can’t a healthy-eating hopeful catch a break?

While some pantry staples, like milk or avocado, require a close watchful eye before they spoil or rot, others you can buy and forget about for, well, decades, and they’ll still be edible when you decide use them. Sound too good to be true? It’s not. Here are four foods that never or almost never expire.

1. Honey. You better bee-lieve it. According to National Geographic, archaeologists found pots of honey in a 3,000-year-old ancient Egyptian tomb—and it was still perfectly edible.

Honey’s buzzworthy shelf life is due to a combination of hydrogen peroxide (H202), acidity, and lack of water, which make a very inhospitable environment for bacterial growth.

2. White vinegar. Vinegar’s acidic nature makes it self-reserving, giving it a shelf life of, well, forever. White distilled vinegar remains virtually unchanged overtime. Other vinegars may have color changes or develop haze or sediment, but that change is purely aesthetic and shouldn’t affect taste.

Vinger’s wide-range of handy uses—you can use it to cook or clean—makes it an essential part of any pantry. You can even use its pickling power to preserve other foods, like veggies.

3. Salt. Salt Bae loves salt for a reason. Pure salt is sodium chloride (NaCI), an essential mineral for human and animal health. It comes straight from Mother Earth herself, often extracted from the sea or underground salt deposits. Pure sodium chloride has been around longer than all of us, so it will keep (unless it’s iodized salt, which only lasts for five years). Salt can be used to preserve other foods as well.

As important as salt is to human health, most of us actually get too much. A high-salt diet can affect your blood pressure and heart health, so aim to limit your intake to 2,300 mg per day.

4. Uncooked beans. When properly packaged in an airtight container and stored in a cool, dry place, uncooked beans can last up to 30 years, according to a Brigham Young University study. Researchers found that over the three decades the beans did lose a bit of their quality, but they were still safe to eat and their ability to contribute adequate nutrition remained stable. Time capsule taco party, anyone?

Three cheers for these everlasting eats.

Duration: 1:07. Last Updated On: May 10, 2018, 8:50 p.m.
Reviewed by: Preeti Parikh, MD . Review date: May 10, 2018
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