All The Pantry Staples You Need To Check And Throw Out This Year

Take inventory so you don't end up with bad food.

Having a well-stocked kitchen is one of the best ways to ensure that you're going to be able to cook well. Taking a good inventory of what you have regularly is great practice to ensure that you never run out of anything that you particularly love eating on a daily basis. Running out of, say rice, for any meal is just not acceptable when the adobo or sinigang na baboy is already cooked and ready to serve. 

However, keeping stock of what you do have is just as important as knowing when to toss out ingredients when you're doing your regular supermarket run. This can be tedious but it is a good practice to prevent any food-borne illnesses from even starting. Eating expired or bad food is not pleasant.  

How do you know what to clear out of your pantry? Here's a quick guide:

Photo by Riell Santos

1 Expired Canned Goods

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These usually have a long-shelf life and can easily be forgotten. You may have canned goods that are about to expire or are already past its expiry date, and you may not know it unless you check. 

However, it should be noted that "expiry dates" can also be known or seen as two things: "sell by" dates and "consume by" dates. Simply, "Sell by" dates are usually for the store, so it knows when this particular item should be sold. "Consume by" dates are the "expiry dates" so whoever buys the product knows that it's best eaten before this time.

Confused? Don't be. There are a few key indicators you can use to determine if that can needs to be tossed out with the garbage. 

What to check: Look for the expiry date and see when it's past due. When it's nearing or is past its expiry date, you can then check if the can itself has been tampered with: dents and bloated can are a sure indicator that these are definitely ready for the trash bin. 

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Photo by Majoy Siason

2 Evaporated and condensed milk 

These two staples are fantastic to have on hand. Evaporated milk can easily be a substitute for fresh milk in a pinch and condensed milk is the ingredient you will almost always need when you're making your favorite no-bake dessert. 

However, these have a shorter life span than most canned goods. 

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What to Check: Expiry dates are easily the key indicator for these canned products. Whether what you have is the canned variety or the ones in tetra packs, expiry dates for milk products should be heeded with more care. That's because milk does easily spoil, despite being processed. If you're unsure, if you see that the milk has turned a shade darker or is more yellow than it should be, toss it out. 

Dried herbs and ground spices work just as well as fresh when you're substituting ingredients.
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3 Dried Spices 

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Another awesome ingredient you can buy and forget to finish off are dried spices. While it's true that dried spices can last a long time, spices no matter how well packaged can lose its potency of flavor when stored for longer than it should be. 

What to check: Check that the spices itself have not been infested with weevils or other insects or that mold has developed. If the package has been opened, open it and check if it still smells potent. If not, it might be a good idea to toss it out and buy a new bottle. 

Photo by Karishma Etong

4 Pre-made mixes 

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We love these easy, ready-to-cook boxed mixes and sauces. These last a long while as well since these are vacuumed packed. Since, however, can be the pantry staple that might spoil the easiest so it's a good idea to regularly check these packets and boxes for when it's due to be used. 

What to check: After checking the expiry date, check that the package itself hasn't been tampered with so its vacuum seal remains intact. Insects love boxed mixes and can easily be the cause of these packages to need to be thrown out. 

Remember, keeping your pantry well-stocked is good practice but it also means that maintaining it will mean consuming the products. Before doing that, always check to see if it's still good and you will always have a great meal.

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