Proper Food Storage: Throw-it, Keep-it Guide
Cook and eat safely with this shelf-life guide to common pantry and refrigerator items.
Ideally, your pantry should be dark and dry, and with a maximum temperature of 21ºC, according to Peggy Van Laanen, extension nutrition specialist at Texas A&M University.
Keep appliances, especially those that generate heat, away from your food cabinets. Although most of the items you’ll store here have a long shelf life, you should always follow the first-in, first-out rule, and avoid overstocking. When restocking, always bring forward the older items and place the newly-bought items behind these.
OILS AND SAUCES
1 Olive oil
Kept cool in a dark place, unopened bottles will last from 12 to 18 months thanks to the oil’s high mono-unsaturated fat content.
2 Vegetable oil
Keep the bottle tightly closed and you’ll get to use it for up to three months. New, sealed bottles will keep in the pantry for half a year.
3 Soy sauce
Normally, a bottle will be good to use for a year. You can push it to three years, but it may evaporate by then, making its color darker and its flavor more intense.
4 Worcestershire sauce
This seasoning is aged to begin with, and it only gets better with time. Opened or not, a bottle will last about 12 years—if you don’t finish it first.
5 Tomato sauce
Frozen, it will last for up to three months. Opened and in the refrigerator, you have just five days to cook with it.
How long can seasonings last? See the next page to find out.