Foods That Can Live in Your Cupboard Forever (Almost)

Nothing lasts forever, but these foods come close. They’ll keep for years — sometimes decades — even after you open them.

With the holiday season approaching and the economy still challenging, you’re no doubt searching for new ways to save money.

With that in mind, StillTasty.com combed through its extensive shelf-life database to compile a list of nine common kitchen staples that, properly stored, will retain their safety and quality for years — sometimes decades — even after they’ve been opened.

By thinking twice before tossing these foods, you can save money, eat better and cut back on food waste this holiday season — and well beyond.

RICE

White, wild, arborio, jasmine and basmati rice all have an indefinite shelf life, when kept free from contaminants. The exception: brown rice. Thanks to its higher oil content, it won’t keep nearly as long.

Keep it fresh: Store in a cool, dry area. Once opened, place rice in a sealed airtight container or place original package in a resealable heavy-duty freezer bag. For added protection, store rice in the refrigerator or freezer.

SUGAR

White, brown or powdered — sugar never spoils because it doesn’t support bacterial growth. The real challenge is to prevent it from becoming rock-hard.

Keep it fresh: Keep sugar in a cool, dry area. To prevent sugar from hardening after opening, place it in an airtight container or cover the original package in a heavy-duty plastic bag and seal tightly.

HARD LIQUOR

Whipping up some penne alla vodka and a pitcher of cocktails? Distilled spirits —vodka, rum, whiskey, gin, tequila and the like — don’t spoil, even after opening. The taste and aroma may fade gradually, but it’ll take ages before you notice.

Keep it fresh: Store in cool, dark area, away from direct heat or sunlight. Keep bottle tightly closed when not in use.

MAPLE SYRUP

Pure maple syrup not only makes your pancakes special, it adds tremendous flavor to a whole range of dishes. Best of all, it keeps forever in the freezer.

Keep it fresh: Refrigerate after opening. For long-term storage, freeze maple syrup in airtight plastic containers.

PURE VANILLA EXTRACT

Yes, it’s more expensive than its imitation counterpart. But pure vanilla extract keeps forever, so you’ll never have to waste a drop.

Keep it fresh: Store in cool, dark cupboard and keep tightly closed when not in use.

DISTILLED WHITE VINEGAR

A reliable standby in everything from marinades to salad dressings, distilled white vinegar will remain virtually unchanged as the years pass by.

Keep it fresh: Store vinegar a cool, dark area and keep tightly capped after each use.

CORNSTARCH

A must-have for thickening sauces, gravies, and puddings. Cornstarch will keep indefinitely if it’s kept dry and free from contaminants.

Keep it fresh: Store in cool, dry area; keep package tightly closed between uses.

SALT

From the basic table variety to fancier versions like kosher and sea, salt is a flavor enhancer that never spoils or goes stale.

Keep it fresh: Store in cool, dry area.

Thanks for this meign. It’s been really helpful, especially right now as I’m snowed in, miles from the nearest shop and planning to never be this short of food again and to stock up on this type of stuff.

You are always welcome Redsunflower… :smiley: