Tuesday, July 23

These 8 Cheap Pantry Foods Last Longer Than You Think

Most likely, many of you have a pantry in your kitchen that is full of different foods and items. And sometimes, late at night, you sneak in there and reach out for that box of cookies, only to realize that it is expired and you can no longer eat your favorite snack. Not gonna lie, this sounds incredibly disappointing.

So, it’s clear that some pantry items are not made to last forever, but there are so many options out there that have an unbelievably long shelf life and are perfect to fill your pantry and cupboards with.

And that’s why we are here! We compiled a list just for you with the best food items you immediately need to have in your pantry since they last for a long time and won’t let you down when you need them. Read on if you want to find out more!


Photo by Africa Studio from Shutterstock

1. Dried beans and lentils

Dried beans are amazing, and they last forever in your pantry. You can cook a bunch of nutritious and filling dishes with them, but most people are intimidated because if you want to use dried beans when you cook, you first need to soak them. Usually, that means you should put them in some water overnight before you use them so they can rehydrate and become tender.

But technology has advanced even in the field of cooking, and now you don’t need to wait for your beans to soak. You can always prepare them in an instant pot, and they will be ready in no time. This is also the case for lentils or other dried legumes like peas or chickpeas.

2. Pasta

Without a doubt, everyone loves a bowlful of pasta with some grated cheese on top. This is a truly delicious dish, and nobody would say no to it. And we have some great news for you: Pasta is one of those foods that has a pretty long shelf life, so you can keep it in your pantry without worrying that it will expire before you cook it.

If you want to store your pasta in the best possible condition, remove it from its original packaging and immediately place it in airtight jars or containers. Paper packaging absorbs moisture from the air, causing the pasta to taste stale and bland.

If you care about the environment and don’t want to use plastic containers, you can always try the alternative of glass or metal containers. There are a lot of tin boxes or glass containers on the market for you to choose from, so there should be no problem.

3. Peanut butter

Peanut butter is excellent, and a spoonful of it can give you the energy you need in the morning or, actually, at any time of the day. You should always keep some jars of peanut butter in your pantry. This is only recommended if you are not allergic; if you are allergic, don’t touch that peanut butter.

Usually, the organic, all-natural version of peanut butter is the one that we will always recommend, but if you want to store it for longer periods of time, this one is not the best because it will go rancid faster.

Peanut butter is amazing because it is so versatile. You can eat it with a lot of different things, such as oats, fresh fruits, smoothies, cookies, popcorn, and so on.

4. Rice

Rice is always a good idea. You should always have some rice in your pantry since it can be used as a base for a lot of dishes. Butter chicken, salmon, veggies, chicken, you name it! All of these go amazing with rice.

White, basmati, jasmine, and wild rice—all of these varieties of rice—can virtually be stored for an unlimited period of time. If you keep them in airtight containers, they can be as good as the first day even after 5 years!

On the other hand, brown rice has a much shorter shelf life of about 6 months because it can oxidize easily. So, if you plan to keep your rice in your pantry for a long time, choose wisely.

5. Jerky

This is perfect for you if you are looking for a protein-rich snack that is also tasty and will last if you want to keep it in your pantry and have it when you need it. The best part about beef jerky is that you don’t need to refrigerate it. You can store it in a cool, dark place, and it will be good to eat for 6 months. This only applies to store-bought jerky.

Things change slightly in the case of homemade beef jerky. It all depends on how you decide to store it. An airtight container gives it the longest shelf life, around 2 months. On the other hand, if you keep it in a zip-top bag, it will only last for a week!

In conclusion, store-bought jerky is the best option if you want to keep it for a longer time in your pantry.

6. Oats

Whole grains are very good for your health, and oats are the most affordable ones that you can find on the market. Keeping oatmeal on hand is always advised because it is versatile and you can have it for breakfast in a lot of variations, such as the classic porridge or as cereal with milk. You can enjoy it hot or cold, it doesn’t matter; the choice is yours.

Oats are perfect to keep in your pantry because they have a longer lifespan compared to many other foods. Its shelf life depends a lot on some factors, like whether it was processed or not. Usually, oats last between 12 months and 2 years if you keep them in an airtight container or don’t open the package.

Photo by Aaron J Hill from Shutterstock

7. Canned goods

These days, you can literally find almost anything you can think of in a canned version. Meat, checked. Ham, checked. Fish? We have that too. Vegetables? Don’t even get me started about vegetables; you can find everything from beans and tomatoes to pumpkin and corn.

Canned foods are probably the best kind of foods to keep in your pantry because they last for years and years. For example, canned ham can last up to 5 years! You have to keep in mind that acidic foods, like tomatoes, will last shorter than the rest.

It would be perfect to store the cans in appropriate conditions. A cool, dark place that is not at all humid. Humidity is a real dealbreaker for canned goods because it can accelerate the growth of rust, and as we know, rust damages metal. Corrosion can create holes in the cans, which leads to spoiling. So, we don’t want that to happen.

8. Whole herbs and spices

Basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano… their aroma is already wafting in the air! Spices are the ingredient that can make any dish flavorful. They are the sous of your dish. And the good part is that you can store them for a pretty long time if you have the right conditions.

The most important thing that you should do is keep the herbs in a cool, dry place. Your pantry is perfect. You can also put them in airtight jars, and in this way, you will be sure that there is no humidity in there.

Usually, spices and herbs, if stored properly, last for around 3 years. Moreover, if you consume them when they are older, nothing will happen to you. The spices will just be blander and will not have the same flavor anymore.

Do you want to know what are the best places to do your groceries? If yes, then you should check out: 9 Best Grocery Stores in America

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