Even though a pantry can accumulate foods and other items over the years that may still be good to consume there are some that you should stop storing there and think about putting them in your freezer or refrigerator. Here’s a list of 14 foods that the TastingTable folks think you need to take a look at.
- Nuts and seeds – it would seem to most that nuts and seeds would be good to store in the pantry but if they are stored in cooler temperatures the oxidation process slows down and they last longer. Freezing nuts in an airtight container can allow them to stay good for up to two years.
- Maple syrup – pure maple syrup is made of boiled tree sap and it’s heat packed when processing to avoid contamination. Once opened it needs to be refrigerated or it can accumulate mold and if you freeze it the syrup has an almost indefinite shelf life.
- Mustard – French’s, the king of yellow mustard, says that room temperature is fine for their yellow mustard but their Dijon and horseradish-based products should be refrigerated. The refrigerated yellow and Dijon products will last for around a year in the fridge and honey mustard could last up to two years.
- Jam or jelly – once opened, jams and jellies will only last about a week at room temperature and could start developing mold after that. They will last around six months in the refrigerator which discourages mold growth and enhances the flavor.
- Bread and tortillas – many people store their bread in the pantry or out on a counter but freezing it properly will extend the life for up to six months. You should wrap it in plastic wrap and put it into an airtight freezer bag for the best results.
- Organic nut butter – processed nut butter are good for about three months in a cool, dry pantry but after that, you need to refrigerate them to allow another three to four months of freshness. Natural or organic nut butter are only good for about a month after opening in the pantry and they should be refrigerated after that time as well.
- Cold-pressed oils – these products will spoil quickly when exposed to light and heat and can start growing mold quickly so they should be stored in the fridge. This may cause them to turn cloudy or solidify but leaving them out at room temperature for a couple of hours fixes this. You can also stick the bottle in a pot of warm water to speed things up.
- Whole grain flour – most people think flour stays good forever but that’s not the truth. It can go bad when exposed to heat, moisture, light, and oxygen and it’s best stored in your refrigerator or freezer. Whole grain flour will stay good for six months there or up to a year in the freezer and you should store it in a sealable plastic bag or an airtight container.
- Cured meats – cured meats like pepperoni, prosciutto, and chorizo are cured with salt so they last longer than other meats, but they should be stored in the refrigerator after being wrapped with plastic wrap. Thin meats can last three days and harder meats can last up to two weeks.
- Fish sauce – most people store fish sauce in the pantry but this is not ideal because of the ingredients that it’s made with. It becomes smelly at room temperature and will stay fresh for up to a year in the refrigerator.
- Chocolate syrup – an unopened bottle of chocolate syrup will stay good for a year in the pantry but after opening you should refrigerate it to avoid mold and changes in texture.
- Infused olive oil – infused oils that contain fresh ingredients could actually cause botulism if stored in the pantry. Botulism is caused by the Clostridium botulinum bacteria and could even lead to death so refrigerate these products, and even after refrigerated it’s best to get rid of them after a month.
- Ketchup – ketchup is high in acidity because of the vinegar content and it’s fine to store in the pantry but if refrigerated it will prolong the shelf life. Chilled ketchup will last for up to two months but ketchup stored in the pantry should be consumed in a couple of weeks.
- Chocolate – many people are fine with storing chocolate in the pantry but those who think it is better chilled recommend freezing it. You should break it into small pieces, wrap it in plastic wrap and put it into a freezer bag after getting rid of as much air as you can. It should last this way for up to a year.