When was the last time you went through your kitchen cabinets and carefully checked the expiration dates on your food items? Many people overlook this important task, but it’s crucial for ensuring the safety and quality of the food we consume.

You may be surprised to learn that certain foods have much shorter shelf lives than you might expect, and it’s important to be aware of these to prevent any potential issues.

Peanut Butter

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Peanut butter may cause a hiatus, but there is a caveat here. Most commercial peanut butter can last a while in the pantry if opened for six to twenty-four months.

On the contrary, natural peanut butter does not have preservatives and may last several months unopened. Its shelf life dramatically drops when opened, so check the label. Most natural peanut butter should be stored in the refrigerator when opened.

Cornmeal

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Cornmeal gives some recipes a crunchy finish and is a fantastic alternative that doesn’t have gluten. However, the University of Missouri reports that it is only kept for about a year; to lengthen its durability, it is stored in a cool, dark, and dry place.

Warm, damp conditions will cause mold to grow, resulting in lousy flavor and odor. Do not store cornmeal near the dishwasher, oven range, or refrigerator, as these areas can significantly contribute to its deterioration and may even create room for insects to hatch in the cornmeal.

Crackers

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Even though crackers are a must-have crunchy pantry item, they go bad rapidly once opened. Crackers absorb moisture from the air, which results in a stale product that loses its crispiness. In short, relish a box sooner rather than later.

Breadcrumbs

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There is nothing to be surprised about here. Dried breadcrumbs can last longer than conventional bread. However, because it is still bread, you may want to protect it from moisture, which can cause mold. The breadcrumbs can last up to six months if stored properly in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

Nuts

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Nuts are easy snacks to enjoy and even more enjoyable on the go. Unfortunately, the shelf life of nuts is not very long. On the shorter end, pistachios can last about three months, and almonds can last up to one year. If you are into nuts, set up a six—to twelve-month rotation, depending on your supplies.

Dried Fruit

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According to the National Center for Food Preservation’s confirmation, most dried fruits last four months to one year. For instance, figs last around three months, while raisins last the entire year.

Since heat affects food quality, the storage temperature helps determine the length of storage. The preceding implies that the higher the temperature, the shorter the storage time. Most dried fruits can be stored for one year at 60ºF or six months at 80ºF.

Whole Wheat Flour

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Like brown rice, whole wheat flour has bran, endosperm, and germ. These parts contain fiber and other nutrients responsible for their shorter shelf life. Whole wheat flour can be kept at room temperature for up to three months and a year in the fridge or freezer. The same is applicable to pay flour and other whole-grain flour options.

Spices

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Even though spices are not technically food, they don’t last forever. Whole spices retain their potency longer than ground spices. Ground spices give up their potency quicker than whole spices upon exposure to air and light. You should invest in whole spices and only consider grinding them when needed for better flavor.

Tortilla Chips

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A bag or two of tortilla chips is another crunchy classic commonly found in a kitchen pantry. Like crackers, tortilla chips absorb moisture from the air, which causes staleness and a loss of crispness.

You might notice a change in the texture of crackers or tortilla chips just days after opening them. The preceding provides a reason to make more homemade guacamole and salsa.

Brown Rice

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If you like brown rice more than white rice, it may be a good idea to double-check the last time you bought that bag of brown rice. As per the USA Rice Federation, brown rice, or whole grain rice, contains oil in the attached bran, aleurone, and germ, which makes it more amenable to oxidation. The preceding gives it a shelf life of approximately six months. You can store it in the refrigerator, as a cooler climate will extend its shelf life.

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