How old are the seasonings, mixes and dried ingredients in your pantry? Even these items can lose nutritional value over time and mixes that contain baking powder can lose their strength to “rise” when prepared. Spices have a shelf life of up to a year. If you keep them longer, be sure they still have flavor or have not become rancid during storage. Humidity can impact the freshness and safety of these items. Foods that can be stored for long periods of time like sugar and flour, should be stored in air tight glass containers. Plastic allows humidity to cross into the food and cause spoilage.
Canned items may have use by dates or best by dates. Discard items that are outdated. If there is no date, the food is safe to eat if the can has not been damaged or become rusted. Remember longer storage equals more vitamin loss. Keep foods safe and nutritious by limiting storage time in your cupboards.
By LuAnn Duncan, Extension Agent, Family & Consumer Science