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Pantry staples & condiments: Expiration dates for safe stocking & bulk purchases

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Many items that are in our kitchen cabinets, pantries and the refrigerator have expiration dates that seem to get ignored or forgotten once they are purchased. If you don’t place a sticker on each jar, bottle, box, bag or package that comes into the house where it is very visible you may not know how long a food product was opened, sat on the shelf or when it was purchased.

Here is a list of many items that are common to most households. It serves as a reminder that not everything that is purchased has an indefinite shelf life. Some foods products may last 3 months while others may be good for 3 years if they are unopened. The same goes if the items are opened, one food may last 3 days and another up to 3 months.

Barbecue sauce

1 year

Brown sugar

Shelf life is indefinite when stored in a moisture proof container in a cool, dry place.

Chocolate

1 year from the production date.

Cocktail sauce

1 year

Coffee

Unopened cans last up to 2 years.

Opened cans for up to 1 month if refrigerated or if left in a covered canister.

Freshly ground coffee will stay fresh for 1 week in a covered container.

Coffee beans can remain in the bag for 3 weeks.

Instant coffee jar that are unopened will last for 2 years.

Opened jars will stay fresh for 1 month.

Dried pasta

12 months

Frozen dinners

12 to 18 months

Frozen vegetables

Unopened packages will stay fresh from 18 to 24 months

Opened packages will last for 1 month

Honey

Indefinite shelf life

Horseradish

1 year

Hot sauce

3 years

Jams or jellies

1 year

Juice

Unopened bottles will remain fresh up to 8 months from production date

Opened bottles will stay fresh from 7 to 10 days

Ketchup

Unopened bottles will be good up to 1 year

Opened bottles will last for 4 to 6 months

Maple syrup

1 year

Maraschino cherries

Unopened are good for 3 to 4 years

Opened jars will last for 6 months if refrigerated

Marinades

1 year

Marshmallows

Unopened packages will remain fresh for 2-3 months

Opened packages will also stay fresh for 3 months if stored in a sealed container

Mayonnaise

Unopened jars can last indefinitely

Opened jars will stay fresh from 2 to 3 months of the “purchase by” date

Mustard

2 years

Olives

Unopened jars are good for 3 years

Opened jars will last for 3 months

Olive oil, corn or vegetable

2 years from manufacture date

Pasta sauce

1 ½ years

Peanuts

Unopened nuts from 1 to 2 years unless they are frozen or refrigerated

Opened containers will stay fresh from 1 to 2 weeks in airtight container

Peanut butter

Unopened jars are good for 2 years

Opened jars are good for 6 months

Refrigerate peanut butter will last for 3 months after being opened

Natural peanut butter will remain fresh for 9 months

Pesto

9 months

Pickles and relishes

Unopened jars are good for 18 months

Opened jar are good until the pickles become soft or slippery

Rice

Will last up to 2 years from date on box or date of purchase

Salad dressing

Unopened bottles are good for12 months after “best by” date

Opened bottles are good up to 9 months if refrigerated

Salsa

1 year

Sauerkraut

1 year

Soy sauce

Unopened bottles are good for 2 years

Opened bottles will last for up to 3 months whether left in the cabinet or refrigerated

Steak sauce

3 years

Tabasco

5 years if stored in a cool, dry place

Tea bags

2 years

Teriyaki sauce

3 years

Tuna, canned

Unopened cans will last up to1 year from purchase date

Opened cans will last 3 to 4 days if stored in sealed containers and refrigerated

Vinegar

3 ½ years

Worcestershire sauce

Unopened will be good for 5 to 10 years

Opened bottles will last up to 2 years

© 2014 Beverly Mucha / All Rights Reserved

Jackson residents can shop at any of these local grocery stores: Pick’n Save or Wal-mart for all the ingredients needed for this recipe.

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