How long do store cupboard ingredients really last?

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  • Stockpiling is on the rise thanks to coronavirus, but there are still plenty of dishes you can make with store cupboard ingredients. If you're worried some of your older items may not still be safe - or, you're wondering how long you can keep staples for, check out this list.

    Ever wondered how long store cupboard ingredients, like peanut butter last for in your cupboard? What about all those tins gathering dust at the back?

    We reveal how long store cupboard ingredients last for and when its time to bin them.

    Not only is this useful to know during the current health crisis, but it’s also essential information if you’re keen to reduce your food waste.

    MORE: 50 things to make with tinned tomatoes

    We throw out a whopping 7 million tones of food and drink a year, according to campaign Love Food Hate Waste. This staggering amount can seriously be cut down if we were more savvy about what we’ve already got in our kitchens as well as taking note of use by dates.

    While we often think fresh food is the main culprit, it’s a surprise to know that some store cupboard essentials have short shelf lives too. For example, did you know that dried pasta is off after 1 year of opening or that flour needs to be binned after 6 months?

    It might be time to give your kitchen cupboards a spring clean…

    How long do store cupboard ingredients last for?

    • Dried herbs

    Dried herb shelf life: 1 year

    Once opened: Keep lids on, as tight as possible

    Most herbs and spices lose their flavour after 1 year of opening so there’s pretty much no point keeping them after that.

    • Peanut butter

    Peanut butter shelf life: 3 months

    Once opened: Keep lid on and store upside down to preserve oils

    At room temperature, a jar of peanut butter should last around 3 months before it starts to dry out. If it becomes darker or starts to smell ‘unusual’ bin it. It’s better to be safe, than sorry!

    • Pasta

    Pasta shelf life: 1 year

    Once opened: Store in an airtight container

    If your pasta isn’t wrapped up properly or in an airtight container it’ll either dry out or it’ll absorb moisture around it and become limp and sticky. The taste and texture will mostly be affected. Need to use up older packets of pasta? We have hundreds of pasta recipes to chose from.

    • Tuna

    Tuna shelf life: 3 years

    Once opened: Store in an airtight container in the fridge

    A tin of unopened tuna will last around three years in your cupboard, so it’s worth keeping as a staple. Once opened, it can last for about 3-4 days in the fridge before it needs to be eaten. However, it might dry out slightly so if your tuna comes in brine or oil, make sure you keep some in the tin.

    MORE: 32 things to make with a tin of tuna

    • Tea bags

    Tea bags shelf life: 3 month

    Once opened: Wrap in an airtight bag or store in airtight container

    A packet of unopened tea bags will last around 1 year but once they’re opened, this decreases to around 3 months. Drinking an old teabag after these dates won’t hurt you but it might not taste as a fresh cup of brew!

    •  Rice

    Rice shelf life: 1 year

    Once opened: Store in airtight container

    Like pasta, rice can be stored in your kitchen cupboards for a long time but can start to absorb moisture or flavours around it so it should really be stored in an airtight container away as soon as its opened. From risotto to curries and flavoured rice, we have plenty of rice recipes.

    MORE: 50 things to make with tinned chickpeas

    • Beer

    Beer shelf life: 6-9 months

    Once opened: Drink or bin the leftovers, beer will turn flat very quickly

    Beer can be consumed up to 9 months after its expiry date so think twice before you bin those bottles or cans in the back of your cupboard. If the beer is flat, smells strange or the liquid has turned a different colour its time to throw out.

    • Honey

    Honey shelf life: 6 weeks

    Once opened: Store in the fridge

    Honey is actually best kept in the fridge once opened to make it last a little longer and stay fresh. If you’d prefer to keep in the cupboard, make sure the lid is tightly sealed and cleaned after every use so no toast crumbs make their way into the jar and affect its freshness.

    • Stock cubes

    Stock cubes shelf life: 1 year

    Once opened: Keep wrapped in their packaging

    Like herbs, stock cubes tend to loose their flavouring after 1 year so are best used before then.

    • Tinned fruit and veg

    Tinned fruit and veg shelf life: 1-2 years

    Once opened: Store in an airtight container in the fridge and use within days

    Unopened tins of fruit and vegetables can in fact last around 1-2 years after the expiry date printed on the cans. Of course the tin needs to be airtight, no dents or damages to it. And if you open it and it looks, smells or taste funny bin it immediately – otherwise you might have an upset stomach afterwards.

    • Vegetable oil

    Vegetable oil shelf life: 1 year

    Once opened: Keep tight lid on to stop air spoiling it

    Oils are best kept in cool, dark places – like the back of your kitchen cupboard perhaps. Do not keep near heat or above your hob as the heat will spoil the oil.

    • Nuts

    Nuts shelf life: 1 month

    Once opened: Store in airtight bag

    You should really be using up packets of nuts or open nuts within 1 month of purchase. Nuts are prone to developing mould, which can lead to an upset stomach.