Many of us throw food out as soon as it reaches its “best before” date, but the fact is that this isn’t necessary. The dates that producers put on the packaging are only meant to indicate how long the food will retain its full quality and don’t mean that it is inedible after that point in time. Most foods can remain edible for days or even weeks past this date.
It’s safe to say that most foods can be kept a lot longer than their best before dates would have us believe, and there are even foods that actually never go bad. Here are some examples…
Honey has been part of the human diet for a very, very long time. Archeologists even found honey in the pyramids of the ancient Egyptians that was still edible. Older honey tends to crystalize, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be warmed, stirred up and enjoyed.
But if you want to guarantee a long shelf life for your honey, be sure to keep bread crumbs or butter from sneaking into the jar.
2. Clarified butter
Due to its lower protein and water content, clarified butter has a much longer shelf life than normal butter.
Whether in the form of classic table salt, sea salt or salt crystals, salt is basically indestructible. Keeping it dry and covered will prevent it from clumping, but even if it does, it won’t affect its flavor or edibility.
The best before date on bottled water has more to do with the bottle than the water in it. Over time, the plasticizers in the bottle will leech into the water making it impure, so it’s always good to pay attention to these dates. But if you store your water in sealed glass bottles in a cool, dark place, it won’t go bad.
5. Corn starch
Corn starch is used in a variety of ways for cooking, especially as a sauce thickener. When properly stored, it never goes bad.
6. Pasta and noodles
Dried noodles and pasta will basically keep forever, except if they’re made from whole wheat. But as survival foods go, they’re only useful if you have a means of boiling them in clean water.
White rice like Basmati has an unlimited shelf life, but brown rice and natural long-grain rice are perishable due to the higher fat content.
8. Canned foods
Over time the contents can change in consistency, color and even flavor, but food stored in tin cans can never really go bad. If the can gets damaged, however, this unlimited shelf life is no longer guaranteed.
9. White wine vinegar
When properly stored, distilled white wine vinegar can be used for salad dressings, homemade cleaning products and as a natural deodorizer for a very long time.
10. Maple syrup
Similar to honey, maple syrup almost never goes bad due to its extremely high sugar content. If it gets clumpy, simply soak the bottle in warm water to bring it back to a smooth, liquid state.
Bacteria can’t nourish themselves with sugar so they don’t accumulate on it. This basically gives it an unlimited shelf life. Whether brown sugar, powdered sugar, dextrose etc., you don’t have to worry about it going bad.
Even when the bottles have been opened, liquor never goes bad and can even maintain its aroma for a long time. So don’t be in a hurry to finish off that bottle of vodka, rum or tequila!
In most countries, government agencies that deal with emergency management recommend that all households keep some provisions stored in preparation for a natural disaster, e.g. severe storms, flooding, blackouts etc. These provisions should be enough to feed the members of the household for up to 14 days and should include foods that are basically non-perishable such as the ones listed above. It doesn’t take much time or effort to make sure that you and your family are prepared for the unexpected!