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Wellness Wednesday: Get Better Acquainted with Your Pantry

How well do you really know your pantry and it’s contents? Do you know what’s in there or for how long it has resided there? Before you buy your next dry good in bulk, read our tips and get to know your pantry and it’s food better than ever before.

First, know the 4 factors that contribute to proper dry food storage: temperature, moisture, atmosphere and container. Get a feel for how these are playing a role in your pantry, is it dark and cool enough in there? Is there a source of moisture nearby? Make some adjustments if needed and then get ready to dive into your shelves!

We’ve all been there, that buy-one-get-one-free cake mix sale was just too good to pass up and you brought home 10 cake mixes. Check the dates on those boxes, most boxed cake mixes will only stay good for about 1 1/2 years. And that goes for brownie mixes, muffin mixes, etc.

Thought that huge container of dried breadcrumbs could last as long as you wished? Unfortunately, the reality is that many of us have been eating breadcrumbs that are well past their prime! Ditch those open containers within 6 months.

Got rice and beans? How long you can properly store rice depends on the type. Consider this before buying the bulk bag: brown rice only lasts up to 6 months in average conditions because the oils go rancid as they oxidize. White rice will store much longer by comparison. Either way, make sure your pantry is plenty cool to extend the shelf life. Dried beans age as they lose their oils but they should stay edible in your pantry for 2 years.

Do canned foods last forever? If you ask the USDA, it depends on the acid content of the food. A high acid canned food, let’s say tomatoes, will only last about a 1 1/2 years. But low acid foods like vegetables and meats will last 5 years in your pantry.

The good news: There are three items in your pantry that will probably keep indefinitely! Honey, sugar and salt will all stay safe to eat for as long as you keep them free from moisture.

How do you keep the contents of your pantry fresh and organized? We want to hear about it!

Do you have an idea for a Wellness Wednesday topic? Let us know and keep checking our blog for more healthful tips!

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