Foods With Longest Shelf Life

Foods With Longest Shelf Life

Short on time and want to shop for maximum time? That is not technically the right thing because many of the food products, which you prefer to buy, will go bad in days or months. You can’t really stockpile the food items, which you need, except the frozen items.

If you are not much into grocery shopping, there is a thing called shelf life, which you often hear.Shelf life is the time, till then a certain food product retains its natural composition and nutritional value. There are some foods which lose their nutritional count as the time passes. Some are very destructive as they can facilitate a fungal or bacterial contamination too.

In such a case, if you consume that food, there are high chances to fall sick. In this article, we will tell you which food items you can store for long, without the fear of getting the bad.To know such food items, lets first understand the categories of food as per their shelf life.

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General categories of food

There are three categories of food.

  • Foods that have a never-ending shelf life.
  • Foods that have a long shelf life, which lasts for years.
  • Foods that have a short shelf life, i.e., days to months or one year.

Let’s explore each one of these.

Foods that have a never-ending shelf life

You may not believe this, but some food items have surprisingly long shelf lives. They are available at all superstores around you, and their price is not even that high. They are packed with an aim to get them stored for years.

In case you decide to open them and leave them unpacked, they may not be available for long. For long-term sustainability, you must consider the adequately packed items only. Here is a list of top things that you can store for probably forever. Take a look at each one of them.

  • Honey

Honey is one thing that everyone loves. It is a part of breakfast and various recipes around the world. You might have heard the stories with archeologists finding honey from ancient monuments. Honey has been carbon dated to be up to 3000 years old, still in a good fresh taste, which makes it the top food product for the most extended shelf life.

Honey has an acidic PH. It has thick viscosity and absolutely no water. If you correctly cover and save it in an airtight container, it is going to be fresh even after a few years.

  • Salt

Can you store salt? Yes, you can, only if you make sure that there is no moisture in or around it. Salt is one of the most extended shelf life holder food products, which is used to preserve the other food items. It is a part of dried foods, pickles and sauces.

In ancient times, it has even been used to mummify the dead bodies, and now we see that it has worked. That proves that salt does has some longtime sustainability property.

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  • Sugar

The list cannot be complete without sugar. Sugar and salt share some very similar characterizes even the precautions to save both of them. Moisture is an enemy of sugar and salt both if you are planning to store them. To keep sugar stored, seal it in a package and add moisture absorbent in it too. You can keep it for years.

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  • White rice

Who thought that you could even store rice for years? You may see the rice getting attacked by small insects at home. But if you properly store them, it is a very long-term fresh food.

  • Whole-wheat grains

Like rice, whole-wheat grains can also be stored for years without the risk of getting spoiled. It needs a special packing though, and often this packaging is done in large packets. Whenever you want to use them, take them out and grind.

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  • Baking soda

Not a direct food ingredient but a part of many home solutions, baking soda can last for decades if you have not opened its packaging. Just make sure that it doesn’t get moisture near it.

  • Dried corn

A dry form of corn with proper packing can remain fresh for decades. It is a high nutritional food product, which is helpful if you want to store the food for the upcoming year.

  • Coffee and tea

Coffee, tea, cocoa and instant coffee, all of these can live for years in their actual fresh form. Only you need to make sure that they don’t get a contact with moisturizer. In this way, neither their potency nor the flavor will be lost. You can always use them later.

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  • Milk powder

Milk powder can also be stored like other powder forms of food. The same instruction applies here that keep the moisture away from it. You can use packaging tips such as to add moisture absorbent packs. If it is in cans, it doesn’t need anything extra, just don’t open them.

Foods with a longer shelf life

There are many food items, which promise to give you products that you can even store for decades. They can live up to 10-20 years without going bad. Only they require an excellent packaging and storage practice.

Following are a few examples of some common foods that have a significantly longer shelf life.

  • Beans
  • Oats
  • Potato flakes
  • Carrots
  • Fruit Slices
  • Pasta products

All these products can be stored for long but remember they aren’t in their natural form for storage. Either they need to be dry or dehydrated to get stored.

Foods with a shorter shelf life

Apart from these two categories of the foods that are up listed, there are so many which can be stored but only for some days or months. Maximum that they can go in one year.

As a general precaution, you must read the labels, especially the expiry dates before deciding to buy something. If it is getting expired in das or near future, don’t buy it. You can still eat the expired product though; it doesn’t always make you sick. But the thing is that most of the times it loses its nutritional value.

If you want to store any oil, olive oil is the best choice that will never disappoint you for a couple of years. For grocery store items, you can only store them if you follow a proper method of dehydration, drying and adequate packaging. Otherwise, they naturally have a short shelf life.

All the fermented, frozen and processed food items also come with expiry dates which tell them when they were manufactured and how long can they be useful. One important thing that you must know about all foods is to understand its processing, packaging, storage, and rotation.

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  • What is food processing?

Processing is the method that directly involves the duration of shelf life. There are so many steps as a part of conventional processing such as dehydration, freeze dry, heat, etc. all these processes help to increase the shelf life.

  • What is food packaging?

Packing is equally essential as processing. When you intend to save the product for a long time, the packaging should be so efficient that it will help to make it possible. There are so many methods and techniques, which make the packaging error proof.

  • What is food storage?

Storage practice also determines that for long this product can be useful. Specific factors such as light, humidity, moisture, temperature, etc. can do wonders. When exposed to these elements, many food items can spoil. One has to make sure that what are the spoilers of that product that he is storing. So that he can avoid them.

Sources 

  • https://food.unl.edu/food-storage-chart-cupboardpantry-refrigerator-and-freezer
  • https://www.food.gov.uk/business-industry/food-hygiene/shelf-life-storage
  • http://www.ift.org/Knowledge-Center/Learn-About-Food-Science/Food-Facts/Food-Storage-and-Shelf-Life.aspx

The author is a Medical Microbiologist and a healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health.

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