13 Foods That Last Forever

These pantry staples can last for years
Archaeologists have discovered honey in Egyptian tombs that was still edible.

There comes a time every so often when it becomes obvious that the pantry is due for a cleaning. We toss the old chips and candy, the expired cereal and old cookies, but there are always certain items we encounter where we’re simply not sure if they’re still good or not. There’s no need to wonder any longer: we’re rounding up 13 pantry items that can stay in your pantry for years.

13 Foods That Last Forever (Slideshow)

Put simply, foods break down because of bacterial growth. Moisture is one of the most common catalysts for bacteria growth, so if a food product is completely moisture-free, it won’t rot. Other foods contain substances that inhibit the growth of bacteria, also making them less prone to rotting.

Along with storing food in a dry place, there are three main properties that will prevent bacterial growth: saltiness, acidity, and toxicity. Salt is a great way to stop bacterial growth (hence its use as a food preservative) because the salt absorbs the moisture in the food, drying it out and depriving bacteria of their favorite home comforts. Acids reduce the pH level of foods to a range where bacteria and pathogens can’t grow. And toxic substances, like alcohol, kill bacteria in its tracks.

In our own home pantries, it’s always a good rule of thumb to stick with the expiration dates that are printed on the packaging. But these items, if you keep them in a cool, dry place, can last for years, simply because bacteria have no place to grow. So read on to learn about 13 foods that last forever.

Honey

Honey molecules are what’s called hygroscopic, which means that they absorb water extremely well. Archaeologists have actually discovered honey in Egyptian tombs that was still edible! If stored away from humidity in a sealed container, it’ll last pretty much forever.

Salt and Sugar

Salt and sugar are minerals, which never go bad. They might clump up if exposed to moisture, but if properly stored they'll never spoil.

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