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Storing Food in the Cupboard

Staples

Baking powder

  • Keep dry and covered
    18 months or expiration date on can

Baking soda

  • Keep dry and covered
    2 years

Bouillon cubes or granules

  • Keep dry and covered
    2 years

Bread crumbs

  • Dried
    6 months

Cereals

  • Refold package liner tightly after opening
  • Ready-to-eat, unopened
    6 to 12 months
  • Ready-to-eat, opened
    2 to 3 months
  • Hot cereal, dry
    6 months

Chocolate

  • Keep cool
  • Premelted
    12 months
  • Semi-sweet
    18 months
  • Unsweetened
    18 months

Chocolate syrup

  • Cover tightly
  • Refrigerate after opening.
  • Unopened
    2 years
  • Opened
    6 months

Cocoa mixes

  • Cover tightly
    8 months

Coffee

  • Refrigerate after opening: keep tightly closed
  • Use dry measuring spoon.
  • Can be frozen to extend shelf life.
  • Cans, unopened
    2 years

  • Cans, opened
    2 weeks
     

Coffee, instant

  • Unopened
    1 to 2 years

  • Opened
    2 months

Coffee lighteners

  • Keep tightly covered
  • Unopened, dry
    9 months
  • Opened, dry
    6 months

Cornmeal

  • Keep tightly covered
  • Can be frozen for indefinite storage
    12 months

Cornstarch

  • Keep tightly covered
    18 months

Flour, white

  • Can be frozen for indefinite storage
  • Keep in airtight container
    6 to 8 months

Flour, wheat

  • Keep refrigerated
  • Store in airtight container
    6 to 8 months

Gelatin, all types

  • Keep in original container
    18 months

Grits

  • Store in airtight container
    12 months

Honey

  • Cover tightly
  • If crystallizes, warm opened jar in pan of hot water
    12 months

Jellies, jams

  • Cover tightly
  • Refrigerate after opening
  • If slightly moldy, spoon off the top 1/2 inch of the product before using
    12 months

Molasses

  • Keep tightly covered
  • Refrigerate to extend storage life
  • Unopened
    12 months
  • Opened
    6 months

Marshmallow cream

  • Cover tightly
  • Refrigerate after opening to extend storage life
  • Serve at room temperature
  • Unopened
    3 to 4 months

Marshmallows

  • Keep in airtight container
    2 to 3 months

Mayonnaise

  • Refrigerate after opening
  • Unopened
    2 to 3 months

Milk, condensed or evaporated

  • Unopened
  • Invert cans every 2 months
    12 months

Milk, nonfat dry

  • Store in airtight container
  • Unopened
    6 months
  • Opened
    3 months

Pasta. spaghetti, macaroni, etc

  • Once opened, store in airtight container
    2 years

Pectin

  • Liquid or dry
    1 year or expiration date

Rice

  • Keep tightly covered
  • White, brown, flavored or herb
    2 years, plus 6 months
     

Salad dressings

  • Bottled, unopened
    10 to 12 months
  • Bottled, opened
    Refrigerate after opening
    3 months
  • Made from mix
    Refrigerate prepared dressing
    2 weeks

Shortenings

  • Refrigeration not needed
  • Store in a cool, dark place in tightly closed container
  • Solid
    8 months

Sugar, brown

  • Put in airtight container
    4 months

Sugar, confectioners'

  • Put in airtight container
    18 months

Sugar, granulated

  • Cover tightly
    2 years

Syrups

  • Keep tightly covered
  • Refrigerate to extend storage life
  • Remove any light surface mold
  • Heat to 180 degrees Fahrenheit before use
    12 months

Sweeteners, artificial

  • Cover tightly
    2 years

Tea, bags

  • Put in airtight container
    18 months

Tea, instant

  • Cover tightly
    3 years

Tea, loose

  • Put in airtight container
    2 years

Vegetable oils

  • Refrigeration not needed
  • Store in a cool, dark place in tightly closed container
  • Unopened
    6 months
  • Opened
    1 to 3 months

Vinegar

  • Keep tightly covered
  • Slightly cloudy appearance doesn't affect quality.
  • Distilled vinegar keeps longer than cider vinegar
  • Unopened
    2 years
  • Opened
    12 months

Bread

  • Bread keeps fresh if stored at room temperature in a cool, dry place. Refrigeration speeds staling. In hot, humid weather, however, bread kept for more than two or three days should be refrigerated to retard mold growth. Some whole wheat products have no preservatives added. Because of the fat content of whole wheat flour, these products can become stale quickly. Be sure to check for freshness at time of purchase. Store properly at home for maximum quality.
  • Store brown-and-serve breads, English muffins and other high-moisture breads in the refrigerator.
  • Keep hard-crust breads, such as French bread, at room temperature and use within one to two days of purchase. These breads are made with water rather than milk and dry out quickly.
  • Most breads are packaged in moisture- and vapor-proof wraps (polyethylene bags) which are good for storage. Other containers used to store bread should be cleaned with a solution of baking soda and water rather than soap. The odor of soap can transfer to the bread. Do not reuse bread wrappers for food storage.
  • For longer storage, freeze fresh bread. Freezing will not freshen bread. It just preserves freshness present at the time of freezing.

Flour

  • Store flour in an airtight container to prevent absorption or loss of moisture. Place large bags in a big covered container. In hot, humid weather, buy flour in small amounts and keep in the refrigerator or freezer. Flour stored in a warm place, is likely to become infested with insects.
  • Keep whole wheat flour in the refrigerator or freezer the year around. Natural oils cause this flour to turn rancid quickly at room temperature.
  • Flour absorbs odors. Do not store near soap powders, medicines or other items with strong odors.

Brown sugar

If brown sugar is so hard that a hammer is needed to break it, soften it by one of the following methods.

  • Spread it as much as possible on a cookie sheet and heat in a slow oven at 250 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. When softened, remove sugar from oven and measure it while still warm; it will harden again when cooled.
  • Place a fresh slice of bread or apple in the container of sugar, close tightly and allow to stand for several days. Check to see if the slice is dried out and the sugar softened. If necessary, place a new slice of fresh bread or apple in the container to complete the softening process.
  • To keep brown sugar soft, put it in a plastic bag or, better yet, in a jar with a tight lid. Slipping an apple slice or a slice of fresh bread in with the brown sugar will also do the trick. Check the slice occasionally to ensure it is not dry or moldy.

 

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