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Cooking staples that will last for decades

November 8, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
As we head into the holidays, many are starting extensive grocery lists to gear up for upcoming dinners and parties. It's nice to know about ingredients that you don't have to toss, even after they've been opened. Here are seven foods that could last you decades.

Sugar will never go bad because bacteria can't grow on it. It will get rock-hard if not stored in an airtight container, but that doesn't mean it's spoiled. Brown sugar can revive with a minute in the microwave to break it down.

Honey is an alternative sweetener that also has a long shelf life. Over time, it may change in texture and get grainy, but that doesn't mean it's expired. Its antibiotic properties keep it safe from bacteria and from spoiling.

Rice is another "forever food." White, wild, Arborio, jasmine and basmati keep indefinitely. Brown rice contains a bit of fat, so store it in the refrigerator or freezer to maximize its life span.

Maple syrup is a flavorful breakfast favorite for pancakes and waffles that, while pricey, is a real pantry keeper.

You can keep pure vanilla extract forever, so no worries about losing that flavor over time. The shelf life of pure vanilla extract definitely outweighs the extra cost over imitation as well.

Distilled white vinegar will last for years, so you won't be without unless you run out. It's not only good for cooking, but it can also be used for cleaning, gardening and even laundry.

Finally, the thickening ingredient corn starch also will keep indefinitely, so you can make gravy and other sauces year after year.

On the flip side, there are loads of foods that spoil quickly, but http://www.stilltasty.com/ is a great site that you can check the expiration dates to keep your family safe.


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