Knowing when to throw out meals could be difficult, particularly dry items. Most packaged merchandise come labeled with a use-by, sell-by and best-by date. But in the case of pantry staples, you might need extra time to bake these cookies than you thought. 

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service alongside the Food Marketing Institute and Cornell University maintains an internet useful resource known as Foodkeeper. There, you’ll find a storage information with info on a whole lot of meals and their greatest shelf life for meals freshness and high quality. Here’s the rundown of widespread baking necessities you in all probability have sitting at the back of your pantry. 

Baking powder

Unopened baking powder could be saved for as much as 18 months and nonetheless be recent and efficient. After that, you may probably discover a lack of efficiency when utilizing it in baking recipes. Opened baking powder must be used inside 6 months. Many packages embody a spot to put in writing the date you opened it on the lid, a useful approach to preserve monitor of freshness. 

Baking soda

Baking soda, unopened, can final a surprisingly very long time. In reality, it is good for as much as three years. If you’ve got opened your baking soda, you may need to use it up or throw it out after six months. Baking soda and powder are each vital ingredients in baking and to be best, more energizing is all the time higher. 


Opened baking soda can last as long as three years unopened at room temperature. 

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Baking powder and baking soda lose efficiency over time. The science of baking — actual measuring, sifting and permitting issues to relaxation or rise — could be simply dismantled by a foul field of baking soda or baking powder, the brokers of change in lots of recipes. While these could be suitable for eating for months after the usual shelf life, more energizing is all the time more practical for baking. 


There are a number of sorts of flour, however the commonest are entire wheat and white. Wheat flour has a shelf lifetime of as much as six months if saved unopened within the pantry. Once you’ve got opened it, retaining flour refrigerated can lengthen its shelf life to eight months.

White flour can last as long as one yr saved within the pantry, unopened. Open it up and the pantry life decreases to eight months. Throw your white flour within the fridge and you may have recent flour for as much as one yr.

Read extra: Top bread machines for residence bakers  

If you discovered bugs in your flour, it is in all probability as a result of the flour wasn’t saved correctly. Flour must be saved in an hermetic container and within the fridge to forestall infestations. Bugs aren’t essentially an indication of flour going unhealthy, however if you happen to do uncover them, it is positively time to get a brand new bag of flour.

Flour can also be infamous for harboring micro organism. Whether it is previous its use-by date or not, it’s best to all the time bake any recipe that features flour earlier than consuming.

Almond flour

Almond flour (additionally known as almond meal) and other nut “flours” ought to all the time be saved within the fridge or freezer. That’s as a result of nuts comprise oils that hasten rancidity sooner than oil-free grain merchandise. 

According to Bob’s Red Mill, almond flour can final 4 to 5 months after the “sell by” date, as long as it’s saved in an hermetic container and within the fridge or freezer. 


Sugar is a staple of the kitchen. Whether you are baking or glazing or making an excellent sauce, each cook dinner wants a few of the candy stuff. Chances are, until you are baking batches of cookies each week, you are prone to preserve the identical 5-pound bag of sugar round for some time. When must you really throw it out? 

Turns out, sugar takes the cake in the case of prolonged shelf life. Granulated sugar can last as long as two years within the pantry after opening. Technically, sugar by no means spoils. While it is really helpful that granulated sugar be discarded after two years, likelihood is it’ll nonetheless serve its baking goal even past that. The similar pointers apply to brown sugar and confectioner’s or powdered sugar. 

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Despite the spectacular shelf life of those baking necessities, if you happen to’re ever uncertain of an merchandise’s age it is best to purchase a recent field. Still, subsequent time you prepare to wash out the pantry and toss every thing within the trash, attempt mixing up a batch of cookies as a substitute. 

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