I’m sure we all have at least one thing at home that has been in the same place for so long that we’ve stopped really “seeing” it. For example, just this morning I glanced at the wall clock in my kitchen, and it suddenly occurred to me that I don’t particularly like the way the clock looks. But it had been on the wall for so long that I hadn’t really looked at it in a long, long time!
I think that many of us have the same problem when it comes to the food in our pantries. We understand logically that even shelf-stable foods don’t last forever, but we see them on the shelf so often that we stop really thinking about them! In today’s blog post, I want to bring your attention back to your pantry, and 6 specific items you should consider getting rid of!
6 Things You Should Purge From Your Pantry
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1. Herbs & Spices
Dried herbs and spices don’t necessarily go bad, but they can lose their potency over time. Go through your herbs and spices in your cabinet and take stock of how long they’ve been there. Anything you’ve had for over 2 years should probably be replaced.
2. Oils & Cooking Sprays
Cooking oils can start to spoil when exposed to air, light, and heat. Even if a bottle of oil is unopened, it could go bad if it’s been stored in a warm or light-filled kitchen. Give your cooking oils a sniff, and if they smell metallic, soapy, or bitter at all, throw them out.
Check the expiration date on any cooking sprays in your cupboard as well. Dispose of any cans that have expired, especially if they’ve been regularly exposed to heat. Aerosol cooking sprays can explode when exposed to heat, so it’s better to be safe than sorry!
When properly stored, flour should stay good for one year. To keep flour fresh as long as possible, it should be kept in an airtight container (like this one) in a cool place. And be sure to inspect your flour every once in a while, just to make sure there aren’t any weevils lurking in it.
Have you ever made a yeasted dough that didn’t end up rising? Expired or inactive yeast was likely to blame. Even when stored in the fridge, yeast only stays good for about three or four months. Check the dates on your yeast before starting a baking project to avoid disappointment!
Most nuts have a shelf life of six months or less. Nuts have a high oil content, which can cause them to spoil faster than other types of dry items in your pantry. (Pine nuts can spoil particularly quickly.)
Just to be safe, it’s always smart to do a smell test before using nuts in a recipe. If they have an astringent or medicinal smell, toss them.
Make sure to throw away any crackers or other grain-based products that have been in your pantry for a long time. The longer these items sit in your pantry, the better the chance that any insect eggs lurking inside will be able to hatch. (Again, anything you can do to avoid a weevil situation is worth the effort!)
Have you taken stock of your pantry recently?