A well-stocked kitchen filled with herbs, spices and condiments is the pride and envy of any homemaker, since you’ll be able to whip up a dish in no time at all. But unless you are Martha Stewart or Nigella Lawson and cook up a storm all the time, it’s likely that quite a few of the items in your pantry may go bad before you know it.
Do a regular stocktake, so that you can keep tabs on the condition of food items in your cupboard as well as reduce wastage from buying more than you need. When storing dry foods and condiments, make sure to keep these in a cool and dry environment, away from direct sunlight. Heat causes food substances to break down rapidly, which, in turn, allows germs to multiply. As a result, you may be forced to throw out food much sooner.
If you are really unsure as to whether a food item is safe for consumption, follow this rule: If in doubt, throw it out.
Contrary to popular belief, expiration dates on food packages do not indicate if a food item is safe for consumption. Nor are these dates related to spoilage or one’s risk of getting food poisoning or foodborne illnesses. Manufacturers use it solely to indicate the “peak” freshness of the food — meant as an advisory rather than actual hard-and-fast rule.
Don’t be fooled by “sell by” dates either ― these are not intended for shoppers but meant to help retailers move products. They are also more of a marketing ploy than a consumer guideline.
Placing certain condiments, dried food products and sauces in the fridge can also extend its use beyond the dates printed on the packaging. However, if you are really unsure as to whether a food item is safe for consumption, follow this rule: If in doubt, throw it out.
So, how long can common pantry items actually last? We’ve compiled a list for you…
Infographic: Rachel Lim
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