Have you bought boxes and cans of food that were on sale and then find these same items on your shelf or in the cabinet six months later or longer? The “use by” date has expired but you wonder if you can still safely eat it instead of throwing it away. In reality, this date just indicates the period of time when it will tastes its best. It does not mean if you eat it past the date you will get sick. Here are some of the foods that do have a long shelf life.
- Canned vegetables or beans—these type of foods last longer than most other products you buy because they have been processed in air tight cans. They are generally good for twelve to eighteen months but can last longer. These particular can goods are low in acid and can have a shelf life of two to five years unless they are dented or rusty which is an indication it has been punctured at one point.
- Spices—most common spices like salt and pepper do not expire but just become less flavorful. It is recommended that you use them within two to four years just to be safe.
- Cereals and cookies—these types of items do not have enough moisture in them to grow mold or bacteria so they will last for a long time. Cereals with no sugar like Cheerios can last eighteen to twenty four months unopened and crackers can last about two years if unopened. The only thing that might change is taste and texture.