Food Fun and Facts - Shelf Life of Common Foods



General Shelf Lives for Common Items


Flour unopened: up to 12 months. Opened: 6-8 months.
Whole Wheat Flour unopened: 1 month. Opened: 6-8 months if refrigerated.
Sugar unopened: 2 years. Sugars do not spoil but eventually may change flavor.
Brown sugar unopened: 4 months.
Confectioners sugar unopened: 18 months.
Solid shortening unopened: 8 months. Opened: 3 months
Cocoa unopened: indefinitely. opened: 1 year
Whole spices: 2-4 years. Whether or not opened.
Ground spices: 2-3 years. Whether or not opened.

Paprika, red pepper and chili powder: 2 years when kept in refrigerator.
High acid canned items such as fruit juice, tomato soup and things in vinegar unopened: 12-18 months.
Baking soda unopened: 18 months. Opened: 6 months.
Baking powder unopened: 6 months. Opened: 3 months.
Cornstarch: 18 months. Whether or not opened.
Dry pasta made without eggs unopened: 2 years. Opened: 1 year.



Dry egg noodles unopened: 2 years. Opened: 1-2 months.
Salad dressing unopened: 10-12 months. Opened: 3 months if refrigerated.
Low acid canned items such as soup, meats, gravy and vegetables unopened: 2-5 years.
Honey: 1 year whether or not opened.
Worcestershire sauce: 1 year whether or not opened

Ground, canned coffee unopened: 2 years. Opened: 2 weeks, if refrigerated.
Instant coffee in jars or tins unopened: 12 months. Opened: 3 months.
Bottled water unopened: 1-2 years. Opened: 3 months.
Pudding mixes unopened: 1 year. Opened: 4 months.


Jams, jellies and preserves unopened: 1 year. Opened: 6 months if refrigerated.
Peanut butter unopened: 6-9 months. Opened: 2-3 months.

From The Food Marketing Institute In Washington DC




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