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Expiry date: 9 foods to keep indefinitely: ETERNAL FOODS

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These foods have found the secret of eternal youth.

Unpasteurized honey

Often referred to as “food of the gods”, honey is full of health benefits, and is great for your hair . “In fact, some cultures (and some studies) have historically harnessed the antibacterial virtues of honey to treat wounds,” says Dr. Elizabeth Trattner, a doctor of Chinese medicine and integrative medicine. And what’s more, it never expires! It is not uncommon for archaeologists to find ancient jars of honey in Egyptian tombs; they even found honey, 3000 years old, still perfectly edible. By what miracle? According to the Smithsonian, its longevity could be explained by its sugar, its low humidity, its excessive acidity, its gluconic acid and its natural hydrogen peroxide – however, be careful to store it properly.


Is there anything that apple cider vinegar can not do ? In addition to its incredible health benefits (it helps to lose weight and is a natural remedy for stomach upset), it can also stay indefinitely in your pantry. Eh yes! White, balsamic vinegar, raspberry, rice and red wine have no expiry date. “Because of its acidic nature, vinegar preserves itself and does not need refrigeration,” says The Vinegar Institute .


Well stored, cornstarch certainly deserves to be on our list of imperishable foods. As long as it is not wet – and therefore the starch molecules do not bind to the hydrogen molecules – and it is kept in a cool, dry place, you will not need to buy back any cornstarch before long.


Sodium chloride has been around for billions of years, so it’s not surprising that it lasts forever. Salt is also often used to protect foods against mold and bacteria so they can be kept longer. This power of salt is explained by osmosis: the water in the food is absorbed by the salt, creating an environment too dry for mold and bacteria to grow. “It’s a stable, mineral body,” says Dr. Trattner. The worst thing that can happen is that it gets wet. “

Dried vegetables

Unlike canned or fresh beans, dry beans also last forever if kept in an airtight package. However, they can take longer to cook, resulting in a long process.

Like salt, sugar can last forever if it is kept away from moisture and heat. And we are not just talking about pure sugar. Granulated white sugar, raw sugar, brown sugar, brown sugar, icing sugar and substitutes last indefinitely. Although its texture may change, the sugar never completely expires. Do you feel like eating too much sugar? 

Strong alcohol

Alcohol is “immortal” only when it is stored in a cool place and has not been opened. So, no, you can not open a bottle of Barcadi and drink it years later. After being exposed to the air, it will lose its aromas and structure due to oxidation. Alcohol can also be affected if exposed to extreme weather conditions, intense light, or heat. According to Wired magazine , alcohol denatures “in part because the temperature can break down a type of organic molecule called terpene.”

Pure vanilla extract

The alcohol in the pure vanilla extract helps extend the shelf life, provided it is pure. Vanilla extract imitations do not contain as much alcohol as their pure equivalent. Thus, as long as your extract is pure and hermetically sealed, so that no bacteria can enter the bottle, you can enjoy it for as long as you want – at least until exhaustion. 

Uncooked white rice

Whether you are storing your white rice in the pantry, refrigerator or freezer, you will never need to replace it. White, wild, arborio, jasmine and basmati rice have an indefinite shelf life when they are free of contaminants. Complete rice is an exception because of its higher oil content and will not keep as long. Be careful though: if the rice is cooked and you plan to keep it for later, you may be subject to food poisoning.

Dr. Kanika Singla

Ph.D., IARI Postdoctoral Scholar, UC Berkeley

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