Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Nov 5, 2012 03:39 PM

Looking for a definitive source on shelf life of pantry staples

I sometimes find myself Googling the shelf life of some pantry staple when trying to decide how much to buy, when to throw out, etc. (Recent example: rolled and steel-cut oats...anyone got any info on these?) But what would really help is a definitive source (ideally a website) that lists the shelf life (and maybe also "emergency shelf life") of various staples that I could turn to when I have these random questions. I haven't been able to find such a source. Does anyone have any leads? Thanks in advance!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. This website looks to be pretty useful You just enter the food into the search box and some options come up that you can click on. I did one for oatmeal and it resulted in this

    1 Reply
    1. re: juliejulez

      Julie, this website is great! This is exactly what I was looking for. For some reason I didn't get a notification in my email that there was a reply to my question, so forgive the late response. Anyway, thanks!

    2. I would take the '1 year' on that website for most grains and beans as 'indefinite'. I would also give it a look and smell test. Bugs? toss. Musty smelling? toss, etc. I might even cook a small amount and give it a taste test.

      There's a difference between things going bad or spoiling, and things just getting old and loosing optimal taste. Going rancid falls somewhere in between.

      1 Reply
      1. re: paulj

        Yeah, I agree actually. Most manufacturers aren't going to tell you the true expiration date because they wouldn't want you to experience the product at sub-par quality. Plus they want you to replace it sooner. But I actually do think that 1 year figure is relevant. That's the time by which I plan to use something up, unless it's in long-term "in case of zombie apocalypse" storage.