Your kitchen pantry is undoubtedly overflowing with all sorts of things you don't need. Every inch, crevice, and space is used to keep items like BBQ sauce, canned beans, and seaweed snacks.
Despite our best efforts, not every item in our pantry is fresh; some have gone bad or have passed their use-by date. The following nine categories of products should be thrown out if they are in your pantry or ours.
The shelf life of cooking oils like canola and olive oil is not as lengthy as you may believe. According to the USDA, they have a four-month shelf life when kept closed. But they can deteriorate much more quickly when exposed to heat, light, and air.
Take a deep breath to detect unpleasant aromas and determine if your oils are still in excellent condition. The oil is beyond its prime or may deteriorate if you notice a stale scent or remind you of chemicals, fermenting stink, or even crayons. Throw out that oil right now.
If you enjoy experimenting with new recipes and are an experimental home cook, you may store a variety of dried herbs and spices that have only been used a few times. Although dried herbs and spices are theoretically always good, their flavor will deteriorate with time.
The USDA estimates that whole spices can survive up to four years, compared to two to three years for ground spices. Herbs that have been around for longer than those periods should be thrown out because they won't improve the flavor of your food.
Do you bake often, or did you start doing so as a pastime, like so many of us? In either case, your cupboard is probably filled with flour sacks that have only been partially used. Perhaps it's time to put those in the compost container. The average shelf life of flour, when kept at room temperature, is eight months.
However, since they include more fat, some flours, such as whole-wheat, gluten-free, and nut-based, have a shorter shelf life. If you purchased your flour a few years back, throw it out.