Almost every kitchen pantry contains basic baking essentials, but we often overlook the expiry rules of those items. You need to know how long they remain fresh and how to store them for better use. Here’s how to prolong the shelf lives of different baking ingredients.
Generally, all-purpose white flour is considered a non-perishable ingredient. But, if not stored properly, flour only stays fresh for just three months. So, always transfer your store-bought flour to an airtight container or a storage container to extend its expiry date for two years. Alternative types like almond or oat flour spoil faster than white ones but when stored in an airtight container, can stay fresh for up to one year.
Granulated white sugar has an almost unlimited shelf life, especially if stored in a dark, dry place. It acts as a preservative by itself and keeps foods like peanut butter, jelly, etc. good for a long time. But brown sugar acts differently when exposed to air and tends to get hardened. So, it’s better to store it in an airtight container and to use it within two years to get maximum flavor and freshness. The same rule goes for powdered or confectioners’ sugar too.
Baking soda is not just a baking staple but also has a range of uses in your household. But unfortunately, this highly useful life hack ingredient has a shorter shelf life. An opened box of baking soda can last for only six months. To keep it fresh for a bit longer, store it in a sealed container in a dry cabinet in your pantry.
Salt comes in many different variations. While the kitchen staple regular salt can last for a lifetime, flavored or iodized salt can go bad faster due to the other ingredients mixed within it. Though most types of salt can last for a long time, it’s a better idea to go for a dry container or wooden salt cellar to keep it fresh and healthy for a longer period of time.
A few drops of vanilla extract can take any dessert recipe up a notch and it generally has an unlimited shelf life. A bottle of vanilla extract can last for years when stored in a dry, cool, dark place. But it’s better to smell it every time before using it. If that regular sweet scent is absent, it’s time to replace it with a new bottle.
It is another baking pantry staple that can last for a long time. But still, cornstarch can get a funky odor, discolored, or sour taste, and then it’s best to chuck it in the trash. You’ll need proper storage with minimal exposure to light and moisture to keep it staying fresher for longer.