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When you are prepping to survive after a collapse, it’s easy to do a little panic buying. All the experts tell you to stockpile foods your family eats. It’s also advised you store a variety of food to prevent food fatigue and keep things fresh. However, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
Stockpiling food can definitely be a strain on the budget which means you want to get the most value for your buck. You don’t want to buy a bunch of food only to have it go bad. Not all pantry items are going to last for years. There are a few things that you probably have in your pantry that will go bad.
Don’t buy the following items if they are not a part of your typical food rotation. Perishable pantry items need to be rotated and used to keep them from spoiling and wasting your hard-earned money. You’ll want to use the FIFO rule. First in, first out. It’s not a recommendation, it’s crucial to keeping your food supplies fresh.
Some pantry staples that are past their use by dates aren’t going to be toxic if you do eat them. They might be stale, gloppy, or just taste bad. There is a common phrase; when in doubt, throw it out. If you are in a true survival situation, consuming rotted food can make you incredibly ill. You can’t afford to be sick.
Use by and best by dates are not necessarily set in stone, but you do need to use your best judgement. Proper storage can extend your food past the best by date, but the list below includes things that are not going to hold for years and still be safe to eat.
The following list includes some of the items you’ll want to buy sparingly with the understanding they will not hold forever.
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1. Vegetable Oil
Vegetable oil can go rancid after six months. It will taste funky and possibly fishy. Heat is one of the main killers of vegetable oil.
2. Brown Rice
Crackers go stale very fast. Now, you could use stale crackers for crumbs, but they aren’t going to taste great. They can mold as well. If a cracker is molded, toss it out.
Cornmeal can lose it’s flavor after a year on the shelf. You can extend the shelf life with proper storage. Always smell and inspect any food. If it doesn’t look right, don’t use it. Cornmeal that isn’t yellow anymore but sporting a pretty green or blue tone means it molded at some point and should not be used.
Mayonnaise is risky. It’s something you can store, but only a jar at a time. The eggs are just not going to hold up.
6. Ranch Dressing
Ranch dressing and other salad dressings are not going to hold more than a year or so. They are nice luxuries, but they are not critical to your diet. Spend your money on other food.
7. Baking Powder
Baking powder doesn’t necessarily go bad, but it will lose it’s active ingredient, meaning it will fizzle. It won’t give the recipe the fluff you’re looking for.
Yeast will lose it’s ability to function as expected. Bread recipes won’t rise. You can store your yeast in the freezer to give it extra time, but it may not work. Do a quick test of your stored yeast. Add it to warm water or milk and wait a few minutes to see if it is active.
Cereal will go stale. Really stale and might actually become moldy if it’s been exposed to any moisture.
Ketchup will turn a dark maroon color. It can separate and sour. Two years tops is your best bet. It’s something you can rotate easily into your fridge.
11. Brown Sugar
Brown sugar is extremely difficult to store on a normal basis. It hardens quickly. You should plan for about six months. Yes, there are some tricks to keeping it usable, but using white sugar or molasses is an option.
12. Packaged Cookies
Packaged cookies—yes, sadly they won’t last forever. Anything with fat in it (butter) can go rancid. You would be better off storing ingredients to make a cookie with the hopes of acquiring fresh butter.
Shortening, like Crisco doesn’t hold up for long. If you have a sealed can, the storage life is eight months.
Coffee is a tricky one. It isn’t going to spoil, but it’s going to lose it’s flavor. You could store instant coffee instead if you don’t want to give up your caffeine.
15. Canned Soda
Canned soda does not last forever. If you’ve got a Diet Coke addiction, you can’t stockpile enough to last you five years. It’s just not going to hold. The taste will be different. There is also the chance the corrosive ingredients will eventually erode the seal on the can and the liquid will leak.
Nuts can go rancid. The fat in nuts makes them prone to turning rancid.
17. Potato Chips
Potato chips are a given. They go stale and taste horrible after they have turned. Don’t waste the space on your shelf storing them. And they offer no nutritional value.
18. Commercially Canned Tomato Products
Commercially canned tomato products are dicey. They are acidic and the cans tend to bloat and leak, which is an immediate no go when it comes to eating them. They will store for years, but you’ll want to do a good job of rotating and adding a fresh supply.
Anything dairy is an obvious no. But you can choose to store powdered or freeze-dried products.
20. Maple Syrup
When left unopened and stored in a cool and dark location, maple syrup can last for years. Once it’s opened, you might get a year or two, but you’ll need to watch for mold. Anything floating on the top is bad news and it should be tossed.
There are a lot of different opinions on what is okay to push past the limits and what isn’t. One key rule to remember is the difference between spoiled and stale. Stale is just kind of gross to eat. The food might be hard and lack the original flavor and nutrition.
Spoiled is dangerous. Spoiled means bacteria which can be very harmful. Use proper rotation to keep your favorites as fresh as possible for the day you have to rely on your food stores.
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