9 Food Products That Surprisingly Have No Expiration Date

Written by Indrani Karmakar  • 

In a world where everything perishes with time, it’s good to know that certain things have a longer shelf life than we imagined. Who would have thought that the things we consumed every day, like rice, sugar, and salt would stay perfectly edible for centuries! Here in this article are a few edible goods that are either found in nature or processed the right way to retain their nutrition for a long time. However, this is only if the food product is in its natural state. If you purchase these edible goods from stores, and the package has a label for the expiry date, we wouldn’t recommend ignoring it, as that can harm your health. The product might be packed with preservatives that may go bad after the designated time, so always follow the date on the labels. Read on to know them all!

1. Soy Sauce

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Even after opening, soy sauce has a shelf life of at least three years (1). Depending on factors, including the kind of soy sauce, the method of processing, the quality, and the temperature at which it was stored, the storage time of soy sauce kept in an air-tight bottle can be significantly extended. Soy sauce is prepared through a natural fermentation process that might take many months or even up to two years to get prepared. Only these soy sauces have a shelf life of more than three years. However, you should avoid brands that have quick expiry dates since they use chemicals to hasten the fermentation process.

2. Maple Syrup

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The Massachusetts Maple Producers Association claims that maple syrup in its original, unopened bottle has an unlimited shelf life (2). It may be used for years, even after being opened, if it is stored in a cool, dark place like a refrigerator.

3. Dried Kidney Beans

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Research proved that even after 30 years in storage, dried kidney beans altered in appearance, but were still perfectly usable and edible. The researchers found that dried beans, including kidney beans, had a shelf life of approximately 30 years when properly stored (3). That is a long, long time, isn’t it!

4. Salt

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Since salt is a naturally occurring mineral rather than a manufactured good, it can never go bad (4). The material can absorb water rapidly, consolidating into a single massive boulder. But in the end, salt will always be salt. Keep in mind, though, that iodized salt has a shelf life of up to five years (5). Although you may still use the salt after this time as regular table salt, the iodine will have evaporated, and the salt will no longer be as effective.

5. Vinegar

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Although white vinegar does not have a set expiration date, it is nevertheless important to keep it in a cool, dry place. Vinegar may be preserved for a long time if kept in its original, sealed container in a cool, dark area away from direct sunlight (6). Because vinegar can kill bacteria naturally, it can protect itself from the process of decomposition. However, you need to make sure that you keep contact with air and moisture to a minimum and do not use it for long once the package is opened.

6. Sugar

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Sugar, like salt, may be kept for an infinitely long time if it is kept dry and in an air-tight container. Sugar also retains all of its delicious qualities even if it transforms into a rock after ingesting enough atmospheric moisture (7). It also works in other forms of sugar, such as brown sugar and powdered sugar. They have similar storage lives as white sugar.

7. Honey

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Due to the chemical composition of honey, it is a one-of-a-kind food that can be stored indefinitely. In addition, honey won’t go bad if it is not exposed to air and water and if you purchase it in a sealed container. Honey was discovered in jars by researchers digging in an Egyptian pyramid. On average, these jars were 2,000–3,000 years old (8). Archaeologists even tried some and said it was still delicious. In subsequent years, Georgian archaeologists unearthed honey that was 5,500 years old (9).

8. Rice

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The ideal storage temperature for uncooked rice is between 4.5 and 5.5 degrees Celsius (10). Storing rice in a glass jar or a food-grade plastic container is recommended for long storage. Rice maintained in these settings keeps its flavor and nutritional value for as long as 30 years.

9. Milk Powder

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If stored in an airtight container, powdered milk won’t go bad for the longest time. Powdered milk that has been prepared by all the necessary health regulations can be kept for a lot longer without deteriorating in quality. However, you must check for any funny smell or taste if the milk seems off to you after getting mixed with water.

It is amusing to know that these foods can pass the test of time! However, if you purchase these products from a shop, you will probably notice the label that states the expiry date. This is because the product is packaged with preservatives, or is processed with additional chemicals. So, which of these products amused you the most? Let us know in the comments section.

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