According to Food Standards Australia, use-by and best-before dates guide how long food can be kept before it begins to deteriorate or may become unsafe to eat. Foods labelled with a use-by date are illegal to sell after this date due to the health risk. Dairy and meat products, such as milk, shaved meats and chicken, are notorious for spoiling quickly from the build-up of bacteria.
Best-before dates are typically safe to consume after they have passed, although likely at the cost of quality, i.e. flavour, colour, and texture. Unlike use-by dates, food can still be sold legally after a best-before date so long as the food is not damaged, deteriorated or perished.
Long-lasting food products with a shelf life of over two years do not require either of these labels, as many long shelf life foods retain their quality for many years and are likely to be consumed well before they spoil. Surprisingly, individual portions of ice cream or ice confections do not require a date mark, despite their dairy content.
Food products are also given a 4-digit code (a Julian Date) indicating the year and the day in the calendar.
Of course, all food products can benefit from proper storage, with many given instructions to ‘keep refrigerated’ and ‘store in a cool, dark place’. Manufacturers must include these instructions if a food requires specific storage conditions.
So with all that in mind, what are the long-lasting food products to keep in your cupboard. Whether for emergencies, last-minute recipe substitutions, or just a midnight snack, long shelf life foods are an ingenious way to stock up the pantry without worrying about expiration dates and storage conditions.
With a few of these long-lasting food products in the cupboard, you’ll be ready to ride out any scenario.
Wait, didn’t we just say that dairy products are notorious for spoiling quickly? Not NATUREDAY A2+ Probiotics Formulated Full Cream Milk Powder.
How long does powdered milk last in the cupboard? Containing 850g, giving you 24 glasses per can, a canister of A2+ milk powder can last three years.
Delicious and nutritious, a single glass of NATUREDAY A2+ requires just five scoops or approximately 35g of powder. Add five heaped scoops to 110ml of water, stir until dissolved, then add another 115ml of water before one final stir.
In that one glass is an extensive list of nutrients.
- 8.4g of protein, 72% of an adult’s daily calcium needs.
- Vitamin D3 and Vitamin A to assist with its absorption.
- Magnesium, high levels of Vitamin E and C.
- Each glass of NATUREDAY A2 + milk contains an award-winning combination of HOWARU Lactobacillus acidophilus and NCFM + Bifidobacterium HN019 probiotics.
The combination of these two award-winning probiotics is what makes our milk powder A2+. Together, they create a roadmap towards optimal health, effectively enhancing your digestion and absorption of nutrients, including dairy protein, vitamins and mineral elements. Suitable for the whole family to enjoy every day, NATUREDAY A2+ milk elevates your everyday dairy experience to “Dairy Plus”.
How long does powdered milk last once made? Once it’s reconstituted, NATUREDAY will last for up three days refrigerated. So you can always prebatch a bottle of milk if you prefer the old fashioned way.
Oh, and if you’re worried about dairy digestive discomfort, A2+ milk can relieve these symptoms, unlike regular milk, which contains its annoying brother, the A1 β-casein protein. Unlike A2, when the A1 protein is broken down inside the human body, it is converted to a peptide called BCM-7 (beta-casein Morphin) is produced, the main culprit behind gastrointestinal issues.
Thanks to the selective breeding of the KiwiCross cows on NATUREDAY farms, each cow is 100% genetically verified to produce only A2 beta-casein. Their quality control is so stringent that only 1 in 8 cows receives a seal of approval.
2. Dried Pasta and White Rice
Pasta is virtually indestructible. Although some pasta is made with eggs, requiring refrigeration to avoid them perishing, dried pasta, made from semolina flour and water, lasts for up to 2 years past the best before date.
How long does dried pasta last in the cupboard? 1 to 2 years past the “best before” date.
White Rice is another popular long shelf-life food. Unlike brown rice with its high oil content, white rice, while dry, will last forever. So long as you store your rice in airtight containers, nothing can harm it.
Just keep an eye out for moisture or the sudden appearance of tiny black bugs, known as rice weevils or flour bugs, among the rice grains.
How long does white rice last in the cupboard? Forever.
3. Peanut Butter
Provided it remains unopened, peanut butter can last for two years in the cupboard. However, the oil will separate and dry out over time, leading to a drop in flavour.
How long does peanut butter last in the cupboard? 2 years.
4. Canned Tuna
Canned tuna is packed with broth, oil, or water, occasionally seasoning before its vacuum-sealed to prevent leakage and contamination. Even the cans themselves are washed before being cooked and sterilised at high temperatures to remove all traces of live bacteria. As a result, canned tuna can remain on shelves for many years, as long as the can is in good condition.
Canned tuna that is damaged or swollen could indicate that the contents are no longer safe to consume.
Also, canned tuna will last only a few days in the refrigerator once it’s opened, so eat up.
How long does canned tuna last in the cupboard? 3 to 5 years past the “best before” date.
Raw honey is an incredibly hardy, long-lasting food. Although a typical honeybee will make only half a teaspoon of honey during its entire lifetime, you can still eat honey even decades after jarring or bottling if left unopened. There’s a whole bunch of science behind honey’s eternal shelf life, but essentially “its acidity, its lack of water and the presence of hydrogen peroxide—work in perfect harmony, allowing the sticky treat to last forever.”
In other words, “very few bacteria or microorganisms can survive in an environment like that, they just die.” It’s such a hostile environment for bacteria that while excavating ancient tombs in Egypt’s pyramids, archaeologists found pots of honey dating back almost 3,000 years.
However, honey will begin to crystalise after a few years, though this does not mean it has spoiled. Simply place it in a warm area to soften and transform it back.
Manuka honey, for example, requires a UMF® rating, referring to its “non-peroxide” activity. This rating guarantees the unique non-peroxide antibacterial activity to the level indicated on the label. Only manuka honey that has been produced and manufactured per the rigorous quality standards features the UMF® mark.
- 0 – 4: Not detectable – therefore, cannot display the UMF® logo.
- 5 – 9: General wellbeing.
- 10 – 14: Suitable for therapeutic usage.
- 15 and higher: Superior levels with very high activity levels for therapeutic usage.
The higher the rating, the greater its therapeutic benefit.
Produced by bees from the nectar of the native New Zealand Manuka tree (Leptospermum scoparium). Manuka honey is the first honey to be so extensively researched and recognised for its therapeutic benefits, going far beyond the delicious sweetness of traditional honey.
As long as your honey is kept out of direct sunlight, not exposed to direct heat and isn’t frozen, it’ll likely last forever.
How long does honey last in the cupboard? Indefinite.