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11 Foods You’re Throwing Out Too Soon

Don’t trash these common ingredients quite yet—they have incredible lifespans.

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Dried pasta

If you cook and eat it after a decade, for instance, it may lose a bit of flavor, but unopened dried pasta is edible indefinitely. Rather than let your dry pasta sit in the pantry, turn it into one of our 75 best pasta recipes.

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Canned beans on a spoonHandmadePictures/Shutterstock

Canned or dried beans

They’ll be ready to cook even if they’ve been stashed in the corners of your pantry for years. Dried beans may need a bit more soaking after long periods of time. Here are 100 ways to turn a can of beans into a delicious dish.

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White vinegar on the wooden table topfocal point/Shutterstock

Vinegar

The high acidity acts as a natural preservative that thwarts germ growth, so it can also last indefinitely. In some varieties other than white distilled, color alterations or cloudiness may develop after time, but this doesn’t affect taste or quality. Here are more surprising foods that never expire.

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Table salt spilling from a measuring spoonMichelle Lee Photography/Shutterstock

Salt

It’s essentially a stone. Just as granite won’t become infested with mold and bacteria, neither will your favorite edible “rock star” condiment. By the way, here’s a guide to different types of salt. from table to fleur de sel.

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Jar with vanilla extract and sticks on wooden boardAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Vanilla

Because of its high alcohol content, it can keep indefinitely, although the flavor and aroma will be best within five years. Keep away from light and heat, but do not refrigerate, even after opening, or the extract will be damaged. Here are some other foods you’re spoiling by keeping in the fridge.

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Worcestershire Sauce; Shutterstock ID 682301911Michelle Lee Photography/Shutterstock

Worcestershire sauce

Like many wines, this sauce gets better with age. The flavor intensifies as the liquid evaporates. Worcestershire should last for up to 10 years unopened and two to three years opened if stored in a cool, dark place. Here are some foods you shouldn’t eat past the expiration date.

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eggs in cartonPiotr Swat/Shutterstock

Eggs


Refrigerated, uncooked eggs stay fresh for up to three weeks after the “sell by” date. Most eggs are spritzed with mineral oil, which seals the porous shell and makes it less susceptible to bacteria. Since cooking washes away the coating, eat refrigerated hard-boiled eggs within a week.

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Group of colorful peppers on the wooden background. Viewed from above.; Shutterstock ID 156793841; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of HomeAGfoto/Shutterstock

Peppers

All peppers contain a gene that prevents their cell structures from breaking down and typically last a week in the refrigerator. Green peppers stay fresh even longer than other kinds—about two to three weeks—because of their low sugar content. Toss limp or wrinkled peppers.

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Deli meatsDiana Taliun/Shutterstock

Deli meats

Unopened, prepackaged deli meats last about two to three weeks from the time you buy them. Vacuum-sealed pouches protect the meat from oxygen, preventing bacteria growth. After opening, eat deli meats within three to five days.

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CarrotsLiliGraphie/shutterstock

Carrots

These crunchy vegetables have a low respiration rate, which is how fast a plant metabolizes its carbohydrates, proteins and fats to stay alive after harvest. Carrots stay fresh for two to three weeks in the crisper drawer. Just cut off the green tops, which steal nutrients. Check out these other tricks that’ll help you keep your fruits and veggies fresh longer.

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Juicy grapefruits on wooden background; Shutterstock ID 398660866Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Citrus fruits

Thick skin protects grapefruit, oranges and other citrus fruits from spoiling for two to six weeks. If you spot mold, peel and inspect the inner flesh, which is still edible if the mold hasn’t penetrated the outer skin. Toss if a finger easily breaks the skin. Next, this is how you know these 10 foods have gone bad.

Originally Published on Reader's Digest

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