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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.

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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. On the other hand, here are 16 foods you should never keep in your pantry.

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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.

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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. Don’t miss these other surprising foods that never expire.

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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.

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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 11 more foods you’re probably storing wrong.

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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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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. These are the 12 fresh foods you should never store together.

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Deli meats


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

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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. Read up on these 26 other storage tips to make your food last longer.

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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. Now, make sure you also know the 13 foods you should never eat past the expiration date.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest