Moving Tips: Packing & Moving Food

You’re packing & moving! Now is a good time to check the expiration date on food you have stored. You might be amazed at what has already expired in your refrigerator and cupboards.
Moving Tip: Here are some guidelines to help you check those dates and throw out those items that are past their shelf life.

  • Coffee, canned ground – Unopened: 2 years — Opened 1 month refrigerated.
  • Coffee, gourmet — Beans: 3 weeks in paper bag, longer in vacuum-seal bag (after this time, color or flavor may be affected, but product is still generally safe to consume) — Ground: 1 week in sealed container
  • Diet soda (and soft drinks in plastic bottles) — Unopened: 3 months from purchase by date on packaging.
  • Soda, regular — Unopened: In cans or glass bottles, 9 months from purchase by date on packaging.
  • Dried pasta — 12 months
  • Frozen dinners — Unopened: 12 to 18 months
  • Frozen vegetables — Unopened: 18 to 24 months — Opened: 1 month
  • Juice, bottled (apple or cranberry) – Unopened: 8 months from production date — Opened: 7 to 10 days
  • Ketchup — Unopened: 1 year (after this time, color or flavor may be affected, but product is still generally safe to consume) —
  • Opened or used: 4 to 6 months (after this time, color or flavor may be affected, but product is still generally safe to consume)
  • Maple syrup, real or imitation — 1 year
  • Maraschino cherries — Unopened: 3 to 4 years — Opened: 2 weeks at room temperature; 6 months refrigerated
  • Mayonnaise — Unopened: Indefinitely — Opened: 2 to 3 months from purchase by date on packaging (after this time, color or flavor may be affected, but product is still generally safe to consume)
  • Mustard — 2 years (after this time, color or flavor may be affected, but product is still generally safe to consume)
  • Olives, jarred (green with pimento) — Unopened: 3 years — Opened: 3 months
  • Olive oil — 2 years from manufacture date (after this time, color or flavor may be affected, but product is still generally safe to consume)
  • Peanuts — Unopened: 1 to 2 years unless frozen or refrigerated — Opened: 1 to 2 weeks in airtight container
  • Peanut butter, natural — 9 months
  • Peanut butter, processed (Jif) — Unopened: 2 years — Opened: 6 months; refrigerate after 3 months
  • Pickles — Unopened: 18 months — Opened: No conclusive data. Discard if slippery or excessively soft.
  • Protein bars (Power Bars) — Unopened: 10 to 12 months. Check “best buy” date on the package.
  • Rice, white — 2 years from date on box or date of purchase
  • Salad dressing, bottled — Unopened: 12 months after purchase by date on packaging — Opened: 9 months refrigerated
  • Steak sauce — 33 months (after this time, color or flavor may be affected, but product is still generally safe to consume)
  • Tabasco — 5 years, stored in a cool, dry place
  • Tea bags (Lipton)  — Use within 2 years of opening the package
  • Tuna, canned — Unopened: 1 year from purchase date — Opened: 3 to 4 days, not stored in can
  • Soy sauce, bottled — Unopened: 2 years — Opened: 3 months (after this time, color or flavor may be affected, but product is still generally safe to consume)
  • Vinegar — 42 months
  • Worcestershire sauce — Unopened: 5 to 10 years (after this time, color or flavor may be affected, but product is still generally safe to consume) — -Opened: 2 years
Bonus Moving Tip:
  • Beer – unopened: 4 months

Read more moving tipsPacking your kitchen for movingHow to pack wine for moving, andPackaging & moving perishables.

Comments

  1. Eek, another reason why mayonnaise is scary!
    Some of those food timelines are really surprising!

    • KimTucker says:

      I’m sure we’ve all kept things longer than we should doing the sniff test or looking for mold. According to this list some things go bad well before there are visible signs of yuk. The ones that are really scary are the things that last for year and years. Makes you wonder what in them to help keep them for so long. ewww

  2. This is extremely useful information, not just for a move of course. I’m going to save and tape the list to the inside of the pantry in my new house (which I’m moving to with help from All Reasons). I’m also plan to date everything I open and keep in the refrigerator. I do that with food I freeze, but haven’t done so for ketchup, mayo, etc. in the fridge.

    • KimTucker says:

      Glad you thought the list was helpful. Our office staff found the list to be very useful and interesting. I personally cleaned out my fridge last weekend.

  3. I agree that some of suggested times listed are surprising. I would never keep olive oil or rice in my pantry for 2 years! I know from cooking for clients & seeing their kitchens & pantry that olive oil can go bad quite easily, especially if kept next to your stove top or other heat source and exposed to prolonged sunlight, as from from a skylight or garden window. The only true test is to smell it. If it smells “off” an any way, get rid of it! It should have a sweet aroma, not unlike milk. Once opened, I don’t think it lasts more than a couple of months. Unless you use a lot of olive oil, or any cooking oil for that matter, buying in smaller quantities is a smater way to shop. As for rice, especially brown rice, I keep it in my freezer to avoid any spoilage. Again, if the rice smells “off” in any way, throw it out. “Boxed” products probably have preseratives in the mix, but standard brands of regualr, plain rice do not so plan accordingly.

    • Mary, you have some very good tips and coming from a Chef you would know. I never thought of putting rice in the freezer. I have heard olive oil should be kept in a cool dark spot rather than on top of your counter and to keep oil in a dark bottle can help. Do you think a dark bottle makes a difference?

  4. This is really useful information not only when moving but also for general ‘spring cleaning’ of cabinets and fridge. Too bad we usually leave this for when we move. I’m going to use these guidelines for keeping items in my pantry or refrigerator to be fresher and more current. Thanks!

    • I went through my own cupboard based on the list and was surprised at how many things I had that were past their shelf life. It’s hard to throw out a 1/2 used bottle of something but perhaps this is why people get sick! We are all eating expired food… just a thought! Glad you find the list helpful.

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