12:00 PM EST, February 3, 2012
Take a close look at the spice jars in your kitchen, that salad dressing in your fridge and the cooking oil in your pantry. Most people think they stay fresh for a long time.
Kelsey Nixon, the host of the Cooking Channel's Kelsey's Essentials gave INSIDE EDITION the lowdown on what foods are always safe to eat and which aren't.
First up - not all sugars are equal.
"You have got two years with granulated sugar's shelf life when it is stored properly in an air tight seal. Confection sugar is not that far behind - you have got about 18 months. Now brown sugar, because there is more moisture in it, it goes much, much quicker. Even after four months that sugar is going to start to harden, the sugars will crystalize," says Nixon.
And who knew white rice stays fresh much longer than brown rice.
Nixon said, "You're going to get two years of shelf life on your white rice as long as it is stored in an air tight container. But when it comes to brown rice you've only about about six to 12 months before both the nutrients in that rice start deteriorating and the flavor and texture."
Most spices stay fresh for only six months.
"It's not gonna kill you, per se. It's not going to make you sick, but what happens is spices really deteriorate in quality and flavor the longer the time passes," said Nixon.
And that peanut butter you store on the shelf, you may need to toss it.
"Peanut butter can be stored out of the fridge for three months. After that it's got to go in the refridgerator," Nixon said.
When it comes to oil, olive beats vegetable hands down. Once opened, vegetable oil is good for only about six months but olive oil will last for two years.
With salad dressing, once you open it, the clock starts ticking. You've only got about three months before it expires.
And with most food, if you want it to last, the golden rule is: seal it and freeze it.
Butter, wrapped in foil and sealed in plastic will keep in the freezer for four months.
And did you know you can freeze flour? And it will last for years.
So is there anything that literally lasts forever?
Canned goods do, right? Nope, on average just one year.
Dry pasta comes close, stored properly, it'll be good for at least two years.
There is actually only one food that will truly last forever - honey.
Nixon told INSIDE EDITION, "Honey should be referred to as a wonder food. There is not many things that can take this claim and honey will last indefinitely."