According to University of Arizona researcher Timothy Jones, that’s a big reason why North American families throw away 40% of what they buy. Old doesn’t necessarily mean no good. Here’s a list of foods that’ll outlast you:
Honey. It made headlines when archaeologists discovered a jar in King Tut’s tomb that was still edible! MicrobiologistSebastian Zaat says bacteria can’t grow in honey because it contains a protein called defensin-1 – which outperforms many man-made antibiotics. Honey can crystallize. The fix: Just set the jar in warm water, and stir until the grainy parts dissolve.
Sugar. Janice Revell started a website called StillTasty.com to help people make good choices about using food. She says that bacteria can’t survive in sugar because of its very low moisture content. If your brown sugar is more like a rock, zap it for one minute in the microwave on low.
Pure vanilla extract. It’s mostly alcohol, so bugs don’t stand a chance. At least, as long as you keep the bottle capped to preventevaporation.
Salt and vinegar are so effective at staying germ-free that they’re used to preserve other things like meat and vegetables.
Rice. Again, because of the low moisture content, uncooked rice will last indefinitely. The exception is brown rice. It contains enough oil to support bacteria growth, and will turn rancid over time. So, you should use it within three months – or freeze it for up to one year.[via tesh]