How to Store Pantry Items

Consult these storage techniques and guidelines* before cleaning out your pantry.

By Elizabeth Passarella
Bag of coffee beansJamie Chung   

Cereal
Pantry: 1 year (unopened); 3 months (open)

Chocolate, bar for baking
Pantry: 6 months

Chocolate chips
Pantry: 1 year

Cocoa
Pantry: Indefinitely (unopened); 1 year (open)

Coconut, shredded
Pantry: 1 year (unopened)
Freezer: 6 months (open)

Coffee, beans
Pantry: 1 year (unopened can); 4 months (unopened vacuum-packed bag); 2 weeks (open)
Note: Do not keep coffee beans in the refrigerator or freezer. Condensation and odors from other foods can damage the flavor.

Coffee, ground
Pantry: 1 year (unopened can); 4 months (unopened vacuum-packed bag); 1 week (open)
Note: Do not keep ground coffee in the refrigerator or freezer. Condensation and odors from other foods can damage the flavor.

Cornmeal
Pantry: 1 year (unopened and open)
Refrigerator: 1 year (unopened and open)

Cornstarch
Pantry: Indefinitely if kept in a dry place

Corn syrup
Pantry: 3 years

Dried fruits
Pantry: 6 months (unopened); 1 month (open)

 
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Quick Tip

Watercress

Supermarkets may carry watercress or a similar spicy green called upland cress (often labeled hydroponic cress); either is deliciously peppery.