Have the Nutrients Expired in Your Food?

Olive oil should be stored properly.
Olive oil should be stored properly.

When Nutrients Expire

Buying in giant sizes to save money may not always be the best idea. Nutrients will expire, leaving you with food that has little or no nutritional value. It would help if manufacturers labeled - with an expiration date - the oils, teas, spices, and other foods we buy - but they do not. It's up to us to use foods before they expire. Storing them properly, in the meantime, will help retain as much of the nutrients as possible. Listed below are 6 foods that you may have in your kitchen right now and when they expire.

Expiration for 6 Foods:

1 - OliveOil - Olive oil loses 40% of its antioxidant properties after 6 months. It you use small quantities of olive oil, it's best to buy small bottles. Store it in a cabinet because the oil is sensitive to heat, light and oxygen. There is no way to know how long a bottle sat on a supermarket shelf - but purchasing a brand in a green glass bottle offers some protection from degradation due to light. (see link below for olive oil and its weight loss benefits)

2 - Green Tea - Green tea loses about 32% of its antioxidant properties (known as catechins) after 6 months. Green tea helps decrease the risk of several types of cancer. The tea is sensitive to both light and oxygen. If you use tea bags, remove them from the box and store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Loose tea should also be stored in a sealed container. I often buy loose tea in cans which helps keep them fresh. (There are so many kinds of green tea. For links on how to pick a Chinese green tea or a Japanese Green tea, see links below)

3 - Dried Spices and Herbs - Store all spices and herbs out of direct light and not near the stove - take them out of the cabinet when you are ready to use them. When they lose their vibrant color they are no longer nutrient-rich. Taste and aroma should be evident when using. Glass bottles are best because air can penetrate plastic. Capsaicin in chili powder begins to lose its nutritional value when you open the bottle, and will continue to do so for 9 months. When fresh, it can help fight certain cancers and contribute to weight loss. Ideally, it is best to buy whole spices and grind them as you need them. (For kitchen herbs and spices that aid digestion, see the link below)

4 - Potatoes - Root cellars were at one time used to store potatoes. In reading a homesteading book I read that potatoes can be stored for about 6 months. Unfortunately, farmers may keep potatoes for up to 5 months before shipping them. However, on the bright side, they will retain Vitamin C, which does not begin to decline until after about 8 months. Store your potatoes at home in a paper bag in a cool dark place and eat within a few weeks. New potatoes (those small ones) often have a bit more vitamin C. Note: Potatoes are heavily sprayed with pesticides and many are genetically modified (GM). It's best to buy organic.

5 - Berry Spreads/Jams - It's best to store berry jams in the fridge. Blueberry jam has anthocyanins (flavonoids) which are anti-inflammatory properties, and antioxidants which help preserve memory. Blueberry jam loses 23% of its benefits after 2 months. Strawberry lasts longer, and loses 12% of its benefits after 6 months. Berried Jams made without added sugar retain nutrients longer.

6 - Grains - Enriched grains begin to degrade almost immediately, by as much as 50%, after being exposed to light. Riboflavin in enriched pasta can degrade by as much as 80% after 3 months. This means all those boxes of pasta stored in the cupboard, may have little nutritional value. If you stock up on pasta, transfer it to opaque containers and away from the stove. The same with the enriched rices. Brown rice, however, should be stored in the refrigerator because it has a bit of oil.

See links below for additional information:

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Comments 47 comments

TheListLady profile image

TheListLady 6 years ago from New York City

So true about olive oil. I have a friend that buys massive quantities but after awhile it doesn't smell good and I have to say - never buy it in a plastic bottle. Ugh!

Thanks for this reminder about teas and spices - nothing is forever. Rated up!


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

So true - none of this stuff lasts forever. And yes, I made the mistake once of buying olive oil in a plastic bottle. Yikes! Now I have a green bottle and it is excellent. When I first got a whiff - wow - but there is less of a wow each time I open it - so I take out a little and put it in a separate jar to use so I won't keep opening the bigger bottle. I think it helps.

Thanks you for your comment and rating.


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI

Wow this is really really interesting and necessary information! I had no idea about some of this stuff...especially the green tea! Fabulous information! RAted up for sure!


creativeone59 profile image

creativeone59 6 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

Thanks BK, I had to give you an Up, a useful and pretty darn awesome hub, chock with valuable information.Thank you so much for sharing. Godspeed.creativeone59


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida

Another good article. I would never have thought that jams and other preserves lost nutrients. Didn't think they had any to begin with. Another new piece of information. Lynda


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thank you so much theherbivorehippi - I'm glad you found the hub interesting. And I admit I just didn't think about tea expiring. Thanks for the up rating.

I'm glad you found the hub useful and awesome creativeone59. And thank you for the up rating.

It's true lmmartin - I just don't think much of the nutrients in preserves. But now that I am aware of plastics - I'd say to also buy these in glass jars.

Thanks for the great comments!


Philipo profile image

Philipo 6 years ago from Nigeria

This is very useful advice. Things I never knew. Thanks for sharing.


Spider Girl profile image

Spider Girl 6 years ago from the Web

Quite informative hub BkCreative, never ever knew this, rated useful!


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

You're welcome Philipo. Thank you for commenting.

And thank you Spider Girl. I'm glad you found the hub informative!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS

This is SUCH a valuable article, BkC! I'm becoming more and more aware of expiration and exhaustion of foods - of course it includes nutrients and flavor as well as quality. But you've brought me to realize I must clean out some old "staples" - which are not as stable as were once believed! I was in the habit of buying in quantities when we spent a lot of time out there, far from shopping. And I got into a habit of buying in bulk which I am learning to curb since I'm only cooking for one most of the time and I use more fresh produce than anything else. Love spices but my collection is largely over the hill & I must buy only small bottles. I do keep a lot of things in the fridge now. But I'm about to make some massive changes, even more than I've been doing! Thanks!


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

I'm so happy you found the hub worthwhile Nellianna. A lot of us are going through this too and realizing that we must get rid of all those spices, and not to buy giant sizes - and even to use use use what we buy. I think the paprika - even though in a small jar - I use so little of it - I am sure it is no longer good. I'm seeing more minute jars of herbs and spices and more whole spices so at least we can grind them fresh.

And I'm with you too, more fresh food which actually needs little in the way of all the herbs and spices.

Thanks so much for commenting.


2besure profile image

2besure 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

OK, now you have messed up my world. What are we supposed to do. The only way to guarantee that our food is fresh is to make it or grow it ourselves.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

So funny. You know 2besure - I'm thinking about how we can do this, along with Nellieanna above. Ok so growing would be ideal, but not doing that I'm thinking we can go with glass bottles because so many spices/herbs are sold in plastic - and we can buy whole spices and grind. I do buy paprika but really to beautify a dish but maybe I won't anymore because it goes to waste. Or maybe whatever we buy we can share so as to have small quantities - to use up quickly.

We must keep our lovely world together. Thanks for commenting!


VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 6 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

I have to bookmark this hub, BK! I didn't know about the life span of olive oil- I purchased a small plastic (ooops) bottle, but I have it in my bathroom, I use it for my skin. Have taken note of buying as much as I can in glass and not plastic bottles.

Thumbs up and off to bookmark your hub!


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks so much VioletSun - I like how you keep the olive oil in the bathroom for your skin. Beats all the toxic products. I'm glad you found the hub helpful.

Thank you for commenting!


timorous profile image

timorous 6 years ago from Me to You

Hello BkC. You're absolutely right. Nothing lasts forever. It amuses me no end to see what some people keep in their fridges and cupboards (not that I'm nosy or anything...).

Yes, you can easily tell if olive oil is past it's prime..if it smells a little bit 'off', it's gone. Jams don't last if they're not refrigerated. I've seen some ugly stuff in jam jars after only a couple of months.

I buy all my spices from a bulk food store..I only buy as much as I need of each one, to last me the next couple of months. Thanks for the info.


LivingFood profile image

LivingFood 6 years ago

This is good to know, fresh is always best, but I didn't know all that about olive oil...glad I always buy it in small containers. Thanks!


HealthyHanna profile image

HealthyHanna 6 years ago from Utah

This is something I don't want to think about but I know it is true... freshness does matter. And I know you can taste good nutrition... so if your food doesn't have much flavor, it probably doesn't have much nutritional value either.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

I'm glad you mentioned a bulk food store timorous. Here in NYC if I go into a store that is owned by someone say from the Middle East I can buy just what I need and want and the spices are always fresh - they grind only so much. And what a difference.

What I think I'll do now with this information LivingFood - if I am not using a product quickly enough for food prep well then I can make it in to a cosmetic - the green tea makes a good tonic (Just wrote a hub about that). And olive oil I can use for hair masques and skin cleansers.

It should taste good - you're right HealthyHanna - and smell good. I just noticed with my last bottle of olive oil - it's small in a green bottle and what an amazing aroma when I opened it - but already the aroma is fading and it's less than two week later. I'm going to look for more whole spices so I can grind them.

Thanks so much for the comments!


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

Another great hub from you. Green tea still become my favorite. I learn something new from this hub. I believe this hub useful for us. Thank you very much. Vote up.

Prasetio


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

You gave very important information and an interesting read. Thank you.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

You're welcome prasetio30. I'm glad you liked this hub too. I'm a big fan of green tea. Thank you for commenting.

Thank you too, Hello, hello. Glad you found the hub interesting. Thank you for writing!


cameciob profile image

cameciob 6 years ago

BkCreative, I make this mistake everytime: buy in bulk, or bigger quatntities just because it is cheaper that way. But I knew it it wasn't right. I just didn't know why. Well, now I know.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Same here cameciob! We are constantly told here to buy at the big bulk stores - to save money. Forgetting that nutrients are more important.

I'm becoming even more aware of everything I buy now.

Thanks for commenting!


MPG Narratives profile image

MPG Narratives 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

Hi BkC, I knew about olive oil but not about the other products, thanks for the info. I guess its not a saving if the products go off is it?


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware

Thanks BK, once again you have taught me well! ;-) Will have to remember to put the brown rice in the fridge from now on.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

Thanks for that valuable information! Who knew?


TheVacationLady profile image

TheVacationLady 6 years ago from Everywhere

You know....I never knew about this with the spices and herbs. I never really keep track of how long I have them. I must make more of a conscious effort to label this stuff. Thanks for the information!


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

You're welcome TheVacationLady - I have quite a few spices on the shelf that have been there for - well, I forgot how long - so probably no nutritional value. I'll have to buy less, or the whole spice and grind when needed.

Thanks for commenting!


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

Thanks so much for sharing these tips. I usually buy olive oil in big bottles simply because it seems more economical that way. But from now on, I think I'll stop being a cheapo and start buying smaller bottles.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

I've learned too Om Paramapoonya - No more olive oil sitting around even for a month. When I open a bottle what a wonderful aroma - but it is less each time I open the bottle. So, I'm with you, smaller bottles and use it. I wait for sales and then stock up on smaller bottles.

Thanks for writing!


Ironracer profile image

Ironracer 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Great info. I didn't even think about olive oil losing its nutrients until this article!


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

By the way Ironracer - I just happened to have the TV on a few days ago - and some show was talking about how olive oil and other foods expire - and quickly it seems. I know the first time I opened a bottle it smelled soooo good - but that lovely aroma disappeared quite soon after.

Thanks for commenting!


sanjeeta kk profile image

sanjeeta kk 6 years ago from India

Very informative post,we do need to be cautious about the food we eat. And learning a few extra things regarding the preservation and nutrients in it may go a long way.

Best wishes.


sanjeeta kk profile image

sanjeeta kk 6 years ago from India

Very informative post,we do need to be cautious about the food we eat. And learning a few extra things regarding the preservation and nutrients in it may go a long way.

Best wishes.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

So true sanjeeta kk! And don't know how old a product is when we buy it - means we have to be even more vigilant. There was just an investigative report here in New York on TV showing tons of expired packaged foods were on the shelves. I guess we have to do the sniff test as well.

Thanks for commenting!


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia

I must bookmark this. It's good to keep handy when it's time to know when you need to purchase more of these items. Rated it up!


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks Veronica Allen. So great to hear from you and thanks too for the up rating! Yay!


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 5 years ago from US

You are so correct BK, they don't usually put expiration dates, I like your advice about buying in glass. Maita


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

So good to hear from you Maita. Seems the plastic is super toxic. I'm so glad we consumers are talking with our dollars.

Thanks for writing!


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 5 years ago from The Midwest, USA

Great tips about nutrients expiring in foods. Its tempting to buy in bulk sometimes but this will make people think twice if they don't plan on using things right away. Great hub!


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thank you oceansnsunsets! I have certainly found this to be so true of olive oil. I would buy a large bottle (on sale) and enjoy such a lovely aroma when I first opened it - but the next time almost no aroma and the third time - no aroma at all. And maybe no more nutrients.

Thanks for the lovely comment!


DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 5 years ago

BkCreative, Wonderful hub! Healthy advice and tips as always! Thank you for sharing, Peace & Blessings!


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

You're welcome DeBorrah K. Ogans. Always good to hear from you!


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California

What an educational hub Bk. I never knew any of these things. Now I know how to buy olive oil, and how to care for so many more of the food items I purchase. I not only voted this up, but I also shared it with my other followers. I plan to bookmark it, Digg it like it, etc, because I feel this is so important for us all to hear.


cottontail profile image

cottontail 5 years ago from Los Angeles, California

Oh, how I love food related hubs! Excellent! :)


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

I'm glad fastfreta, that you found the hub useful. We're often told to buy massive sizes in order to save money - but good food should have an expiration date. Thanks for sharing it!

Thank you cottontail - I'm the same!

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