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Recommendations For Storing Baking Ingredients & Shelf Life Chart

Updated on March 28, 2015
Baking Ingredients Storage and Shelf Life Chart
Baking Ingredients Storage and Shelf Life Chart | Source

Why the Chart?

For many people, fall and winter tend to be the Baking Seasons. If you haven’t used your ingredients for a while, you need to check on their freshness. Basic rules are to check the expiration dates on all of the cans and packages. Make sure any of the opened products are in airtight containers. If the products have not been stored in this manner, they are probably not very fresh for baking.

For some of these items listed, I try to use them up at the end of my baking season and buy fresh products for the next time I begin pulling out my seasonal recipes. For instance, I do not bake bread over the summer, so I use up all of my yeast by April. Using fresh ingredients in your baking can make all the difference in the world. Your cakes will raise high, your muffin tops will be over the paper cup and everything you bake will have a great taste.

When you use baking soda or baking powder that has gone by, you will see a noticeable difference. They are the leavening agents in your baking. Your baked goods, especially muffins, cupcakes and cookies, will have a flat look to them. To test your baking powder, stir it up. If it has lumps, moisture has mixed with the powder and has caused a reaction. If it stirs up fluffy, it is fine to use. Baking soda has no easy way to test for freshness. I do check the label, but if in doubt, it goes down one of the drains in my home. The price for baking soda is reasonable so I buy fresh come fall.

I do use a sifter when using any flour in recipes. I mix in any other dry ingredients that the recipe calls for and sift these all together. This way I am guaranteed no lumps and better ingredient incorporation. It may be a bit old fashioned, but I find I get better results in my baking.

I hope this guide helps you in your up-and-coming baking season.

Chart of Food Storage Recommendations

Dry Ingredient
Storage Time
Special Treatment
Baking Chocolate
18 Months
Keep in a cool place
Baking Powder
18 Months
Airtight Container is needed
Baking Soda
1 Year18 Months
Airtight Container is needed once opened
Cake Mixes
1 Year
Buy as needed for freshness
1 Year
Coffee, fresh Ground from beans
2 to 3 Weeks
Refrigerate open cans or bags
Flour, All-purpose
15 Months
Airtight container is needed once opened
Flour, Whole Wheat
6 Months
Airtight container is needed once opened
18 Months
Keep in a dry place
1 Year
2 Years
Check Bottle for storage needs
Nonfat Dry Milk Powder
6 Months
Airtight container is needed once opened
Olive Oil
1 Year
Keep tightly capped and stored away from light
Peanut Butter
6 Months
Refrigerate during warm weather
Pudding Mixes
1 Year
But as needed for freshness
8 Months
Store in cool, dry place
Sugar, Brown
4 Months
Airtight container is needed once opened
Sugar, Granulated
2 Years
Airtight container is needed once opened
Syrup, Corn
1 Year`
Store well capped away from heat and light
Syrup, Maple pure
Refrigerate after opening
Syrup, Maple
1 Year
Refrigerate after opening
Vegetable Oil
1 Year
Store well capped away from heat and ligh
Yeast, active dry
Check individual packages or container
Refrigerate during warm months
Storing Half Bar of Bakers Chocolate
Storing Half Bar of Bakers Chocolate | Source

Making Maple Syrup Crystals

Your children can make this along with you.

Maple Syrup Crystals Recipe

  1. Heat a cup of pure maple syrup in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Stir and heat the syrup until it starts to thicken or you start to see crystals forming on the bottom or side of the pan.
  3. Pour the syrup onto a chilled plate and allow the syrup to crystallize. If you pour the syrup onto a dark-colored plate, it will be easier to watch the crystals form.

Or you can:

  1. Cover a baking sheet or shallow dish with a layer of water. You only need about 1/4 inch of water. Freeze the dish to make ice.
  2. Drop spoonfuls of the hot syrup onto the ice. The sudden temperature change will cause crystals to form within minutes.

You can then store these crystals in a sealed container. Use them to sweeten drinks, crush them with a rolling pin to sprinkle them on food items, or you can even eat them just like rock candy.

How to Decrystallize Honey  Sample Photo
How to Decrystallize Honey Sample Photo | Source

How to Restore Honey

Never boil honey. This high heat kills the yeast cells that cause fermentation. The resulting honey contains very little of the nutritional value and also affects the taste of the honey.

Place the jar of honey in a pan. Fill the pan with enough water to meet the honey contained in the jar. Remove jar and heat water to no hotter than 104 degrees. You can use a candy thermometer to measure the temperature. Remove the pan from heat and add in the jar of honey. Let the jar sit in the water bath for 20 minutes or until honey has decrystallized.

If your honey is in a plastic container, use a well cleaned jar from your recycling such as a pickle jar, jelly jar or relish jar. Place the honey into this cleaned container and follow the steps above. Do not return the honey back to the plastic container. Keep the honey on the new jar so you can repeat this method if needed.

Some people use the microwave to quickly decrystallize the honey. If you use this method, place the amount of honey needed in a microwave safe container and heat it for 10 seconds at a time. Stir between each of the 10 seconds. Do not overheat.

Tips on Storage

  • Hang a dry erase board where your baking ingredients are located. This way you can mark down anything you may need to pick up on your next shopping trip.
  • Used magnetic tins for storing herbs and spices. This will help you sort your items by cooking needs and also saves on storage space.
  • Include the expiration date for the item you are putting in the storage jars or bins. Many places sell removable labels that you can use to include all the information the container will need.
  • Mason jars make excellent storage containers. This is a great way to recycle any of the jars you are no longer using for canning.

© 2013 Susan McLeish


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    • StoneCircle profile image

      Susan McLeish 4 years ago from Rindge, NH

      RTalloni = thank you for considering to put a link to this hub.

      purl3agony= do not be embarrassed. I made this hub because i questioned how long baking powder actually lasts.

    • purl3agony profile image

      Donna Herron 4 years ago from USA

      I'm embarrassed but I didn't actually know that some of these things expired! Yikes! I'm pinning and printing this out now. I plan on posting a copy on the inside of my kitchen cabinet for reference. Thanks!!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      Lots of useful information here. Linking to my hub 5 Important Tips for Using Recipes, if you have no objections. Also pinning to Ways w/ Food: Assorted Info… board.

    • StoneCircle profile image

      Susan McLeish 4 years ago from Rindge, NH

      peachpurple- so glad you found it!

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      had been looking for this for years