FOOD & DRINK
02/23/2015 07:00 am ET Updated Feb 23, 2015

Pantry Items That Expire Way Before You Think They Do

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Nothing lasts forever, and that's especially true when you're talking about food. Sure, expiration dates are overused, difficult to judge and don't actually mean that much, but food doesn't stay fresh or at its peak for eternity. While we may be stating the obvious, we also know that people need reminding every once and a while of seemingly obvious food facts. Newsflash: your spices expire, and that's not the only thing hiding in your pantry that may be ready for a replacement.

Note that we are in no way encouraging you to throw perfectly good food away. In fact, we applaud recent efforts across the food world to waste as little food as possible by using the whole vegetable, using bones (ahem, broth) and less popular parts of the animal, freezing as much as you can and employing tips to keep produce fresh. We encourage composting and thinking twice before throwing anything in the trash.

We merely want to point out that certain foods, probably hiding in the depths of your cupboards, might not be as fresh as they once were. If you're moving, perhaps you don't need to travel with these items, and if you're getting ready for spring cleaning (wishful thinking), you might want to give these foods a second look.

Here are seven foods that expire way before you think they do. Unless otherwise noted, these estimates pertain to food stored in the pantry. And the timelines are simply guidelines that may change according to storage methods and climate.

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Foods That Expire Faster Than You Think They Do

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