Should old sugar, baking soda or paprika be thrown out? Elizabeth Andress, UGA food safety specialist, said that dry ingredients like sugar, most flours and spices are safe to use no matter how old they are, but they might not taste or perform as expected forever.
White flour keeps its quality up to a year when stored in an airtight container or freezer bag in a cool, dry place, she said. All-purpose and bread flour will keep up to two years at 40 degrees in the refrigerator, according to the Wheat Foods Council. They can be stored indefinitely in the freezer.
White granulated sugar keeps indefinitely if properly stored. Rotate the supply every two years for ease of use and quality. Store it in an airtight container or a heavy moisture-proof plastic bag.
Brown sugar keeps maximum freshness and flavor for four to six months. Store it in an airtight container to retain moisture and prevent hardening. Keep it in its original plastic bag, tightly closed, or transfer it to an airtight container or a moisture-proof plastic bag, she said. Baking powder and baking soda keep 12 to 18 months if stored tightly covered in a dry place. Discard both after expiration date. Herbs and ground spices keep good flavor up to one year if stored in cool, dry cupboards. Whole spices can keep their quality up to two years. Store them in a tightly covered container in a dark place.