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5 Foods You Didn't Know Expire

Delish logo Delish 2/16/2017 Rheanna O'Neil Bellomo

The lesson here is label EVERYTHING.

When we first found out that the eggs at the grocery store could be upwards of 45 days old, it opened a can of worms for the topic of expiration dates. The FDA does not require food manufacturers to print a "best before" or "use by" date on products, so it's solely up to each company's discretion-though some states require one in some cases. This got us thinking: We must have at least a handful of products in our pantries that are most likely past their prime. But what are they? Here's all the stuff you didn't think expired but really can get pretty rank.

1. Potatoes

Nightshade vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants contain trace amounts of a toxic chemical called solanine, which can be very dangerous and even deadly. The toxin is minimal in raw, unspoiled potatoes, but once potatoes sprout, get overexposed to the sun, or are stored close by other veggies that promote spoilage (looking at you, onions), the concentration of this chemical can become harmful. The solution here is to store them correctly (in a cool, dark place) for no more than two or three months and never eat unripe (green) or overripe (sprouted) potatoes.

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2. Spices

Despite how convenient it would be, dried spices can't live on your cabinet forever. You can get away with keeping them for up to two years, sure, but they still need to be stored properly and tossed after a certain threshold. Here's a general guideline: 

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3. Beer

Because beer is already fermented, most imbibers assume it can last forever in the fridge. The truth here is that it's best when fresh. Even though it doesn't completely spoil, an old beer can get a little flat and the flavors can get really funky. Be sure to drink up within six months of the bottling date. 

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4. Rice

Researchers have found that white rice can maintain its nutrient content and flavor for 30 years. But that's only when it's being stored in oxygen-free containers at temperatures below 40 degrees F. So you're pretty much SOL there. As a general rule, don't let your bag of rice sit around longer than five or six months. For brown rice, make it three months.

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5. Liquor

Wine ages even when it's unopened, but a sealed bottle of hard booze can stay good indefinitely. However, once you pop that sucker open, you've got about a year before its taste-and strength!-are compromised. Be sure to keep any and all opened bottles in a cool spot. 

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