Foods With the Longest Shelf Life

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11. Bouillon cubes
> Shelf life: 2 years

Oxygen and moisture are the enemies of these useful little blocks of instant soup or stock. Keep them dry and well sealed, and 24 months is probably the minimum they’ll last.

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12. Peanut butter
> Shelf life: 2 years

An unopened jar of peanut butter should last longer than a couple of years at room temperature, but with time, the oil will separate, the peanut butter might dry out, and the flavor may fade. Two years is likely the maximum for the best quality.

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13. Dark chocolate
> Shelf life: 2 to 5 years

Because milk chocolate contains dairy, it will go bad more quickly than chocolate with high cacao content and little or no milk. Warm temperatures are the enemy of dark chocolate, and while it should last for a couple of years at temperatures up to around 75º F, it will keep for as long as five years if the thermometer rests between 60º and 65º F. Chocolate exposed to high temperatures can develop white spots, but these are harmless and don’t affect the flavor.

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14. Canned or vacuum-pouched tuna
> Shelf life: 3 to 5 years after “best by” date

Tuna is a hardy fish and one that takes well to canning (and in more recent times, to vacuum-packing in pouches). For optimum flavor and texture, don’t keep it longer than five years after the producer’s “best by” date.

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15. Dried beans
> Shelf life: Indefinite

Dried beans are pretty much indestructible if they’re kept dry, though they begin to lose their moisture after a year or two. As they age, they will require longer presoaking and/or cooking times to become tender.