These 3 Foods in Your Pantry Could Outlive You

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Many kinds of food — cooked or uncooked — spoil quickly, usually due to a high oil and/or moisture content that encourages the proliferation of bacteria. These are some foods that spoil faster than you’d think.

Other foods, in their raw state at least, can live for months or years — or sometimes almost indefinitely. These are the foods that have the longest shelf life.

White rice

Various sources agree that white rice can last for up to 30 years if stored properly (which means protected from heat, oxygen, and moisture) — but if it isn’t exposed to any elements that would allow it to develop bacteria or rot, there’s no reason why it couldn’t live for many years more than that. (White rice has had its oil-rich germ and bran removed; brown rice, which still has the germ and bran, is a healthier option — but will spoil faster.)

Dried beans

Thoroughly dried kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, navy beans, garbanzo beans, lima beans, black-eyed peas, and other legumes are indestructible as long as they’re never exposed to moisture. In the 1950s, archaeologists excavating sites of the Anasazi Indian tribe in the Four Corners area of the Southwest are said to have discovered dried beans that were anywhere from 750 to 1,500 years old, yet were still viable enough to germinate.


Commercial honey is usually sold with a “use by” or “best by” date on the package, but the truth is it can last for… Well, millennia, apparently. In 2015, archaeologists found pots of honey dating back about 3,000 years in an ancient Egyptian tomb, and judged it to still be perfectly edible. A combination of high acidity, lack of water, and the presence of the antibacterial agent hydrogen peroxide are responsible for its longevity. Those “best by” dates? That’s just because as it ages, honey may get darker in color and some of it may solidify into sugar crystals — both perfectly harmless.