10 Things in Your Pantry You Should Throw Out Right Now (PHOTOS)

Liz Alterman | Oct 8, 2014 Food & Party


Cleaning out your pantry can really give you a great feeling of satisfaction, once you get past the "Ugh, how long has that been here?" stage. While it's no easy task, throwing away things that have gone bad, have the potential to attract bugs or weevils, or are beyond the expiration is good for your home and health. 

The following are 10 items you should throw out of your pantry right now. 

saltine cracker

Check out our slideshow and then tell us which item do you find yourself stuck with after it's gone bad? 

Images © Burgess, Linda/the food passionates/Corbis; via yaybiscuits123/Flickr

  • Flour


    Flour, if properly stored, can last for a year. After opening a bag, transfer the remainder to an airtight container and keep it in a cool space. Once it's been in the pantry for a while, be sure to inspect it for tiny worms or bugs or toss it.  

    More from The Stir: 8 Condiments You Should Throw Out of Your Fridge Right Now (PHOTOS) 

  • Olive Oil


    Unfortunately, olive oil does not get better with age. In fact, as it ages, it breaks down, acidity levels rise and the flavor weakens. Extra virgin olive oil should be consumed within 18 to 24 months. 

  • Pancake Mix


    Pancake and waffle mix can go bad quickly, if not stored properly. If you open it and smell it and something's amiss, it's best to chuck it. 

  • Nuts


    Most nuts are good for less than six months. The oils they contain cause them to spoil faster than some other items you may have in your pantry. Pine nuts, in particular, can turn on you quickly. Smell the nuts before you use them. If the scent resembles paint thinner, toss them. 

  • Yeast


    Have you ever made dough or a bread and found that it didn't rise? Expired yeast could be the culprit. The leavening agent is only good for a couple of months beyond its expiration. So check those dates carefully so you won't be disappointed!

  • Leftover Candy


    Do you open your pantry and find leftover Halloween and Easter candy in there? While these items can have a very long shelf life, if you (or the kids) haven't eaten them by the time the next big candy-filled holiday has rolled around, it might be time to donate or pitch it. 

  • Maple Syrup


    While some families store maple syrup in the pantry, that's fine as long as it's used quickly. However, those who drizzle it on their pancakes and waffles sparingly should refrigerate it. Real maple syrup in particular can grow mold on its surface if left at room temperature.

  • Brown Sugar


    Have you ever been all set to make a recipe that calls for brown sugar only to find yours filled with small boulders? Over time, brown sugar hardens, and while it hasn't gone bad, it's certainly challenging to work with to say the least. You can crush them with a fork or try microwaving them back into soft form, but sometimes it's better -- and faster -- to chuck it and pick up a fresh box or bag. 

  • Anything Expired


    This probably seems obvious to most people, but there are some out there who believe that expiration dates serve as mere suggestions. While some products can last months beyond expiration, in many cases, like creamy soups, it's best not to take any chances. Experts advise that you should examine cans for bulges, dents, foul odor and rust which all serve as tell-tale signs the food has spoiled.

  • Crackers


    Leaving crackers or any other flour-based product in your pantry for a long time can give weevils or bugs that may be living inside cardboard a chance to hatch. So, that's one reason to dispose of old snacks. Another is they tend to get soggy after a while, especially if humidity gets into them.