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Useful Kitchen Advice


What should I keep in my pantry and for how long?

With plenty of ingredients on hand, you are always prepared, whether you're cooking for a dinner party or whipping up snacks for unexpected guests. The items you stock will depend on your culinary lifestyle and the size of your family, but here are some guidelines.

Pantry item

Storage tips

Oils (extra-virgin olive, canola and walnut oil)

Store vegetable oils in the original bottles, in a cool, dark place up to 6 months. Refrigerate nut oils, and use within 3 months.  

Vinegars (aged balsamic, white-wine and red-wine vinegar)

Keep vinegars in their original bottles. For the longest shelf-life, store them in a cool spot up to 1 year.



Grains, dried beans (quick-cooking polenta; stone-ground cornmeal; oats; green lentils; black-eyed and split peas; black, pinto and cannellini beans)



Dried items, with the exception of cornmeal, can be stored in the pantry up to 1 year. To discourage pests, keep cornmeal in the freezer, up to 1 year.

Dried pasta and rice (spaghetti, penne, fettuccine, lasagna and orzo; couscous; Arborio, long-grain white, medium- to long-grain brown and basmati rice)


Dried pasta and rice can be stored in their original packaging until opened, then transferred to airtight containers. They are best used within 1 year.

Baking needs (pure vanilla extract, baking soda, baking powder, semisweet dark chocolate, Dutch-process cocoa powder, unflavored gelatin, instant yeast, cornstarch)


Store ingredients in airtight containers, away from heat and light sources. Extracts will last several years; leaveners lose their potency after about 1 year, and should be discarded on expiration dates.

Sugars (granulated white, superfine, light and dark brown, and confectioners' sugar; light corn syrup; molasses; pure maple syrup and honey)

Humidity can make solid sugars lumpy, so be sure to keep them in well-sealed containers in a cool, dry spot. Double-wrap brown sugars to keep them moist. Store syrups at room temperature in their original containers up to 1 year.


Flours (all-purpose white, whole-wheat, cake (not self-rising), and almond flour)

Store wheat flours in airtight containers at room temperature up to 1 year. Choose containers with wide mouths for easy scoop­ing and measuring. Freeze almond flour up to 6 months.


Vegetables and fruits (onions, garlic, dried wild mushrooms and lemons)

Refrigerate lemons in a plastic bag up to 2 weeks. Keep onions and garlic in the pantry up to 1 month; dried mushrooms can be kept for several months.


Nuts and dried fruit (pecan and walnut halves, almonds, hazelnuts, raisins, golden raisins, currants, dried apricots and figs, sun-dried tomatoes, dried chiles)

Nuts can turn stale easily. To avoid this, store them in the freezer for up to 6 months. Dried fruits can be stored at room temperature 6 months to a year; keep them well-sealed to preserve freshness and prevent stickiness.


Canned and bottled (Italian plum tomatoes, green and black olives, olive paste, anchovies, capers, white truffle oil, anchovy paste, chickpeas, black beans, hot sauce, mustards, Italian oil-pack tuna, low-sodium chicken stock, fruit jam)


Pay attention to expiration dates; otherwise, most canned and bottled goods can be kept, unopened, for up to 1 year. Once opened, refrigerate glass bottles; transfer unused canned goods to air­tight containers and refrigerate.

Spices (kosher and sea salt, black peppercorns, ground cinnamon and sticks, ground and crystallized ginger, dried thyme, rosemary and oregano, ground and whole-seed cumin, whole fennel seed)

Most spices will lose most of their effectivenessafter about 1 year, but their flavor will deteriorate faster if they're stored improperly. Keep them in airtight containers, away from heat and light. Choose an accessible drawer or cabinet or a wall-mounted rack.

Kitchen Basics

The secret for success in the kitchen calls for the best ingredients, the talented hands of the cook,  passion and patience—and the right tools. Here are some essential tools and staples to have in your kitchen to help you in your culinary pursuits.

Basic Bakeware

Every cook needs basic bakeware, such as pie dishes, tart and muffin tins, and baking and cake pans.