Many foods are spoiled soon because they contain elements, such as water, that microorganisms love. But there are others, which, if well stored and in optimum conditions, are eternal.
Many times we have been obliged to dispose of some food because they have expired and others have had to consume because their expiration date is approaching. However, an article in the digital magazine The Conversation, says there is a group of almost ‘immortal’ foods that can be eaten after a long time. This property undoubtedly makes them great allies in times of crisis.
Its durability is a product of its chemical composition: it is low in water and high in sugar. The latter, because it is a hygroscopic compound – it absorbs water from the environment – prevents bacteria from growing in it. The small amounts of hydrogen peroxide it contains also inhibit its growth.
When processed, the storage period of the honey is longer, since the packaging and the heat treatment eliminate the water and protect it from moisture.
2. Dried vegetables
As with honey, the key to longer shelf-life is its processing and storage. If the grains are subjected to a drying process, it will increase the sugar concentration and decrease the water content, making it difficult for bacteria and fungi to appear.
If they are stored hermetically, after several years they will not lose their nutritional value, and therefore, they are a perfect food option.
3. Soy sauce
Soy sauce can last for at least three years. However, if it remains closed, its high content of salt and fermentation allows a longer life. Keep in mind that after opening, this will depend on the storage temperature.
Some consider vinegar a spoiled cider or wine. What not everyone knows is that its acidic nature, which comes from the acetobacter-bacterium that converts alcohol to acetic acid, in turn prevents other microorganisms from appearing.
Although over time the white vinegar does not change appearance, other types may vary in colour and a little taste, but will remain suitable for consumption.
5. White rice
This grain can be consumed even after 30 years. The key to this is the temperature: around 3°C and without oxygen. However, brown rice, whose saturated fat content is higher, can break down more quickly.
6. Dark chocolate
The addition of milk to chocolate makes it more perishable, but dark chocolate can last for two years or more if it is stored at a constant temperature. Otherwise, the grease it contains can rise to its surface and damage it. With all this, there is still a discussion about the durability of this food.
7. Salt and sugar
Many of the foods that are preserved for longer contain these two substances. Its property of absorbing the water, leaves without substrate to the bacteria that try to colonise them. If salt and sugar are stored away from moisture and in airtight containers, they will last indefinitely. Keep in mind that additives like iodine added to salt, can reduce your life to about five years.