The shelf life of whole grains, especially quinoa and farro is largely dependent on their fat content. Heat, air and moisture are the top three enemies of whole grains because the elements can negatively affect their healthy oils, which in turn can cause the grains sitting in your pantry to go rancid. “Grains should always look and smell faintly sweet or have no aroma at all,” states the US Whole Grains Council. “If you detect a musty or oily scent, the grains are passed their peak.”
Spices such as turmeric, paprika and nutmeg generally lose their potency after about two to three years. Eating old spices isn’t harmful to your health, but they won’t add any flavour to your recipes. Do a quick sniff and taste test to determine if your spice is still fresh.
Nuts and seeds
You’ll want to eat un-shelled nuts like almonds and peanuts within a matter of a few weeks to a few months. “Nuts and seeds typically have a high amount of oil in them and that oil will start to go rancid after a couple of months in your pantry,” chef Tryg Siverson told INSIDER. Signs of rancidity on a nut or seed include a grassy or paint-like odour and dark or oily appearance. For optimal freshness and longevity, place nuts and seeds in your fridge where they’ll last up to a year.