The Maids of Portland, Maine

Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring-Clean Your Pantry

Healthy eats can spoil quickly or lose their nutitional value over time. Check out this guide to see how long they last:

~*~Olive Oil: 6 months

Olive Oil is rich in polyphenol antioxidenst, which ahve been shown to help ward off cancer and heart disease. But a study in the Journal of Food Science found that these compounds can deteriorate after six months.

~*~ Nuts and Nut Oils: 3 to 6 months

Walnuts and pecans are top sources of healthful fats that turn rancid quickly.In a 2009 study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutition, British researchers discovered that one brand of walnut oil had an actual shelf life 20 times shorter than the "best before" date printed on the label.

~*~ Ground Spices: 6 months

Grinding increases spices' exposure to oxygen, which breaks down healthful antioxidants and causes flavor to fade. If tossing the expensive jars makes you cringe, consider buying whole spices and preparing them as needed.

~*~ Green Tea: 6 months

Cancer-fighting antioxidents called catechins are one of the most beneficial compounds found in green tea. But a 2009 U.S Department of Agriculture study found that green tea's catechins lose 32% of their potency after 6 months. To get the biggest antioxidant punch from your cup, use fresh, loose leaves, and store them in a airtight tin to block out light and moisture.

~*~ Whole Wheat Flour- 3 months to 1 year

Whole-wheat flour is loaded with heart-smart unsaturated fats. But these fats go bad rapidly when exposed to heat and oxygen- in fact, whole-wheat flour spoils four times faster than white. Replace yours after three months or store in a sealed container in the fridge for six months or in the freezer for up to a year.

-Karen Ansel

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