Whether we are talking about honey, pure maple syrup, brown sugar or even powdered white sugar, its shelf life is indefinite. Why? Because sugar in all its forms does not provide a conducive environment for the growth of bacteria. The problem with sugar is that over time it absorbs small amounts of moisture that causes it to harden. To keep sugar from hardening, store it in an airtight container. If your sugar does happen to harden, a few seconds in the microwave should remedy the situation. Even crystallized honey need not be trashed. Again, a few seconds in the microwave will return it to its original consistency.
It may be hard to believe but years from now, the salt in your salt shaker will still be good. As with sugar, salt will cake if it happens to get the least bit moist. Even high humidity can harden it and make it unusable. To keep moisture out of salt, put a few rice grains in the salt shaker. The moisture will be drawn to the rice and the salt will remain dry.
With the exception of brown rice, which contains more natural oil than other varieties, rice will remain unspoiled. Over time, however, the taste of rice can become stale. To keep rice fresh tasting, keep your white, basmati, jasmine or wild rice in airtight containers after opening. Brown rice is best stored for long periods of time in the refrigerator or freezer.
White distilled vinegar
Vinegar has a wide range of uses from marinades to pickles to cleaning countertops. The best thing about it is that you can store vinegar for many, many years. Cap vinegar tightly after use and store in a cool place.
Pure vanilla extract
Although it is more expensive that its imitation counterpart, vanilla extract will last for an indefinite period of time. The only problem you will have with vanilla extract is the accumulation of a dark-colored build-up in the cap. To prevent this problem, simply rinse the cap before returning extract to the pantry. Vanilla extract is best kept in a dark, cool place.
Before you do a clean sweep of the pantry, stop to see if you really need to throw those food items away. They may still be good for many years to come.