When you are baking, you want to use the freshest ingredients possible. The key to freshness is storing them correctly and knowing when to toss them out. Baking ingredients should be stored in either glass jars, Tupperware containers or tins to extend their shelf life. If you stocked up on baking ingredients for the holidays, but now find you have a lot left over. This Baking Ingredients Shelf Life Guide will fill you in on how long you can expect your supply to last. While the temperature of your home, where you store them (i.e. a dark cabinet vs. an open shelf) and other variables can all play a role, these are some general ideas and estimates to rely on to give you some rough guidelines.
Baking Ingredients Shelf Life Guide
Cooking Oil Shelf Life– Cooking oil will last about a year if it has not been opened and 1-3 months if it has been opened.
Shortening Shelf Life– Shortening lasts longer than oils do as far as their shelf life. Unopened shortening will stay good for about 2 years while opened shortening will last about a year.
Peanut Butter Shelf Life– Peanut butter has a shelf life of 6-9 months.
Brown Sugar Shelf Life– Brown sugar can be stored up to 6 months from the date you open it as long as it is stored in an airtight container. If you end up with hardened brown sugar, you can rescue it with this simple tip to save hardened brown sugar.
Molasses Shelf Life– Molasses will stay good for 2 years if not opened and 6 months if opened.
Corn Syrup Shelf Life– Corn syrup is an ingredient that can last indefinitely whether unopened or opened.
Granulated Sugar Shelf Life– While granulated sugar may harden into clumps if not stored in an airtight container, it will remain good indefinitely whether unopened or opened. The same holds true for sugar cubes, raw sugar and powdered sugar.
Premade Mixes Shelf Life– You can store pie crust mixes for 6 months, frosting mixes for 8 months, cake mixes for 6-9 months and biscuit, muffin and brownie mixes for 9 months.
Baking Soda and Baking Powder Shelf Life– Baking soda and baking powder will last indefinitely whether unopened or opened and 6 months if opened.
Honey Shelf Life– Honey has a shelf life of 2 years if not opened and 6-8 months if opened. If you find your honey has crystalized, use these tips for dealing with honey crystals.
Non-fat Dry Milk Shelf Life– Non-fat dry milk can last 6 months if unopened and 3 months if opened.
Flour Shelf Life– White and whole wheat flour will stay good for 6-8 months whether unopened or opened as long as it is kept in an airtight container.
Countries Rush for Upper Hand in Antarctica
On a glacier-filled island with fjords and elephant seals, Russia has built Antarctica’s first Orthodox church on a hill overlooking its research base, transporting the logs all the way from Siberia.
Less than an hour away by snowmobile, Chinese laborers have updated the Great Wall Station, a linchpin in China’s plan to operate five bases on Antarctica, complete with an indoor badminton court, domes to protect satellite stations and sleeping quarters for 150 people.
Not to be outdone, India’s futuristic new Bharathi base, built on stilts using 134 interlocking shipping containers, resembles a spaceship. Turkey and Iran have announced plans to build bases, too.
More than a century has passed since explorers raced to plant their flags at the bottom of the world, and for decades to come this continent is supposed to be protected as a scientific preserve, shielded from intrusions like military activities and mining.
But an array of countries are rushing to assert greater influence here, with an eye not just toward the day those protective treaties expire, but also for the strategic and commercial opportunities that exist right now.
“The newer players are stepping into what they view as a treasure house of resources,” said Anne-Marie Brady, a scholar at New Zealand’s University of Canterbury who specializes in Antarctic politics.
Some of the ventures focus on the Antarctic resources that are already up for grabs, like abundant sea life. China and South Korea, both of which operate state-of-the-art bases here, are ramping up their fishing of krill, the shrimplike crustaceans found in abundance in the Southern Ocean, while Russia recently thwarted efforts to create one of the world’s largest ocean sanctuaries here.
Some scientists are examining the potential for harvesting icebergs from Antarctica, which is estimated to have the biggest reserves of fresh water on the planet. Nations are also pressing ahead with space research and satellite projects to expand their global navigation abilities.
Building on a Soviet-era foothold, Russia is expanding its monitoring stations for Glonass, its version of the Global Positioning System. At least three Russian stations are already operating in Antarctica, part of its effort to challenge the dominance of the American GPS, and new stations are planned for sites like the Russian base, in the shadow of the Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity.
Elsewhere in Antarctica, Russian researchers boast of their recent discovery of a freshwater reserve the size of Lake Ontario after drilling through miles of solid ice.
“You can see that we’re here to stay,” said Vladimir Cheberdak, 57, chief of the Bellingshausen Station, as he sipped tea under a portrait of Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, an officer and later admiral in the Imperial Russian Navy who explored the Antarctic coast in 1820.
Antarctica’s mineral, oil and gas wealth are a longer-term prize. The treaty banning mining here, shielding coveted reserves of iron ore, coal and chromium, expires in 2048. Researchers recently found kimberlite deposits hinting at the existence of diamonds. And while assessments vary widely, geologists estimate that Antarctica holds at least 36 billion barrels of oil and natural gas.
Beyond the Antarctic treaties, huge obstacles persist to tapping these resources, like drifting icebergs that could imperil offshore platforms. Then there is Antarctica’s remoteness, with some mineral deposits found in windswept locations on a continent that is larger than Europe and where winter temperatures hover around minus 70 Fahrenheit.
But advances in technology might make Antarctica a lot more accessible three decades from now. And even before then, scholars warn, the demand for resources in an energy-hungry world could raise pressure to renegotiate Antarctica’s treaties, possibly allowing more commercial endeavors here well before the prohibitions against them expire.
The research stations on King George Island offer a glimpse into the long game on this ice-blanketed continent as nations assert themselves, eroding the sway long held by countries like the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.
Being stationed in Antarctica involves adapting to life on the planet’s driest, windiest and coldest continent, yet each nation manages to make itself at home.
Bearded Russian priests offer regular services at the Orthodox church for the 16 or so Russian speakers who spend the winter at the base, largely polar scientists in fields like glaciology and meteorology. Their number climbs to about 40 in the warmer summer months.
Inside the Bellingshausen base, satellites beam Russian television directly to flat screens on the wall. Researchers disappear for hours into a library with science fiction and detective novels. Others seek refuge in Bellingshausen’s banya, or sauna, where they unwind while sipping their ration of a couple of beers a week. Authentic flourishes include a broom of birch branches with which researchers can gently whip themselves.
“We sacrifice some of the nice things in life to go to Antarctica,” said Oleg Katorgin, 45, a construction supervisor who spent much of the past year at Bellingshausen. To help the time pass, he paints murals of idyllic tropical beach scenes, with mermaids. His paintings hang on the walls of the billiards room at Bellingshausen and a recreation area at an adjacent Chilean base overlooking Maxwell Bay.
China has arguably the fastest-growing operations in Antarctica. It opened its fourth station last year and is pressing ahead with plans to build a fifth. It is building its second icebreaking ship and setting up research drilling operations on an ice dome 13,422 feet above sea level that is one of the planet’s coldest places.
Chinese officials say the expansion in Antarctica prioritizes scientific research, but they also acknowledge that concerns about “resource security” influence their moves.
China’s newly renovated Great Wall station on King George Island makes the Russian and Chilean bases here seem antiquated.
“We do weather monitoring here and other research,” Ning Xu, 53, the chief of the Chinese base, said over tea during a fierce blizzard in late November.
The cavernous base he leads resembles a snowed-in college campus on holiday break, with the capacity to sleep more than 10 times the 13 people who were staying on through the Antarctic winter.
Yong Yu, a Chinese microbiologist, showed off the spacious building, with empty desks under an illustrated timeline detailing the rapid growth of China’s Antarctic operations since the 1980s. “We now feel equipped to grow,” he said.
As some countries expand operations in Antarctica, the United States maintains three year-round stations on the continent with more than 1,000 people during the Southern Hemisphere’s summer, including those at the Amundsen-Scott station, built in 1956 at an elevation of 9,301 feet on a plateau at the South Pole. But American researchers quietly grumble about budget restraints and having far fewer icebreakers than Russia, limiting the reach of the United States in Antarctica.
Scholars warn that Antarctica’s political flux could blur the distinction between military and civilian activities long before the continent’s treaties come up for renegotiation, especially in parts of Antarctica that are ideal for intercepting signals from satellites or retasking satellite systems, potentially enhancing global electronic
Some countries have had a hard time here. Brazil opened a research station in 1984, but it was largely destroyed by a fire that killed two members of the navy in 2012, the same year that a diesel-laden Brazilian barge sank near the base. As if that were not enough, a Brazilian C-130 Hercules military transport plane has remained stranded near the runway of Chile’s air base here since it crash-landed in 2014.
Still, Brazil’s stretch of misfortune has created opportunities for China, with a Chinese company winning the $100 million contract in 2015 to rebuild the Brazilian station.
Amid all the changes, Antarctica maintains its allure. South Korea opened its second Antarctic research base in 2014, describing it as a way to test robots developed by Korean researchers for use in extreme conditions. With Russia’s help, Belarus is preparing to build its first Antarctic base. Colombia said this year that it planned to join other South American nations with bases in Antarctica.
“The old days of the Antarctic being dominated by the interests and wishes of white men from European, Australasian and North American states is over,” said Klaus Dodds, a politics scholar at the University of London who specializes in Antarctica. “The reality is that Antarctica is geopolitically contested.”
New contagious form of cancer discovered
Contagious cancers may not be as rare as thought, say scientists who have discovered a second transmissible cancer in Tasmanian devils - small dog-sized ferocious carnivores found in the Australian island state of Tasmania.
Transmissible cancers - cancers which can spread between individuals by the transfer of living cancer cells - are believed to arise extremely rarely in nature.
One of the few known transmissible cancers causes facial tumours in Tasmanian devils, and is threatening this species with extinction.
The discovery by researchers from the University of Tasmania in Australia, and the University of Cambridge in UK, calls into question our current understanding of the processes that drive cancers to become transmissible.
Tasmanian devils are iconic marsupial carnivores that are only found in the wild in Tasmania. The size of a small dog, the animals have a reputation for ferocity as they frequently bite each other during mating and feeding interactions.
In 1996, researchers observed Tasmanian devils in the north-east of the island with tumours affecting the face and mouth; soon it was discovered that these tumours were contagious between devils, spread by biting.
The cancer spreads rapidly throughout the animal's body and the disease usually causes the death of affected animals within months of the appearance of symptoms.
The cancer has since spread through most of Tasmania and has triggered widespread devil population declines.
To date, only two other forms of transmissible cancer have been observed in nature - in dogs and in soft-shell clams.
Cancer normally occurs when cells in the body start to proliferate uncontrollably. However, cancers do not usually survive beyond the body of the host from whose cells they originally derived.
"The second cancer causes tumours on the face that are outwardly indistinguishable from the previously-discovered cancer," said first author Ruth Pye, from the University of Tasmania.
"So far it has been detected in eight devils in the south-east of Tasmania," Pye said.
"Until now, we've always thought that transmissible cancers arise extremely rarely in nature, but this new discovery makes us question this belief," said senior author Elizabeth Murchison from the University of Cambridge.
The discovery of the second transmissible cancer began in 2014, when a devil with facial tumours was found in south-east Tasmania.
Although this animal's tumours were outwardly very similar to those caused by the first-described Tasmanian devil transmissible cancer, the scientists found that this devil's cancer carried different chromosomal rearrangements and was genetically distinct.
Since then, eight additional animals have been found with the new cancer in the same area of south-east Tasmania.
The study was published in the journal PNAS.