After doing a lot of research on the shelf life of cooking oils, I have reached the following conclusion based on the best evidence that I can find. Most cooking oils have a shelf life of from one to two years before turning rancid. There is lot of talk about longer shelf life for various oils such as coconut oil. But I have not been able to find anything but antidotal evidence to confirm this. It is my understanding that BYU is currently running test to determine the shelf life of various oils. When this is complete, I will get a copy and post it.
With oils and fats, be sure to watch the expiration dates, and rotate them as needed. Extra virgin olive oil is reputed to have a slightly longer shelf life due because it is the first squeezing and therefore purer.
Rancid fats need to be avoided, they have been suspected of causing increases in arteriosclerosis, heart disease and cancer. Whenever possible, keep oil away from light and oxygen and store in a refrigerator or cool place.
There are a few oils or fats that can be stored for longer periods one is Red Feather Butter.
The following statement is from their website. “Red Feather has no Expiration Date written in stone, because the shelf life depends largely on the storage conditions (temperature, humidity, altitude, sunlight/shade, etc.). We do guarantee the shelf life for two years however, the actual shelf life of the butter will ultimately be determined by the storage conditions (temperature being the main factor) and the seal on the can remaining intact and therefore protecting the butter from the introduction of oxygen”.
Ghee or clarified butter is a butter product that has had the solid milk particles and water removed. It can be purchased in cans and seems to have a fairly long shelf life. In India it is sometimes stored in the open (not in cans or refrigerated) for several months to a years. It is easy to make from butter and in the open, it stores much longer than butter. The best buys on canned Ghee are usually found in East Indian stores. We will post a recipe on how to make it in a few days.
Dehydrated butter is a good solution for long-term storage. Stored under good conditions it can last many years.
Dehydrated shortening powder is another choice for long-term storage. It can be kept for many years. While it is a type of oil that I would not use under normal conditions in an emergency in which you were short of oil, I think it would be fine.
Crisco, the manufacture says a two-year shelf life. Lard, Is still a question mark, I am trying to get more data on its storage life. I will post more information as I receive it.