Feb 06

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Do you need to throw food out on the expiration date?

saving money

Do you really need to throw food away on the expiration date? Our country is obsessed with food. The movie Over the Hedge offers a great example of this in the scene where RJ discusses human’s obsession with food. We eat too much or too little food, we throw out way too much food, we eat make poor food choices, we stress over our scales – the list goes on.
One of the obsessions people have with food is with expiration dates. I’ve personally seen people freak out over expiration dates. Expiration dates are really a “this food tastes best before the following date”, and many companies now use “best by” dates instead of an “expiration date”.
Your food does not, I repeat – does NOT – automatically go bad on the expiration date. Your food does not have a brain to tell it to self-destruct at a certain time. Use these dates as a guide. I have purchased many items at rock bottom prices because of a date stamped on the label. The food doesn’t know the date, and it tastes just as good the next day, week, or month.
Meat, if properly stored so it doesn’t get freezer burn, can be safely eaten well past the original “sell by” date on the label. Stock up on clearanced milk – pour yourself a glass to allow for expansion – and freeze the container. Eggs on sale? Beat a dozen, pour into ice cube trays and freeze. When frozen, put the cubes in zip lock bags. Dice up onions and peppers and freeze on a cookie sheet, then put in a zip lock. Freeze berries in a layer on a cookie sheet, then put in a zip lock. Now, if a perishable item hasn’t been stored properly, it won’t even make it to it’s “best by” date!
Dented cans are also safe. Just because a can was dropped and got dented doesn’t mean the food inside automatically went bad. Bulging or rusty cans are another matter, but dented cans are fine!
An easy way to check in your pantry for a food item’s “best buy” date is to write it on top of the package with a Sharpie. That way, you can check the date at a glance – you don’t need to pick up and inspect every package in your pantry. Make sure to rotate your stored items to avoid ending up with a bunch of foods near the end of their “best by” date.
The next time you are confronted with a food past it’s “date”, check it out. Is it moldy? Toss it. Smell funky? Toss it. Otherwise, you should be good to go!
Try a can . . . and see if you can tell the difference! ;)

Permanent link to this article: http://frugalfunandfifty.com/2014/02/06/do-you-need-to-throw-food-out-on-the-expiration-date/

1 comment

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