Now remember you have to use common sense if it looks bad or smells bad then it’s not worth making your family sick but as a general rule these items do not expire even though they have expiration dates on them. The Food & Drug Administration requires companies to put an expiration date on all food items but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them past the expiration date. I do all the time. Many items will lose their potency like herbs but the items listed below are fine to use way post their expiration date.
There is new legislation that will simplify our food labels in the near future – it’s about time. They are so confusing “use by” “expiration date” and more.
We through thousands of dollars worth of food away each year that can be used past their expiration or use by dates.
- Eggs – are good for up to five (5) weeks after their expiration date provided they have been properly refrigerated. How do you know if they’re still good, toss the eggs in a bowl of water, if it sinks, then it’s still good to eat. But if they float, throw them away.
- Cheese – you obviously don’t want to eat mold on cheese but if you think about how cheese is made you won’t be so afraid to cut that mold off and eat the remainder of that expensive cheese.
- Dry Pasta – has up to a 2 year shelf life provided it is kept in a cool environment. If it is kept in a hot environment it can make bugs and you would want to toss that.
- Bread – of course it will be stale but there are many things you can do with stale bread like making French Toast, Bread Crumbs, Croutons or just freeze it before it gets stale.
- Yogurt – unopened yogurt will last up to 2 weeks after it’s expiration date. Remember if it looks gross or smells gross then it’s time to toss it otherwise it’s fine to eat. If you wind up with excess yogurt and want to use it before it expires you can make smoothies (and freeze them in plastic bags), yogurt pops for the kids (freeze them) or make salad dressings and freeze them as well.
- Chocolate – if chocolate is stored in a cool place (70 degrees or below), it will outlast its sell-by date for many months.
- Condiments – things like mustard, mayo and jam or jelly can last long past their expiration dates if they are properly stores or refrigerated. Turn them upside down to keep the air out (make sure they are properly closed or you will have a huge mess) you can even place a piece of plastic wrap under the cap and they will last you a long time. I’ve been using expired mustard, jams or jellies for a long time but of course I smell and taste them to make sure they are still good to consume. I’m a bit more apprehensive about Mayo since it contains eggs.
- Frozen Foods – don’t be so quick to toss that frozen food that has expired. As long as it is not freezer burnt it’s perfectly fine to use.
- Bagged Lettuce – my mother in law taught me this trick years ago when I first got married. She taught to me take a paper towel and place it inside the bagged lettuce and it will keep much longer. The paper towel absorbs the moisture which causes the lettuce to get rancid faster. Make sure you change the paper towel often or as soon as it gets wet and you will see how much longer your bagged salad will last.
- Milk – experts say you can freeze milk to extend the life but for me the key is “organic” milk. We don’t drink a lot of milk in our house but it never fails each time I have a recipe that calls for milk I’m out of it. I started to notice that the expiration dates on organic milk were three times as long as the expiration dates on regular cows milk. Believe organic milk is worth the extra money and will last 3-4 weeks in your refrigerator. When my dad was a live and living alone I would buy him organic so that it would last a long time. Give it a try you won’t be sorry and organic dairy is my healthier for your family to consume.