Expiry dates are important indicators of how safe the food is to consume, but with certain items, it’s used as more of a guideline. Here, are 16 products that are fine to eat past the expiry date, so long as you take the proper precautions:
Have you ever gone to make an omelette and noticed the date on your egg carton has already passed? Eggs are another staple that people don’t always use up within the expiry date label.
Here’s a trick to check if eggs have gone without cracking them open: place in a bowl of water to assess its buoyancy. If it sinks, it’s still safe to eat; if it floats, throw it in the compost bin.
The best by date on fresh bread is assuming you’re keeping your loaf sitting on the counter. But so long as you don’t see mold growing on your grains, it should be okay to make that sandwich or French toast.
If you want to extend the shelf life of your bread, store it in the fridge it can last for up to two weeks or keep it in the freezer.
3. Butter.If your butter is about to expire, pop it into the freezer to keep it fresh for longer. Keep in mind that it’s best to use it all once you’ve thawed it. Have quite a bit of butter left over? Use it for your next baking recipe.
4. Yogurt.If unopened, yogurt is safe to eat for 1-3 weeks past its sell-by date if stored in your fridge immediately after purchase. It can also be frozen for up to two months, which could also be helpful with morning smoothie prep.
A small amount of liquid in your opened container of yogurt doesn’t mean its gone bad. That’s whey, which a simple stir will fix. If you see excess liquid pooling at the top and curdling on the bottom, it’s time to toss that yogurt out.
5. Dry Pasta.Pasta won’t spoil easily because it’s a dry product. You can use it well past the expiration date; so long as it doesn’t smell funny .
Generally, dry pasta has a shelf life of two years, but you can typically push it to three. So go ahead and make that lasagna or carbonara using the noodles you found hidden at the back of your pantry.
6. Salad Mixes.Those packages of salad mixes, spinach, and arugula are okay to eat past the due date. If the leaves have wilted, just cut off those bits before use. When your greens are starting to decay though (think mushy, slimy leaves), it’s time to chuck.
7. Frozen Food.Ice-cold temperatures prevent foods from going bad, so any packed frozen foods are generally safe to eat past the expiration date. If the food gets freezer burn due to dehydration caused by oxidation it won’t be very tasty. However, if you’re feeling frugal, freezer-burned food is still safe to eat.
8. Cookies, Crackers, and Chips.When cookies or chips get old, the stale taste is quite obvious. But as long as it doesn’t smell bad and it doesn’t crumble apart in your hand, then its okay to eat more of those snacks.
Like bread, potato chips may get stale past their expiration date, but they are still perfectly safe to eat. If they are in an open bag, they’ll be alright for a few weeks, but if the bag is sealed, it can still be good months later … as if you’d have an uneaten bag of chips laying around for that long.
9. Chocolate. Chocolate can last way beyond the best before date depending on the grade, how it is stored, and whether the package is opened or not. Ideally, you want to keep your chocolate products in a cool, dry place at a temperature of 70ºF/21ºC or less.
For semisweet chocolate chips, they can be stored in the pantry for 2-4 months past the printed date, from 6-8 months in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator, and from 2-3 years in the freezer. Milk chocolate will last up to 8 months past the printed date in the freezer.
Also, don’t mistake fat or sugar bloom on your chocolate for mold. Despite the splotchy look, it can still be safely consumed or used in baking your favorite chocolate desserts.
10. Peanut Butter.If unopened, both smooth and crunchy peanut butter will keep for one year past its best before date whether stored in the pantry or fridge. Once it’s been opened, both are good for 3-4 months in the pantry or 6-8 months in the refrigerator past that date.
Natural peanut butter has a shorter shelf life just 2-3 months in the pantry or 3-6 months in the fridge beyond its best before date. It’s perfectly normal for a natural separation of oil in your natural peanut butter. You can either stir it back in or pour it out and use it for cooking.
If your smooth or crunch peanut butter changed to a hard, dry texture or the color darkens, it’s time to throw it away.
11. Cereal.Not everyone likes the same cereal in a household. If members in your family enjoy different brands, those cereal boxes can stock up and take longer to consume.
Rest assured, cereal is okay to eat for up to six months past the best before date — so long as you can handle the stale flavor! Alternatively, you can bake with it instead.
12. Pickled Items.Pickled cucumbers, peppers, beets or other vegetables are good for 1-2 years past their best before date, whether opened or unopened, and can be stored in the refrigerator or pantry.
They may lose their crunch over time but are still safe to consume. How do you know if pickled items have gone bad? A sure sign is a rounded or dome-shaped top of the lid, which indicates the jar was not sealed properly.
When opening a new jar of pickles, you should hear a pop when the seal breaks.
13. Ketchup, Mustard, and Relish. Condiments like ketchup, mustard, and relish have a long shelf life. If your ketchup is unopened, it can be stored in the pantry for up to a year past its best before date. Once it’s been opened, store it in the fridge and consume it within six months.
Yellow mustard can be stored unopened for up to 2 years past its date, or for a year in the fridge once opened. Unopened pickle relish can be kept in your pantry for up to 2 1/2 years or up to nine months in the fridge after opening.
14. Hard cheeses. The Food Network reports you can eat hard cheeses after their expiration date has passed. In fact, you can eat cheeses, such as cheddar and Parmesan, even after mold has started to form.
Just make sure to cut off any moldy parts before consuming, the publication advises. The rest of the block should be safe to consume. How long does a hard cheese remain safe to eat after its expiration date? About a month.
15. Meat. It might sound surprising, but meat can be safely consumed after its expiration date. The trick. If you buy a large package of chicken on sale, for instance, you can take out what you need for the next few days and then freeze the rest.
16. Fresh fruits and veggies. If your produce has an expiration date on it, you might assume it’s important to use or discard it by that date. use common sense with fruits and vegetables. Check if it’s mushy, moldy or has an off smell. If you don’t encounter any of those red flags, it’s likely safe to use even if the expiration date has passed.
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