Expiry dates

Expiration date accuracy

It seems like toilet paper was not the only thing people stocked up on during the plandemic. Many people filled their pantries and cupboards, many people may be looking around and wondering, “what am I going to do with all this food?” Before you start throwing things out that may have reached their due dates, let’s try and do our best to not waste what we have. There are plenty of hungry people who would be happy to take it off of your hands. Also with what is going on, this may not be a waste as you never know what will happen next in our unpredictable world.

So, first things first, how do we even read the expiration dates on our products? It’s a bit more confusing than one might think. ”Sell by" date. The labelling "sell by" tells the store how long to display the product for sale. You should buy the product before the date expires. This is basically a guide for the retailer, so the store knows when to pull the item. This is not mandatory, so reach in back and get the freshest. The issue is quality of the item freshness, taste, and consistency rather than whether it is on the verge of spoiling. So, basically "sell by" date is the last day the item is at its highest level of quality, but it will still be edible for some time after.

"Best if used by (or before)" date. This refers strictly to quality, not safety. This date is recommended for best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date. Sour cream, for instance, is already sour, but can have a zippier, fresh taste when freshly sour if that's not an oxymoron.

"Guaranteed fresh" date. This usually refers to bakery items. They will still be edible after the date, but will not be at peak freshness.

”Use by" date. This is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. The date has been determined by the manufacturer of the product.

”Pack" date. You will find this one on canned or packaged goods, as a rule, but it's tricky. In fact, it may be in code. It can be month-day-year.

Pickled items: Pickled cucumbers, peppers, beets or other vegetables are good for one to two 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.

Frozen foods: 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.

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 21ºC (70ºF) or less. For semisweet chocolate chips, they can be stored in the pantry for two to four months past the printed date, from six to eight months in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator and from two to three years in the freezer. Milk chocolate will last up to eight months past the printed date in the freezer. Also, don't mistake fat or sugar bloom on your chocolate for mould. Despite the splotchy look, it can still be safely consumed or used in baking.

Peanut and nut butters: 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 three to four months in the pantry or six to eight months in the refrigerator past that date. Natural peanut butter has a shorter shelf life, just two to three months in the pantry or three to six 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 colour darkens, it's time to throw it away.

Honey: doesn’t really spoil. The look of it can change over time turning yellow and cloudy and then crystallising but it’s still safe to eat. The key to keeping it in its original state is storing it on the counter top in its original jar or bottle and not placing it in a dark cupboard or pantry. If it does crystallize, you can fix it by placing the bottle into a bowl of hot tap water until it is clear and golden once again.

Canned goods: the expiry date of canned foods usually indicates three years from when it's been shelved, but you can consume them past the date for up to four more years. Make sure to keep your canned goods in a cool, dry spot though and if there are any dents, rust or leaking, that's when it's time to ditch the goods.

Eggs: 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 before the expiry date. Here's a trick to check if eggs have gone bad without cracking them open: place in a bowl of water to check its buoyancy. If it sinks, it's still safe to eat; if it floats, throw it in the compost bin.

Bread: the best by date on fresh bread is assuming you are keeping your loaf sitting on the counter. But so long as you don't see mould growing on your grains, it should be OK 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.

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 (egg pasta can produce a rancid odour). Generally, dry pasta has a shelf life of two years, but you can typically push it to three

Mixed greens: Those packages of salad mixes, spinach and arugula are OK 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 throw them out.

Stay safe, stay healthy. Keep your vibrations high with positive energy at all times. Sending you all love and light xxx

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