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Do You Hang on to Expired Food?

Today I was looking for room in the cupboard and discovered an unopened box of Uncle Sam cereal. (I don't remember buying it.) It said: "best before March '96." I threw it away, but, (here's comes the "sick" part) it wasn't easy. I always think: "What if there's an earthquake and I'm starving to death, I'll really be sorry I threw that cereal away."

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  1. on most items i consider expiration dates and use by dates to be guidelines more than rules. i mean, sour cream just gets more sour.

    quite a few times i'll use something from the back of the pantry and then say to myself "dang, that tasted like crap. it's never tasted like that before." and then i'll check the date only to find it 'expired' 3 years ago.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ScubaSteve

      "sour cream just gets more sour"

      Heh, until it molds! :) But yeah. I usually base it on what it is I'm dealing with. Really old spices probably aren't worth the shelf space because they don't have much flavour left. :) But I keep sour cream unless it has actual mold, I don' t pay attention to the date. Milk, on the other hand, I get really suspicious of, and if it smells the least little bit off to me, even when it's BEFORE the date, I toss it. Can't stand spoiled milk like that. :)

      1. re: Morganna

        Morganna,
        I find that organic milk lasts much longer than it's non-organic counterpart, no matter what brand or dairy. I'm not sure why. I would have assumed the opposite was true.

        1. re: AngiePangie

          I can't use regular milk any more anyway. We buy lactose free. I'd hate to think how much lactose free organic milk would cost, if it were even available. ;D So far we're managing to use up the milk before it goes bad, though. My comment above was more from before we had our surgery and became lactose intolerant (just for milk, though, I'm fine with cheese and yogurt, which is great).

    2. my philosophy is: simplify, simplify, simplify.

      1. it's really case-specific. certain foods are fine past a "best by" or "sell by" date, but how far past that date varies based on the types of ingredients & their specific perishabilities (i think i just made up that word), the manner in which the product has been stored, etc.

        it's a good thing you threw out the Uncle Sam cereal - at more than a decade past its "best by" date i PROMISE you that both the wheat and the flaxseeds were rancid.

        1. I visited my ex-husband and our son for the holidays and found food in the pantry that is more than a few years old; they moved into that house 5 years ago. Ironically, when we were dating in 1988, we cleaned out his mother's pantry and found similar treasures.

          1. I'll betcha that cereal had meal worms in it, and that's a deal breaker for me. On the other hand, there are a few items in my fridge right now that are past their expirations dates: milk, spreadable cheese, salad dressing. When I open them I sniff and if it smells fine I eat it!