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What's the oldest ingredient you've ever cooked with?

This corn syrup expired in 1987. I was born in 1985. I'm making a caramel layer for salted caramel chocolate cookie bars.

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  1. oldest i've cooked with is 50 year old balsamic vinegar, though it was not expired by any means, and i didn't really cook but rather drizzled :P

    1 Reply
    1. Does wine count? If not, 50 year-old balsamic vinegar like TeRRet would be the oldest ingredient. The oldest ingredient that wasn't expired was probably a block of katsuobushi that's probably a decade old.

      I generally don't make a habit of using expired ingredients.

      1. 150 year Grand Marnier made an evening of profound margarites

        1. Really old spices I found when moving. I have no idea when they were acquired and how. They worked out okay, but I made sure to increase the amount (sometimes triple than what the recipe called for) to account for the reduced flavor.

          1. Lots of spices that were decades old, tripling and quadrupling amounts to make up for it. As a matter of curiosity, I soaked and cooked 20-30 yr old beans I'd kept in a glass jar, used for pie weights. They took forever to cook and had no real flavor, but I ate them anyway, in soup.

            1. I would have to say the wild bay leaves I picked while leaving the path on the tour of the coliseum in Rome. Brought them back to put in the borlotti beans I cooked. You could taste the history.

              1. I have a couple of cases of applesauce that my Mom canned back in 1999 that I found while cleaning out the folks estate. Mom did a good job, and they are as good as I remembered growing up. Every time I crack a jar open it reminds me of her.

                I have used sour cream that was 4 or 6 months past the date, It was still sealed , and in the back of the fridge when I found it. Popped the seal, it was still solid, gave it a sniff test, and used it.

                I still have a partial container of buttermilk in the fridge from last year that I use for waffles, etc.

                Back in high school (79-83) Mom brought home some In Flight Meals from the base commissary that were dated 1964-1965. They were fine, and every one had a P38 in it = ) A P38 is the small military folding can opener.

                Hear told that honey never goes bad, and that scientists have found honey in the Pharaoh's tombs that had crystallized. When it was heated back to a liquid state it was fine for consumption.

                2 Replies
                1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                  while i certainly chuckled through your post, i am actually intrigued by your buttermilk story. even buttermilk kept in the frig rear- has gone rancid on me w/in 3-6 months. so i freeze it now, waiting for further use.

                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    Not sure what to say, other than my fridge thinks it's a freezer at times. The half gallon jug is in the top shelf of the door. I just looked at the date , and it is 4 /16/10. I open it up, and don't smell anything odd, and a good shaking gets it ready to use. It is getting low, so I either need to use it, or finally toss it cause I need the room. It never lasted this long at home,as Dad used to drink it.

                2. OMD. That is hilarious.

                    1. Just yesterday I used some cranberry salsa with a best by date of 8/3/06 in a chicken sandwich. It was pretty terrible when fresh, watery and bland which explains why it was in the back of the fridge for 5+ years. Now it is a nicely congealed paste of cranberries and onions with a tart and spicy flavor.

                      It had no visible mold on the actual salsa (some on the lid), smelled fine and actually tasted better than it originally did. I'm short of condiments currently so I mixed it with the last of the sweet hot mustard and used it. Did cook the sandwich for some extra time but still here and fine 24 hrs later.

                      1. I got a good deal on a 5 kg/11 lb. bar of Callebaut 52.8% cocoa chocolate that I thought to bake with. Now, four years later, I opened and tasted it yesterday and it was fine, almost like new. Thinking now of just eating it!