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How Old Was It?

OK, Hounds, top this!

In the bottom of the freezer we found a can of Minute Maid Pink Lemonade. "Best By" date: June 26, 2001! So we did what any sensible person would do with something that expired over 11 years ago...we mixed it up. It tasted fine.

So, what's the oldest thing you've found in the back of the cupboard or in the bottom of the freezer? What did you do with it? The sensible thing and chuck it? Or did you prepare it somehow and eat it? If it was the latter, how was it? More importantly, would you do it again?

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  1. Ha ha ha. I have certainly eaten things which are very old, but those were meant to have long shelf life like dried ginseng and others. I don't think I have ever tried something which is 11 years past the expiration date. You are awesome.

    1. That is so cool Al! I found some six month old eggnog that got shoved to the back of my fridge. Still sealed. So I tried to just see how long I could keep it. After about two and a half years someone threw it out. :( It was like losing a mascot. /sniff

      1. Found a package of unopened cream cheese iin fridge... easily 6 months or more past date on box. Hadda open it up... expecting a total science experiment... but it was fine.

        1. In August 1988 I sold my parents' home and was cleaning it out for their move to Florida. I had to attack the big 10 door ice cream style chest freezer in the garage. For years my father had given my mother a hard time about not knowing what was in the freezer as she was too short to reach the bottom levels.
          We found a package of lox that had been put away after my brother's Bar Mitzvah in May 1959.
          My mother defrosted it and served it to my father for breakfast the next day. When he complained how bad it was, my mother replied: "You deserve it, I've been asking for an upright freezer since 1963!"
          The home in Florida had an upright.
          The oldest thing I had in my own freezer was the toip to my wedding cake, which we took out for our15th anniversary. PURE SAWDUST!

          1 Reply
          1. re: bagelman01

            Same thing with the top of the wedding cake, 20 years, just a pile of or a blob something.

          2. I may have eaten hard candies from the 1980's...but that's about it. Not too too too adventurous in that area.

            1. Clearing out the mother in law's cupboards, there were packet herbs and spices that expired 15 years before.

              That said, there was very little that was in date - the mother in law may be the world's worst cook and, I think, believes the only way to get food to taste good is to cook it in the oven for several hours until it looks cremated.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Harters

                That sounds exactly like my MIL situation. Oldest item I ever used was a packet of macaroni and cheese from MIL's cupboard. We were packing her house to move and wanted an easy lunch. The noodles were fine; the "cheese" packet was brown rather than neon orange. And smelly. I tossed it immediately and we had noodles with butter. Every time we've moved MIL, we find ancient things in the cupboards. Spice packets contained in boxed meals, in general, do not age well.

                1. re: Harters

                  Same here on the MIL's cupboards, my husband was cleaning out her spices and found a packet of nutmeg that had it's weight on it in ounces (grams were nowhere to be seen) which means it must have been sold pre 1977 as after then all pre-packaged goods had to show the metric measure. I think it just got thrown out as she had a couple of more recent packets of nutmeg and only the most recent packet of each spice got kept.

                2. Made a lot of goose confit in the eighties for a catering job, saved the fat, still there, about 8-10 lbs. of it. Have moved it three times.

                  1 Reply
                  1. Pulled some pecans from the freezer at my great-uncle's once and made a batch of cookies. Then I found out those were the last batch of pecans my great-grandpa put up - 32 years earlier.
                    They were a little stale!

                    1. I think the oldest thing I've ever had was a jar of hot pepper sauce that I bought in Hungary in 1995. I brought it back to Moscow (where I was living at the time), moved it to Philadelphia in 1996, moved it to Wilmington in 1998, and finally threw it out somewhere around 2004. I did use it from time to time, but it was so insanely hot that you only needed about a teaspoon's worth to flavor an entire pot full of goulash.

                      I tend to keep condiments for years and years, as I use them very infrequently. Mustard is the only thing that I ever actually finish before it gets ancient.

                      1. A bunch of hot sauces that I started buying in 1992. Bought them in New Orleans, shipped to CA, then moved with me to NY and now NJ. Still tastes fine, and I've got about 5 out of the 15 or 20 I bought back then.

                        1. So, I've got a couple pounds of wild rice given me by a friend 12 years ago sitting in the back of my pantry and I'm wondering if I should dump it in the green bin, or try to cook it. Any advice on this?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: zippy2u

                            Does it smell rancid? If yes, toss it. If not, just cook a few tablespoons of it and taste. It might be rancid but a mouthful won't harm you.

                          2. I do not recall how far past expiration it was, but I found a 6pack of caffeine-free diet Pepsi in my garage. Not only was there zero carbonation when I popped a top, but the soda was colorless, and the only flavor was bitter and metallic. I chucked it all (this was before the days of bottle/can deposits
                            in this state. This object lesson in how alien the drink is to anything resembling actual foodstuffs stuck with me to the extent that I stopped buying it for home consumption and greatly reduced the frequency of ordering diet cola when eating out.

                            Out of curiosity, I soaked and cooked the white beans I'd used as pie weights long ago. They were probably only used 2-3 times, but then spent a couple of decades in a glass jar in the cabinet above the stove. It took a long time for them to tenderize and they tasted like cardboard but probably would have been okay with seasoning (I didn't even salt them since this was an experiment) or if cooked into a soup.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: greygarious

                              With regard to diet soda and Aspartame....you only have 45 days to enjoy it.....after that, the effects you mention begin to happen. i do not recall the exact name, but Pepsi has recently decided to alter their diet soda recipe to include a new sweetener in addition to Aspartame to increase shelf life for their products and compete against the taste of Diet Coke.

                              I still like to purchase TAB when I see it available. It uses Saccharin.

                              As a side note, to combat this problem for our Military forces around the word....Saccharin is used instead to sweeten the diet soda.....similarly, Chocolate bars utilize a different recipe so they do not melt in the hotter environments like the desert.

                            2. Not counting spices and herbs...

                              A partially used squeeze bottle of "butter" two years past expiration so it must have lasted through 4 Florida summers unrefrigerated. In my boat.

                              Looked and tasted fine. Or at least no worse than usual.

                              1. A jar of Romanoff Iranian Caspian Sea beluga caviar that my college girlfriend gave to me for Christmas in 1973. It's a funky color now.

                                1. Late answer, but when we were cleaning out my grandmother's chest freezer back in 2000, we found frozen raspberries she packed from back in 1985. Little freezer burned, but good on ice cream.

                                  The MGD from 1986 (year my grandfather died) was not so good. We used the chunky vermouth from the same area as weed killer in the flower beds. Could actually watch the plants shrivel up, it was Awesome. My dad kept the unopened bacardi and it is still sitting unopened in my parent's root cellar.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: autumm

                                    We used the chunky vermouth from the same area as weed killer in the flower beds. Could actually watch the plants shrivel up, it was Awesome.

                                    Laugh! Out! Loud!!!

                                  2. Hi, al:

                                    Before my mom passed away in 2006, I found in her cupboard of "nice" canned foods a 4oz can of sliced button mushrooms..................................dated 1955. The can was neither rusted nor swelled.

                                    I tossed them, but I regret not turning the can over to some food science lab for testing. She actually tried to talk me into using them!