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Thread: Use by dates - - -

  1. #1
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    Use by dates - - -

    My aunt was very unhappy when my cousin (her daughter) cleaned out her refrigerator and tossed out everything that was "expired" - only if by a few days or so!

    I tend to use "judgement" when it comes to expiration dates - if it's something like milk - it smells and tastes bad - no problem there.

    When it comes to spices and condiments - I probably should be embarrassed by how old some of those things are. I think the new packaging has a "best if used by ____" dating on the packages now. Some of the older ones have some kind of code.

    Anyone else keep and use outdated stuff?

  2. #2
    Super Member osewme's Avatar
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    Of course I do! I use my judgement on most things but some things you can tell by smell/look without having to look at the "use by___" date. From my experience, most things have a much longer "good" time after the expiration date.
    Now, when something has gone so long in my fridge that I can't even recognize any more it is definitely time to get rid of it. I've been known to find a container of just green, powdery looking stuff in a container back in the corner of my fridge that is no longer recognizable to the human eye.

  3. #3
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    I keep my dried spices until I use them up. They can lose some of their potently but I just add a little extra. As for things kept in the fridge, I usually toss those passed their Best Buy date. With the exception of condiments like mustard, relish and ketchup.

  4. #4
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    A couple of years ago, I finally threw out a bunch of spices that were at 10 years old, although once in a blue moon I've used them and we're still here. We all managed to survive before expiration dates came into being, so unless it smells back or looks "funny", I'll used it.

  5. #5
    Super Member GingerK's Avatar
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    IMHO, the 'best before' date is a 'guide'--and a reminder to stores to rotate their products. I found a sealed container of yoghurt that had migrated to the back of our fridge. It was about 3 weeks past the expiry date. I decided to open it--looked fine, just a little watery on top. Sniff test was negative for spoilage. Soooo I decided to taste it. It tasted fine and we used it that day. None of us got sick or dropped dead from salmonella.

    I have frozen cottage cheese and ricotta that are at their 'use by' date, thawed and used in lasagna, with no ill effects. I have used canned goods that were a year past their 'use by' date. As long as the top of the can is not bulging out, and air whooshes into the can when it is opened, all is good.

    In the current litigious era, I feel that 'best before' and 'use by' are the food industry covering their collective behinds.
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  6. #6
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    I believe there is a difference between "Best by" dates and "expiration" dates, and then there is the "sell by" dates, too. I am kind of a stickler on dates for some items. Some canned items have dates that are so far into the future that if they go past that by much, I just feel the product is too old and has been sitting in metal too long. I know there are people who look for items that are past their date, just not for me. Spices I don't usually even check, or dry products like crackers, etc, not too concerned because they will begin to taste stale or "off" and I don't think they will give me food poisoning. Needless to say, this all drives my DH a little crazy! He thinks I am too picky.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by suern3 View Post
    I believe there is a difference between "Best by" dates and "expiration" dates, and then there is the "sell by" dates, too. I am kind of a stickler on dates for some items. Some canned items have dates that are so far into the future that if they go past that by much, I just feel the product is too old and has been sitting in metal too long. I know there are people who look for items that are past their date, just not for me. Spices I don't usually even check, or dry products like crackers, etc, not too concerned because they will begin to taste stale or "off" and I don't think they will give me food poisoning. Needless to say, this all drives my DH a little crazy! He thinks I am too picky.
    Ginger, I think we were writing our posts at the same time! Same idea, just a little different take

  8. #8
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/...dates-matter#1

    We usually eat up everything in the frig eventually. I guess we have cast iron stomachs. Daughter in law would like to throw everything away. When we are there I say "save this, I'm going to eat it for lunch" and she will say "really? it will go bad". It doesn't. I finally got rid of some spices that were 20 plus years old, but, they still smelled pungent to me.
    Alyce

  9. #9
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    I have some pizza rolls that still look good. I have no idea if they are!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray View Post

    Anyone else keep and use outdated stuff?
    Never! The refrigerator is cleaned out twice a week. There are no old pickles, sour cream, cheese, etc. lurking in there. I will admit that stinky garbage is double bagged and frozen until garbage day. LOL. Leftovers go after 3 days too.

    I stopped the trash truck today with a whistle as they blew by my house. They backed up and took the dead plants waiting for pick-up.

    Pantry is cleaned out at least twice a year. Spices are fresh and alpha organized in their own cabinet.

    Perhaps the cousin will offer to grocery shop and replace the tossed items for your aunt.

  11. #11
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    Many, many years ago, my home ec teacher told us don’t use old baking powder and I follow that rule. I threw out my DIL’s old baking powder when I was staying with the grandkids. I replaced it with fresh and when she returned, I told her. I don’t think she approved.

  12. #12
    Super Member SusieQOH's Avatar
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    Baking powder is one thing I don't keep for long. It's so inexpensive that I don't want to chance something not coming out well. As for the other stuff my husband is basically the kitchen person in our family so he takes care of the rest. I have my baking supplies in a different spot because I can never find anything. He is chaos in the kitchen lol

  13. #13
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    My son will not use something out of date. Instead, he brings it to us. Guess it's ok if it kills us--lol-. I always use it if it's still good. Can't convince him that the date is just a general idea of freshness.
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  14. #14
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    I use my judgement, since 'dates' only came onboard 20 or so years ago, I learned well from my mother and grands how to tell if something was bad. As for now, it's a way of scaring people to BUY things they don't need. It's like buying new irons every few years because they are spitting. One person told me, but it says NOT to use distilled water in them. Of course it does, that way you have to buy a new one, frequently. My Proctor Silex is 50 years old, just an old cheapie, it's never had a drop of water in it that wasn't distilled. Nary a spit ever. I use it nearly every day as I sew frequently. I love that iron and my pantry.

  15. #15
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    Yes, the date on the packages are for the sellers mostly. They can't sell after that date but doesn't mean its not still useable. As someone mentioned now they include ......use by such and such a date which is a good idea. When my mother was cleaning out her house and we got to her kitchen we were startled to see some items, mostly spices had an expiration date back in 1970's. We tossed them out. When my sister decided to check her spices she found some even older so tossed them out and got new. If the can is not bulging I'll keep it for another year past the date, packages depends on how it looks inside. Spices I'll keep for another year or two. I use them up pretty fast these days anyway. Milk I found I can freeze if not opened, just shake before pouring once thawed.
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  16. #16
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    I only follow use by dates for medicines. The other food stuff I go buy taste, looks, and freshness.
    I believe giving what I can will never cause me to be in need.
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  17. #17
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    I think they use the dates for inventory control. There is no law that says they must sell by the BB date - look at all the "scratch and dent" discount grocery store that sell out of date items. The exception is baby food which can not be sold when expired.

    In the food shelf where I volunteer we accept donations up to one year "past". (except for baby food). Older than that, gets given to a pig farmer. (Donors are not told that though). We get some really old donations, even from the bins in the supermarket, which means people are bringing their old food from home for the donation bins.

    Once in a while we get a donation we refer to as "Grandma went into the nursing home", as you can tell they cleaned out the cupboards of everything, old, new, opened, unopened and gave it all to us. Oh well, I guess it is the thought that counts. Oldest one I ever saw was a package of Jello pudding from 1969.

    I do notice that newer products are coming through with a later date. It used to be like one year past the manufacture date, now we are seeing BB dates into 2022.

  18. #18
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I go by taste, smell, looks. Pickles won't spoil they are made with vinegar. What can live in that?????
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  19. #19
    Super Member wildyard's Avatar
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    I also don't need a date to tell me if something is bad. At least I don't think I do. My adult children think it's terrible and I'm sure they will have a field day when the time comes they have to clean out my cupboards and pantry. lol
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  20. #20
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    I have had a pharmacist say that medicines are good after their expiration date. Some last longer than others. Maybe you could check to see if your pharmacist is willing to give you advice.
    Quote Originally Posted by Onebyone View Post
    I only follow use by dates for medicines. The other food stuff I go buy taste, looks, and freshness.

  21. #21
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    Yep I keep stuff all the time - Unless it does taste or smell bad; then out it goes.

  22. #22
    Super Member Nanny's dollface's Avatar
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    Those dates are guides especially the best by dates. I use my judgement. Does it smell good, does it look good, and then does it taste good. I have a cousin who throws out everything, can goods, dried goods , and packaged steak meat that may have been left out on the counter more than 30 minutes. She is petrified of getting food poisoning even though she never has it at home. She has had food poisoning as she eats out 5 times a week. If I were her I would stay away from the restaurants she eats at. Lol
    "I may not believe in what you say but will defend your right to say it"- Voltaire

  23. #23
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    I have been told by people in the food industry that the 'Best by..' dates are put on cans, etc., by the food companies for no good reason. Canned foods will keep safe for years. The dates are there so that we'll throw out perfectly good food and buy more. Another con job on the public.

  24. #24
    Super Member Watson's Avatar
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    "Best Before", does not mean, "Bad After". Best before is the date that the product is at it's optimal. There is no reason to throw out something that is out of date unless it is obviously stale, gone bad, sour or has lost its usefulness or taste. Canned items last for a VERY long time after the BB date. Check for bulging and always keep your pantries cool.
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  25. #25
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    Some things that are NOT worth keeping after their BB date - evaporated milk, it gets thick and clumpy. Baking mixes, the leavening gets weak and the baked goods don't rise. Jams and jellies, they lose their flavor.

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