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  • Ignore Expiration Dates

    The fact is that expiration dates mean very little. Food starts to deteriorate from the moment it's harvested, butchered, or processed, but the rate at which it spoils depends less on time than on the conditions under which it's stored. Moisture and warmth are especially detrimental. A package of ground meat, say, will stay fresher longer if placed near the coldest part of a refrigerator (below 40 degrees Fahrenheit), than next to the heat-emitting light bulb. Besides, as University of Minnesota food scientist Ted Labuza explained to me, expiration dates address quality—optimum freshness—rather than safety and are extremely conservative. To account for all manner of consumer, manufacturers imagine how the laziest people with the most undesirable kitchens might store and handle their food, then test their products based on these criteria...

    Expiration dates mean very little. - By Nadia Arumugam - Slate Magazine

  • #2
    I use my sense of smell for most things
    I tend to use expiration date for chicken and fish. I am afraid of weird bacteria.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Radiance View Post
      I use my sense of smell for most things
      Sense of smell, sense of sight, and common sense should tell all you need to know about when to throw food out. I hate the blanket three day rule for everything. A lot of very good food goes in the trash using that guideline.
      "Those who can't remember the past are condemmed to repeat it".- George Santayana.

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      • #4
        I like to use my sense of smell, and also the fridge a lot, this way we shop once a week and hardly ever have to throw things out.

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        • #5
          Milk is the main item that expiration can be an issue in my house. Once it reaches that magic date, I no longer drink it without heating it. It usually becomes coffee creamer or I make a batch of Chai tea.

          Worst case scenario, old milk goes the way of most questionable expiration dates... cooked until almost burnt... then dog food.

          As long as it doesn't smell awful and there's nothing green and furry growing on it, the fur kids always win the spoils. I clean out the fridge every trash day... so nothing is ever allowed to fester.

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          • #6
            Just last week I used my sense of taste to quickly & disgustingly deterimine that my 1/2 gallon of soy milk had gone bad, well before the expiration date: It had clumps & was very sour ---->

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            • #7
              Usually milk "spoils" in a manner that is okay for human consumption; you will just need to know ways to use it. I assure you that milk was sometimes intentionally spoiled in the past in order to get the acidity to make quick rising bread products such as biscuits, pancakes, and muffins.
              "There is some ontological doubt as to whether it may even be possible in principle to nail down these things in the universe we're given to study." --text msg from my kid

              "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." --Frederick Douglass

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              • #8
                Originally posted by toys View Post
                Milk is the main item that expiration can be an issue in my house. Once it reaches that magic date, I no longer drink it...
                The date on milk is not an expiration date; it is the "sell-by" date.

                Having said that, I don't drink milk once it starts to have that certain smell. I know it isn't bad yet but its close enough to it for me. I'm very sensitive when it comes to the taste, and smell, of milk. In any case, I judge it for myself, not by a date stamp.


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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Beppington View Post
                  Just last week I used my sense of taste to quickly & disgustingly deterimine that my 1/2 gallon of soy milk had gone bad, well before the expiration date: It had clumps & was very sour ---->
                  I drink Soy Milk a lot and have never seen it go bad like that but I don't believe I've ever kept it past ten days or so without consuming it.

                  The comments by J.O.A. are so true and bring back pleasant memories of my Grandmother making bisquits, cornbread, and other bread items from sour milk. She also made buttermilk, which is essentially a controlled form of sour milk.

                  As for drinking old or slightly(even marginally) sour milk; I can't get near it without wanting to throw up.
                  "Those who can't remember the past are condemmed to repeat it".- George Santayana.

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                  • #10
                    My DIL has little sense of smell, so I imagine dates help her peace of mind at times. I once had a neighbor who got sick after consuming a tad questionable container of orange juice before the dating of cartons started. Not something that I had worried about before because it never stayed around in our house for long with my family's love of it. My parents were pretty strict about food handling on our mini-farm, but my grandparents made me cringe with stuff on the table that I thought should have been in the fridge. Sure do wish there were standards so that we'd know what all that stuff truly means all the time.

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