February 21, 2015
Waste Less and Save More While Staying Safe
Are your eggs past their expiration date? How about that open jar of peanut butter sitting in your pantry? What about the fresh shrimp you brought home yesterday? Sell-by and expiration dates aren't always the best indicator of whether a food is still safe to eat. Of course, we want to waste less food, but keeping our loved ones safe is the most important thing. I wanted to share links to a couple of my favorite sources I look to when I need to find out information about the shelf life of my food items.
One website I look to for this information is StillTasty.com. It's a great guide to the actual shelf life of food items, and even gives information on the best way to store food. You can look up just about any food in their extensive database, and it will give you very specific information about how to store it, and how long it will stay good. I'm not affiliated in any way with StillTasty.com - it's just a very useful site I wanted to share. Both food safety and reducing waste should be top priorities in the kitchen, and this website makes it easy.
The USDA also provides information about safe food storage and handling. They have a site called Ask Karen, where you can search a datebase for your answers to food safety questions, or even submit a question yourself: USDA Ask Karen.
Here are a few more quick tips:
For certain items, like cooking oils, the nose always knows. If the oil smells rancid, throw it out.
Make it a mission to learn to store food properly to maximize the window of freshness. Heat, light, and dampness are the enemy of pantry storage.
Buy a thermometer for your refrigerator and freezer. The built-in thermometers aren't always accurate (I know this from experience,)
When it comes to egg freshness, I often test it by using the old trick of submerging eggs in a bowl of water. If it rests on the bottom, it is fresh. If the egg floats completely, it is bad, and you should discard it. If one end of the egg touches the bottom, but one end floats towards the top, the egg should still be safe to eat, but it's not at it's freshest.
Remember that food safety is first. Reducing waste is a good thing, but it's not worth it to risk illness. If there is any doubt as to the safety of a food item, I err on the side of caution and toss it. It happens to the best of us sometimes, and we can just try and do better the next time.
Stay Happy and Healthy!
See more frugal living tips at:
Thrifty Thursdays at Living Well, Spending Less