Have you ever found yourself wondering about the “best by” date on food items? Are they still safe to eat even though the date has passed? How long will your favorite food or beverage stay safe? Surprisingly, the answer is not on the date label. Most date labels tell you about food quality, not safety. We suggest using your senses and your own judgment to determine if food looks, smells, and feels safe to eat.
Here are a few key tips:
- Fatty foods spoil quicker. This is why nuts, brown rice, and whole wheat flour spoil within a few months but white flour and white rice can last years. Storing tree nuts or bread in the freezer helps extend their life.
- Condiments, instant oats, vinegars, honey, sugar, salt, cooking extracts or syrup will last virtually forever with little change in quality.
- Dried beans and lentils can last years but may be tougher to cook and digest as time goes on.
- Other than losing potency, spices rarely expire. Storing oils and spices away from the heat of the stove and sunlight helps preserve their freshness.
- If you’re concerned with milk going bad look for “Ultrahigh Temperature” pasteurization (UHT) on the label.