QUESTION: I have been a member now since the beginning and am loving your service. However, a lot of times your expiration date is different than what
shows on the product. For instance, I have a bunch of ranch dressing that has expired.
It would be great if you could address expiration dates. Currently, I have chicken broth, canned tomatoes, peanut butter and ranch dressing. . . . all that has expired. (I guess I’m not eating
it as fast as I am a buying it.)
Are these products okay to eat after the date?? I don’t want to make my family sick, but I hate throwing out food.
ANSWER: Good question! Expirations are put on food to make people do exactly what you were thinking of doing–tossing out your food so you have to go and buy more. From most of my research (and from personal experience) food will last MUCH longer than the expirations say it will! The expirations I use on the weekly deal sheets come from information I have found online, the LDS church’s expiration chart (not in print any more) and from what I have found from my own storage experiences. If I say ‘2 years’ in the column for shelf life, you can assume that item will last up to 2 years from the day you buy the item. I know some people are uncomfortable with eating items after the expiration date has passed..and that is okay. Just buy less of those items you know you will not cycle through before the expiration day comes 😉 For those who aren’t as particular (like me) here are a few guidelines that I have found:
I have found/read that anything in an aluminum can will last 2 or more years, food in glass jars will last 3 years, anything bottled from home will last 1-2 years, boxed or packaged foods will last 2+ years, sugar and honey last indefinitely, yeast will last up to 3+ years in the freezer, anything put in your freezer will last at least 1 year, dry legumes will last 10+ years and your grains (pasta, rice, wheat, flour) will last at least 10 years if not up to 30 years–depending on how you package it and the temperature and conditions it is stored in. According to a study done by the LDS church, it showed that most of the nutritional values of grains were still there after 30 years, which was MUCH longer than originally thought (go to http://www.providentliving.org/ to see more results of the study) So…the bottom line is that unless the food you are about to eat tastes bad, smells bad or if the container it is in looks like it has been damaged, is bulging or leaking, your food should be fine. The only two foods that I am a little more watchful of expiration dates are peanut butter and oil. The good thing about these foods is that if they are ‘bad’ or expired (6 mo. or more over expiration date) you will be able to tell because they will smell and taste rancid. Even then, I don’t automatically throw them all out until I have opened a jar and smelled it or tasted it to make sure it is in deed rancid.
Continue to stock up! Nearly every food item will last at least 2 years. That is why when items go on sale I always buy a little more than I think I will use in a year because even if it takes me 2 years to cycle through it, I will of saved money by buying it when it was on sale–and I know eventually we will eat it.
Another tip to cycle through your food storage quicker is to cook as much from scratch as possible. Many of us are busy, but with a little planning (become a meal planner member and we will do all the work for you) you can make homemade meals, snacks, desserts and side dishes that are made from the items in your food storage, freezer and fresh produce from the store. I got an email from a lady who had the same 5 lb. bag of flour that she was given for her wedding over 10 years ago. Well…I can see why to her the idea of getting 75 lbs. of flour per person in her family for their year supply of flour would seem outrageous. However, if you cook most of your meals from scratch you will soon find 75 lbs. is not enough 🙂
When you keep an accurate inventory of what you have in your food storage, this will also cut down on wasteful spending and buying. You will not buy too much of the items you have found you do not cycle through quickly enough. You can adjust the totals I give you each week to an amount that would be more realistic for your families year supply. Each family eats different foods and should store more of the items they are accustom to eating. If you need an inventory sheet, you can visit our website http://www.myfoodstoragedeals.com/ and under the FREE DOWNLOAD tab there is a PDF file labled FOOD STORAGE INVENTORY SHEET that can help you get organized and know what foods you need to buy when they are on sale.