2011 Post · Foodie · Frugality · Homekeeping · Keeping it Real · Links

Best If Used Before

I don’t know about you, but I don’t always pay attention to expiration dates. Most of the time, I tend to rely on my senses to tell me if something should be pitched or can be used.

Take milk, for example. If today is January 14th and the milk is dated January 11th, I’ll probably take a sniff before I pour a glass. Of course, we use skim milk which is pretty much just milky water, so I’m fairly certain the expiration dates on those gallon jugs are more like a guideline.

Other things are less clear. Do I really have to throw away a perfectly good lip balm that I found in the bottom of a handbag that I’d put in the closet six months ago? I mean, it really just needs to be wiped with a paper towel, right?

Last week, a family member nearly passed out because I made (and ate) oatmeal that was more than a year past its expiration date. I checked before I made it, and none of the oats had sprouted wings or legs; nothing was moving.

It tasted just fine, but to preserve family harmony, I threw away the rest of the oatmeal after I ate my breakfast.

One of my favorite mags, Real Simple, must’ve had secret squirrel spies in my house after the oatmeal incident. They recently published 77 Surprising Expiration Dates.

Some I knew. Honey has an indefinite shelf life, although after several months, it’s likely to crystallize. Stick that little honey bear in a dish of warm water for a few minutes and your crystals will melt away.

Did you know that you can keep marshmallows, unopened, for 40 weeks?! Uhm, two things jump out at me there. One, in whose house would marshmallows LAST unopened for four days, let alone forty weeks?! Two, eww…forty week old marshmallows sound SO appealing!

Tabasco sauce can last for FIVE YEARS (if stored in a cool dry place). Five years, huh? Gotta have something to do with the vinegar and peppers. I’m thinking with the amount of hot sauce that The Lawyer consumes, his insides should last 500 years.

One of my personal faves was nail polish remover, which lasts indefinitely. Huh. I like to paint my nails. I’m now a bit more concerned about the polish remover and what kind of chemicals must be in that stuff.

It did give me pause thinking about some things I have on the list that I keep waaaayy past the “recommended” expiration date.

Or maybe I’ll just limit my purchases to long-term things like marshmallows, honey and Tabasco sauce.



One thought on “Best If Used Before

  1. Love your article. I am the exact opposite. Anything passed it’s expiration creeps me out. I found a bottle of salad dressing expired by a month. When I tried it, it tasted horrible (or so I think) and threw it out quickly. I don’t even like to eat something out of the fridge after I’ve had it for a few weeks, even if it is unopened and hasn’t expired. I think it’s all in my head!

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