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Old 01.06.2020, 13:09
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Eating Food Well Past Sell By Date

During the lockdown I decided to rearrange our cellar. When I used to drive to England I'd stock up on all the goodies you can't normally find here, and in the tidying up found quite a few old expired items in the back of the shelves.

Marmite from 2008
Mint sauce from 2005
Heinz Beans from 1999
Heinz Tomato Soup from 2002
Fray Bentos Steak and Ale Pie from 2006*
Corned Beef, date unknown as label missing, at least circa 2002, but still tasted good.

Anyway, not being one to waste good food, I've been opening and eating the food, and had no ill effects whatsoever. Anyone else come across and eaten "expired" food?


Coincidentally I bought some from an online store recently, and discovered the meat content was much greater in the 2006 one than in the fresh one, which had a lot more gravy instead!!
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Old 01.06.2020, 13:22
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Re: Eating Food Well Past Sell By Date

I remember when there were no sell-by dates on anything. Only the foil milk bottle tops had the date they were filled up.

And we were the better for it - nearly no overweight people, no aids, smoking was suggested as a help for tension from doctors who themselves smoked, a pint of beer was 9d. Sell-by dates have a lot to answer for...
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Old 01.06.2020, 13:27
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Re: Eating Food Well Past Sell By Date

There are two types of dates; Use before on perishables. You would be insane to consume long after that date and Best before. You can safely ignore the Best before provided the packaging is undamaged.
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Old 01.06.2020, 14:03
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Re: Eating Food Well Past Sell By Date

We have been very surprised by how far past the used by date on dairy products you can go - especially cream products and buttermilk. A recent dive into the cellar fridge found a few creme fraiche containers that were labelled as December and upon opening - no problems at all. May as well of been opening the product the day after we purchased it. Not sure if anyone else has had this happen but it certainly opened my eyes as to what was possible!
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Old 01.06.2020, 15:09
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Re: Eating Food Well Past Sell By Date

Never have any qualms about tinned or bottled goods past their sell-by / best before dates, sometimes by years. As long as the seal is still good, the food won[t have gone off. Some products may have lost their flavour or texture, like a jar of bamboo shoots I opened recently - they weren't bad, but didn't have the crunch and zing that they should, and most of the jar was thrown away. which is very much a rarity in our house.

Dairy produce dates are very much advisory - on cheese of course it's pretty much meaningless, cream or milk will tell you when it goes off, and yes, sometimes lasts a week or two beyond its date, although unsalted butter unless very well sealed does go rancid after a while and isn't always obvious from smell alone (which is why people started to salt it in the first place).

Some dried goods and flour do sometimes develop moths or weevils after some years, although I've never quite worked out how they know to attack only the older stocks, so airtight containers should be used to increase their life, and a visual check on anything that's been in the cupboard for a while, but again, it's something that should not need a date to trigger a check. It's not as if I'm going to _not_ check if that bag of flour is still OK just because it's only been in the cupboard for a year and is still within its date.
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Old 01.06.2020, 16:35
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Re: Eating Food Well Past Sell By Date

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During the lockdown I decided to rearrange our cellar. When I used to drive to England I'd stock up on all the goodies you can't normally find here, and in the tidying up found quite a few old expired items in the back of the shelves.

Marmite from 2008
Mint sauce from 2005
Heinz Beans from 1999
Heinz Tomato Soup from 2002
Fray Bentos Steak and Ale Pie from 2006*
Corned Beef, date unknown as label missing, at least circa 2002, but still tasted good.

Anyway, not being one to waste good food, I've been opening and eating the food, and had no ill effects whatsoever. Anyone else come across and eaten "expired" food?


Coincidentally I bought some from an online store recently, and discovered the meat content was much greater in the 2006 one than in the fresh one, which had a lot more gravy instead!!
You were brave. I would have thrown everything away long time ago, under the pretext of decluterring.
I mean, I used to throw away things that were only 2 days passt their expiry date (diary products especially).

If everything, corona crisis has taught us something.....we had almost 0 food waste. I even cooked something expired, but it had a different taste. Eatable, but not very appealing. Bulgur passed its expiry date went stale. Had to add a lot of spices to fix it.

Did they taste the same? I mean not good in the sense of being eatable, but good as usual?
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Old 01.06.2020, 17:39
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Re: Eating Food Well Past Sell By Date

Why do you think our ancestors added spices to their food?
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Old 01.06.2020, 18:06
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Re: Eating Food Well Past Sell By Date

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Why do you think our ancestors added spices to their food?
They had no salt or sugar?
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Old 01.06.2020, 18:06
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Re: Eating Food Well Past Sell By Date

I'm still using salt from 1999...
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Old 01.06.2020, 18:08
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Re: Eating Food Well Past Sell By Date

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I'm still using salt from 1999...
Given that most of the salt we eat is actually many thousands of years old, I think you'll survive.
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Old 01.06.2020, 21:36
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Re: Eating Food Well Past Sell By Date

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Given that most of the salt we eat is actually many thousands of years old, I think you'll survive.
Still it has an best before date of feb 02 is in a plastic shake container.

Ive always wondered about the best before date on pasta. I would imagine pasta also keeps forever ?
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Old 01.06.2020, 18:09
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Re: Eating Food Well Past Sell By Date

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I'm still using salt from 1999...
That's a mineral. It'll never decay.
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Old 01.06.2020, 18:40
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Re: Eating Food Well Past Sell By Date

Salt often has an expiry date. Bizarre.

I was once told that this date is not for the salt, but is real for the packaging. It's the time it likely takes to become structurally unstable, for example, for the inner lining of a cardboard box of salt to start to flake off, at least microscopically.
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Old 01.06.2020, 18:07
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Re: Eating Food Well Past Sell By Date

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Why do you think our ancestors added spices to their food?
If you're going to trot out the old line about it being to disguise the taste of gone-off meat then you're mistaken.

Just like the most basic of spices, salt, human ancestors learnt about things that improved flavour, increased safety by acting as a preservative or helped with digestion.

Once cooked in spices, e.g. turmeric, perhaps the best-known example, meat will usually last much longer than if cooked without, as well as tasting better and being more easily digestible. If they used it to eat meat that would otherwise have been rejected then they'd have died out from food poisoning long ago.
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Old 02.06.2020, 12:41
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Re: Eating Food Well Past Sell By Date

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Why do you think our ancestors added spices to their food?
It really is a myth. For one, in medieval times, ye old shoppe man selling spoilt produce would be sent to the stocks for a good rotten egging, then people who could afford meat would not have to buy anything that was off and woe betide the maid who let food spoil.
Spices were so expensive, read worth more than gold, that if you could afford spices you would not have to eat rotting food.
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Old 03.06.2020, 11:41
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Re: Eating Food Well Past Sell By Date

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It really is a myth. For one, in medieval times, ye old shoppe man selling spoilt produce would be sent to the stocks for a good rotten egging, then people who could afford meat would not have to buy anything that was off and woe betide the maid who let food spoil.
Spices were so expensive, read worth more than gold, that if you could afford spices you would not have to eat rotting food.
Serious question: is curry powder a better preservative than basil or is that a myth too?
Before canned goods, europeans fermented foods, added salt or dried the food to increase shelf-life.
I just found a christmas pudding that has been languishing at the back of a cupboard for years. Outer packaging has gone , so no use by date available, but my mummy told me christmas pudding gets better with age. Was she right? I am going to cook it and see
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Old 03.06.2020, 15:12
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Re: Eating Food Well Past Sell By Date

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I just found a christmas pudding that has been languishing at the back of a cupboard for years. Outer packaging has gone , so no use by date available, but my mummy told me christmas pudding gets better with age. Was she right? I am going to cook it and see
I've also found a small mini Christmas pudding, 5 years out of date, I'll eat it tonight and report back. If you don't hear from me clearly I didn't survive!
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Old 03.06.2020, 23:06
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Re: Eating Food Well Past Sell By Date

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Serious question: is curry powder a better preservative than basil or is that a myth too?
Before canned goods, europeans fermented foods, added salt or dried the food to increase shelf-life.
I just found a christmas pudding that has been languishing at the back of a cupboard for years. Outer packaging has gone , so no use by date available, but my mummy told me christmas pudding gets better with age. Was she right? I am going to cook it and see
Not sure about preserving with curry, or basil for that matter, but tap your antique christmas pud with your fingernail, it may be a cannonball.
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Old 05.06.2020, 00:18
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Re: Eating Food Well Past Sell By Date

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Serious question: is curry powder a better preservative than basil or is that a myth too?
Curry, yes. Basil, no.
The coriander and cumin in curry powder are anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, so often used to preserve meat. This is one of the reasons the Spice Route was so profitable. Has nobody here ever marinated meat to make it last a little longer?

Before spices were common in Europe, ice, smoking, drying and salt were the main ways of preserving meat and fish, and alcohol was often used to preserve fruit and meat. You only have to look at places like Salzburg and Hallein to see how wealthy salt mining made them when it was more valuable than gold.

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Christmas pudding eaten and no ill effects at all!
That would likely be the alcohol content that preserved it.

Reading this thread, I can't help but think that a few people are confusing 'use by' dates with 'best before' dates on food packaging.
A best before day on Himalayan rock salt?!!
https://www.food.gov.uk/safety-hygie...d-use-by-dates
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Old 02.06.2020, 11:52
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Re: Eating Food Well Past Sell By Date

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Did they taste the same? I mean not good in the sense of being eatable, but good as usual?
It all tasted fine. Same as when bought fresh - so to speak!
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