Best By “Suggestions”

This weekend, I looked in my fridge and found a gallon of milk with about a cup of milk from awhile ago.  And when I say awhile, I mean it expired on November 26th – yep.  I sniffed it, tasted it and to my surprise it was perfectly fine.  I drank the last cup and I didn’t have any adverse side effects (not going to mention them, we all know what they are).

It got me thinking about best by and expiration dates.  I routinely keep milk past it’s best by date with no ill effects.  I rely on smell and general ookiness.  Basically, it may smell fine or just on this side of fine, but bells in my head are going NNOOOOOOO!  I tend to toss it then, just for the safety of it.  I do this with pretty much everything.
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If lunch meat smells fine, I’m going for it.  If it smells fine, but is a little more slippery than I think is right – out it goes.  I don’t buy any honey or sugar lunchmeat because of this reason.  They go slippery very fast.  Soft cheeses get thrown out when mold appears, but hard cheeses just get a scraping – especially parmesan.  I am convinced that stuff never goes bad – just gets stronger.

Meat, I am a lot more picky about.  Raw, in the fridge, I give it a week, no more.  I can’t really go by expiration dates because so much of my stuff gets frozen directly upon being brought home.  Chicken will let you know it’s bad.  I have had this happen way too many times because of being lazy.  Beef, on the other hand, doesn’t necessarily smell much worse as it ages.  When I say age, I mean over the course of a couple days.  This definitely throws off my radar.  At that point, it’s a call to mom to say “Can I still eat this?”.  Maybe it’s because I don’t eat a lot of beef.  When I want it, there is not much delay from it thawing in the fridge and cooking it.  Mmmmmm, tacos.

Fresh fruits and veggies are easy – they ooze, they go.  If they just dry out like onions or carrots, then I try to see if there is a soft inner part that I can use so it isn’t a complete loss.  If I am using them in soup or something liquidy, then I may just throw them in.  Dry veggies freak me out.  I was sad when I had a pineapple leak all over the counter.  I didn’t realize it was ripe because it was still green, but it didn’t like my counter 😦

Leftovers are a little more fuzzy for me.  I know that some people only keep them a day or two and there are others that keep them until a little eco-system has been brought to life.  I am a little in the middle.  I usually try not to eat anything over a week old.  This can cause issues when you are cooking recipes that have 8 servings.  This time, I had some mac and chesse from this post for breakfast and it was fine.  I made that on New Year’s day – very long for me, but it was one sad little peice.  I saw no extra moistness (hate that word.  Moist – ew) or separation or sprouting of life.  It still smelled like, well, pretty much nothing.  I take that as a good sign.  I ate it and it tasted good – not sour or anything.  Then, you have the Amish breakfast I made.  I froze one pan and there are two pieces left.  One at home and one here at work.  My dilemma stems from the weekend being the time I make a breakfast that isn’t microwaved since I have the time.  As ridiculous as it sounds, it’s making me a little squemish.  Yes, this comes from someone who just ate month old milk – lol.  I will most likely have it, though.

Condiments are tossed.  If I need it, though, and it is expired, I may still use it depending on what it is and toss it after……then continually forget to replace it (damn yellow mustard!!).

Have I scared you now? 🙂

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