Ten foods you can safely eat after their best before date
When it comes to the food in our fridges and cupboards many of us strictly adhere to the wrong dates on the packaging: the best before date.
This date is there not for safety reasons but to let you know how long your food will stay fresh for. You can happily continue eating it after this date, it just might not taste as good as when first purchased. So what foods can you consume safely after their best before date, that you would usually throw away?
Many of us throw away those last few slices because it’s a day after the expiration, and we think that the mould will kill us. It won’t, a sour smell and mould spots are the first sign that bread is going off; however, if you simply pick the mould off and pop it in the toaster it will taste perfectly fine.
Tomatoes tend to get better as they age. Tomatoes can be perfectly edible a week or even two past the best-before date; they just get sweeter and riper rather than drying out. If they start to smell badly, or grow mould, it’s time to discard.
People have a phobia that dairy products slightly out of date will have a real negative effect when in fact they can be consumed 5-7 days after their printed date. As soon as the milk starts smelling sour or starts settling at the bottom it’s time to throw it out. Until then it’s fine to continue drinking!
Throwing away an open pack of biscuits that were forgotten about (as if that would ever happen) at the back of a cupboard should be punishable by law. Yet don’t be so hasty when it comes to throwing them away, biscuits should be perfectly fine to eat after their best before date. Biscuits won’t go mouldy but they will go soft, just pop them in the oven for a few minutes to get them crunchy again.
If canned goods are kept in a cool dry place they can last up to seven years, they are kept preserved with plenty of salt. However, bad smells, rust, leaking or dents in the can indicate that they are not good to eat: check carefully before tucking in.
Fresh produce is hard to estimate but bagged salad past its best-before date should be fine to eat. If the leaves are dark, look wet and mushy or feel slimy then it’s time to throw it out. You can cut off or remove those bits though and eat the rest if you want to.
If your cheese has gone hard on the corners or is starting to form some white mould simply cut it off and eat the rest. There’s no need to throw away the whole block. Make sure you cut off a centimetre below the visible mould to ensure you get rid of it all.
It’s never a good day if you have to throw chocolate away. Yet it can be eaten after its best before date even if it has developed a “bloom”, a white coating that means the fat has melted and risen to the top. However if the chocolate is very crumbly then it is not a good idea to eat it.
Jam is traditionally used as a preservative for fruit but now that we have reduced sugar varieties we are more prone to finding a white layer on top. Simply scrape this top layer off and the rest should be fine to eat. Keep it in the fridge to help prolong its life. If the mould is black or orange do not consume it.
Yoghurt has a surprisingly long shelf life, considering it falls in the dairy category but this is because it undergoes a lactic fermentation process, that stabilises the milk to make it last. If there is any mould on the surface, do not eat it.
To help your food last a little longer there are some precautions you can take: an energy-efficient fridge is a good place to start. Simply transferring foods, such as vegetables, into zip lock bags will prolong their lives.
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