You find a box of cereal in your pantry that is past its best before date – are you going anyway? In many cases it is an important indicator of food safety, but for some products it can be used as a guideline. We have collected products that can be consumed after the date indicated on the packaging, provided that the necessary precautions are taken.
Why is the expiry date of food important?
Looks and smells can sometimes be deceiving, so those best before dates stamped on packages can point you in the right direction and help prevent illness. From creamy cheeses to sandwich staples, it’s best to throw out these expired products once they’ve passed their expiration date, unless you want to risk a day of being unwell. On the other side of the spectrum, these are probably the foods you’re throwing away too soon.
In fact, you can still safely use cake mixes for four to five months after the expiration date, provided they have been stored in a cool, dry place. Do you want to take up a challenge? Here are some great cake recipes to prepare this spring.
Unopened, unrefrigerated jars of applesauce are still safe to eat for up to 18 months after the expiration date. The key is to store them in a cool, dark place in your pantry.
Expiry date for hard cheeses
Hard cheeses like cheddar and parmesan can be eaten even if mold has started to form. Just be sure to cut off the moldy parts before grating them for your macaroni and cheese or to garnish your pasta. In general, hard cheeses can be eaten for a month after their expiry date.
Here is a trick to check that the eggs are not expired without opening them: place them in a bowl of water to see their buoyancy. If they sink, they can still be eaten; if they float, throw them in the compost bin. Here are more creative ways to cook with eggs.
If you want to extend the shelf life of your bread, store it in the fridge – it can last up to two weeks – or keep it in the freezer.
If your butter is about to expire, put it in the freezer to keep it fresh longer. Keep in mind though that it’s best to use everything after thawing it.
pasta expiration date
Pasta does not spoil easily because it is dry. You can use them well past the expiration date, as long as they don’t smell weird (egg pasta can smell rancid). In general, dry pasta has a shelf life of two years, but you can push it up to three years. So go ahead, make your lasagna or carbonara with the packet you found hidden in the back of your pantry.
Mixed green salads
Packets of mixed salads, spinach and arugula can be eaten after the deadline. If the leaves are wilted, simply cut off the pieces before using. When your greens start to break down (mushy, slimy leaves), it’s time to throw them out.
Freezing temperatures prevent foods from spoiling, so those that are frozen and packaged are generally safe to eat past their best before date. If the food gets freezer burn from dehydration caused by oxidation, it won’t be very tasty. However, if you are feeling frugal, these products are safe to swallow.
Cookies, crackers and chips
As the cookies or chips age, the stale taste is quite evident. But as long as they don’t smell bad (the oils in them can deteriorate over time) and they don’t crumble in your hand, you can eat them. See here the no-bake appetizers you can’t miss.
chocolate expiry date
Chocolate can keep well beyond its best before date, depending on its quality, how it is stored, and whether or not the packaging is opened. Ideally, you should store your chocolate products in a cool, dry place at a temperature of 21ºC or less. Sweets can be stored in the pantry for two to four months from the date of printing, six to eight months in the refrigerator in an airtight container, and two to three years in the freezer.
If unopened, peanut butter will keep for a year past its expiration date, whether stored in the pantry or the refrigerator. Once opened, it will keep for three to four months in the pantry or six to eight months in the refrigerator after that date. Natural peanut butter has a shorter shelf life – only two to three months in the pantry or three to six months in the fridge past its best before date.
Cereals can be eaten up to six months after the expiry date, provided you can handle the stale taste! Get creative in the kitchen with the delicious treats you can make with it.
Best before date for pickled foods
Pickled cucumbers, peppers, beets and other vegetables will keep for one to two years past their best before date, whether opened or unopened, and can be stored in the refrigerator or pantry. They may lose their crunch over time, but are still safe to use.
How do you know if a marinated product is expired? A sure sign is the presence of a rounded or domed lid.
Ketchup, mustard and relish
In fact, condiments like ketchup, mustard, and relish have a long shelf life. If your ketchup is unopened, it can be kept in the pantry for up to a year after its expiration date. Once opened, store it in the refrigerator and consume it within 6 months. Yellow mustard can be stored unopened for up to two years after its expiry date or for one year in the refrigerator after opening. Unopened relish can be stored for up to 2 ½ years, or up to 9 months in the refrigerator after opening.