Cut the Waste, Stretch your $$$
According to Consumer Reports, the packaged date on the food does not mean that it is unsafe to eat. It is only past its peak “freshness.” This habit of throwing away food adds up to lot of money—about a dime for every dollar spent. If you spend $500 a month on food, that is $50.00 every month and $600 a year. We may be throwing away good food and our money with it.
What do you need to know?
What are the labels?
- There are three different types of expired food labels: sell by; best by; and use by.
What do these labels mean?
- “Sell by.” This is the date that the food should be removed from shelf at the store. The idea is that the food will be high quality for a period of time after you buy it.
- Example: Milk should last 5 to 7 days after the sell-by date before souring
- “Best by” and “Use by.” These two labels mean the same thing. These dates tell you when to eat or freeze the food item for BEST QUALITY.
- Example: Salsa may not be as “tangy” after the best buy date but is safe to eat.
- Example: Crackers may be soft not crisp after the “use by” date but are soft to eat.
When does the quality of the product change?
Consumer Reports advises us that the “best buy” and “use by” dates on labels are conservative. The change in quality will differ but is often not noticeable for some time.
Cut the waste and save $$$
- Wilted vegetables like carrots and celery can be refreshed by soaking in ice water.
- Some greens that seem too limp to eat raw can be sautéed (e.g. beet tops, kale, spinach, turnip greens, etc.).
- Chop or grate and add to soups, sauces, casserole, or stir fry.
- Use sour milk to prepare pancakes or biscuit batter instead of buttermilk.
- Use stale bread to make croutons; toast, break into pieces, and store in plastic bag.
Good luck on your New Year Resolutions!
The ONIE Project Team
1. Is expired food safe to eat? Confusion over date labels leads Americans to tooss groceries that are still good. Consumer Reports. (2015, October). Retrieved from http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2015/10/is-expired-food-safe-to-eat/index.htm.