Food Shelf Life

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Just had this article in my FB feed on expiration dates for some common types of food.  Reminded me that I should probably label when I actually open some things, so I don't chuck them before they need to be disposed of. 

Also, just read something recently that Americans toss out something like 30% of their food. 

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gillumhouse's picture
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When we were in Illinois, we lived about 1/2 mile in each direction from 3 major grocery chains. The day before expiration date, OJ, milk, etc would go into the half-price section. We had a freezer in the garage and i wuld load up on all the half gallon cartons and put them in the freezer. It was wonderful for the budget. Today most of my kids will only eat green bananas because "wounded" bananas were the only kind that found their way into our house. A bag of bananas @ 10 cents a pound beat the heck out of pretty yellow bananas @ 35 cents a pound. (Can you tell it was a lot of years ago?)

I still visit the "let's get rid of" shelf at the produce market before I look at anything else. If they have red raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries (usually 3 or 4 cartons depending in a basket @ $1.50 per basket) I usually buy all they have. Then DH and I go through them berry by berry into 3 containers - for the freezer, for DH (good enough to eat now but not good enough to freeze for guest use), and compost. WE get most of the "family" veggies from this shelf. I rarely lose on the deal.

Breakfast Diva's picture
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In all of the grocery stores in the last 12 years that we've shopped or stopped at, NONE has had the "let's get rid of" section! I would love to be able to buy really ripe or slightly bruised fruit at a discount. I don't know if it's a NW thing or some regulation they can't sell it, but I'm so tired of buying fruit that you have to wait 2 weeks for it to ripen.

gillumhouse's picture
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The groceries here have "Managers Sale" on a few things, but in the Chicago burbs 25 years ago (and more) this was found. The produce store is where I find my "let's get rid of" baskets. You take the baskets as is, but whatever is in there is $1.50.  Helps my budget a LOT - especially the berries for the baked oatmeal.

Generic's picture
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Why don't you ask?

You can speed ripening time with very ripe bananas or apples. They both expel gas that forces fruit to ripen. 

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Generic's picture
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My family was in the linen business and we always had odds and ends towels with some even marked "SAMPLE" across them. One day I took them all and handed them to charity and bought myself a lovely matching set. My equivalent to your kids and the bananas... part of my baggage from my childhood. We don't intend to pass it along to the kids, but without thinking about it and explaining it, we do, we do.

gillumhouse's picture
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My son came home from his friend's house one day just shaking his head. They had thrown out a jar of an expensive cheese because there was a bit of mold on top. My son knew that cheese is made by molding and in our house, we removed the mold and had at it. Apparently all was well with our practices - all of my two-legged animals are healthy and WORKING!!! And 4 of them have 2-legged animals of their own. One daughter who would not even LOOK at the Clearance rack now believes in it. When I teased her about it, she replied, "Now it is MY money." (My Mom grew up in the Depression in Chicago (no gardens) and taught me well!)

Generic's picture
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Mold on hard cheese is considered safe as long as you cut about 3cm (an inch) off below it. Not on soft cheeses, such as brie, if it's not the original strain, though. 

gillumhouse's picture
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Brie was never in our budget. That is what we did.

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05/30/2008

Thanks for sharing this article! When I came across the eggs, I was reminded that when I was in Paris last month, I saw a display of brown eggs, sitting alongside the BEAUTIFUL produce display, at room temperature! (Sorry, didn't think to shoot the eggs, which were sitting to the left.)

Generic's picture
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Eggs don't really need to be refrigerated if we use them instead of letting them linger. In the summer, I buy eggs by the gross. In the winter, but the 2.5 dozen skid. I refrigerate them because the guests are so used to it. But it's really a waste. I also so people who put tomatoes in the fridge, which drives me crazy... they lose all their flavour when refrigerated. 

Silverspoon's picture
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I keep my eggs refrigerated.  Since I JUST recertified for my food license, I thought I would pass this along from: 

http://www.servsafe.com/faqs/?product=ServSafeFoodSafety&page=3#FAQLink70

Eggs can be received at 45°F (7°C), while other potentially hazardous foods such as meat, poultry, and fish must be received at 41°F (5°C) or lower. According to section 3-202.11 of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Code, if a temperature other than 41°F (5°C) is specified by law governing the distribution of a potentially hazardous food, such as laws governing milk, molluscan shellfish, and shell eggs, the food may be received at the specified temperature. Current laws for interstate shipment of shell eggs allow a temperature of 45°F (7°C).

Federal regulations effective August 27, 1999, require shell eggs to be transported and distributed under refrigeration at an ambient temperature not to exceed 45°F (7°C).

The FDA reviewed research indicating that Salmonella Enteritidis multiplies at temperatures of 50ºF (10ºC) and above but can be inhibited at lower temperatures, e.g., 46ºF (8ºC), 45ºF (7ºC), and 39ºF (4ºC). Based on this research and USDA's temperature requirement during transport, FDA implemented regulations that establish a maximum ambient air temperature of 45ºF (7ºC) for eggs stored and displayed at retail establishments.

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Generic's picture
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I'm not subject to USDA in any case, but when I buy eggs at the farmer's market, they aren't refrigerated at all. Processed eggs do need to be kept refrigerated, though, since they are washed and therefore porous. 

But besides that, they mix differently. Anyone working in pastry will tell you that you need room temperature eggs when working. And my food safety course said nothing about having to use cold eggs or cold butter.

Now there is a caveat and that is that eggs removed from refrigeration sweat and that sweat can cause bacteria. Which is why once they are refrigerated, they should be kept that way. And if you are going to bake with them, take them out about 30 minutes to an hour ahead of time so that they can warm up to room temperature. 

gillumhouse's picture
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Something I learned from my chef son - eggs should be stored on the lowest shelf in the fridge.

Tom
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My first County health inspection dinged me 4 points for eggs not at bottom of fridge.  And another 5 points for having the sanitizer too strong.  From there on in, we are always 100.

Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

Eggs don't really need to be refrigerated if we use them instead of letting them linger. In the summer, I buy eggs by the gross. In the winter, but the 2.5 dozen skid. I refrigerate them because the guests are so used to it. But it's really a waste. I also so people who put tomatoes in the fridge, which drives me crazy... they lose all their flavour when refrigerated. 

When I buy eggs at the farmers market they are not in the fridge and never have been. The problem is once they go in the fridge they have to stay there. I think they make a 'wholesome' display but, like you said, guests don't know so they worry they're going to get sick from the 'warm' eggs. We wash and dry them but it makes no diff. They need to see them coming out of the fridge.

Ditto on the tomatoes. Makes me crazy.

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Generic's picture
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We keep the eggs in the fridge, but potatoes, onions, garlic and tomatoes are never in my fridge. Unless they are cut, at which point they need to be refrigerated. But tomatoes in the fridge is just a shame! 

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01/12/2013

30%!  That's crazy and so wasteful! Thank goodness for my vacuum saver.  About the only time I throw out food is when it's half eaten on the plate. Leftovers to the neighbors, and once a week "everything in the pot" soup or stew.

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