Tag Archives: food exiration dates

Time to Toss It?

Smelly_Fridge1-234x300An elderly acquaintance recently moved into an assisted-living facility. Cleaning out her house yielded some interesting treasures, including a bunch of unopened food – some fairly recent, some not.

Dilemma… First, everybody hates to waste food. Second, this wasn’t weird, old-lady food like beets or sliced carrots, but stuff I would actually use. I have always heard that the expiration dates on unopened food are mostly “serving suggestions” designed to cover somebody’s butt in the legal sense. (I’m NOT saying that’s correct, just that I have always heard that.)

So how old is too old? Surely, a jar of olives from 2009 is going in the trash. But what about 2012 or 2013? Fortunately, the geniuses at Consumerist.com have broken the vacuum seal to give us the freshest take on food storage time limits…

  • Bread crumbs (unopened): 2 years in fridge, 6 months in cupboard
  • Dry Pasta: up to a year, airtight
  • Flour: airtight, 10-15 months
  • Ketchup: Unopened, in pantry, 1 year. Opened, in fridge, 6 months.
  • Mayonnaise: Unopened, 3-4 months past label date. Opened, fridge, 2-3 months past label date.
  • Mustard: Unopened, in pantry, 2 years. Opened, in fridge, 1 year
  • Oils: Highly dependent on type, but can last several years.
  • Soy Sauce: Several years
  • Sugar: Airtight, several years

And the winner?

  • Worcester sauce… 12 years!

More foods and their life spans at the Consumerist piece, along with further resources for you to check out on food storage and safety. And, just like that, you have an excuse not to clean out your fridge. You’re welcome.

What’s the oldest thing in your fridge or cupboard? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!!