I’d actually caught the bug a couple of weeks ago, but my urge to clean was stymied by a deadline and spring break. Now I’m playing catch-up with a vengeance, though!
So today, I thought I’d indulge myself with some cleaning tips for the part of the house that we cooks like spending lots of time in—our kitchens. I’ve found that sometimes I don’t know exactly when different foods need to be thrown out. Sometimes I err on the side of caution (which is probably a good thing to do, though) and throw out ingredients before they’re ready for the trash. After a little research on expiration dates, I thought I’d share my findings with you.
Clearing out the fridge and pantry….
Is it old? Should I toss it?
First of all, a little info about those food expiration dates. There’s a great article on WebMd about this…I’ll quote a little from it here.
“Sell by” date—you should purchase the product by this date: The "sell by" date is the last day the item is at its highest level of quality, but it will still be edible for some time after.
"Best if used by (or before)" date. This refers strictly to quality, not safety.
"Guaranteed fresh" date. This usually refers to bakery items. They will still be edible after the date, but will not be at peak freshness.
"Use by" date. This is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. The date has been determined by the manufacturer of the product.
How long are these foods okay to eat? Milk should be okay a week after the sell-by date. Eggs are all right for 3-5 weeks after you bring them home. Poultry and seafood should be cooked or frozen within a couple of days. Beef and pork should be cooked or frozen in 3-5 days. Butter
What about dry goods? Dry goods aren’t actually legislated as far as expiration dates. Most flours don’t expire, but if your flour has a higher fat content (like whole wheat flour) you should store it in the fridge if you haven’t used it up in 2 months from purchase.
Food Coloring? It doesn’t expire or lose its coloring ability.
The following are expirations based on storage from the date of purchase. If there is a use-by date, use that date instead. For a more expansive listing, check out this site by the Gourmet Sleuth. Or this site, Still Tasty, to find out particulars on specific foods (and for tips on storage to keep your foods fresh longer.)
White Rice—1 year
Corn meal (room temperature)—1 year
Soup mixes—1 year
Ground spices-6 months
Whole spices—1-2 years
Vanilla extract—2 years
Shelled nuts—4 months (Unshelled—6)
Organizing the Fridge and Pantry
If you’re like me, you keep a lot of food in the house. I never know when I’m going to play hostess to a houseful of hungry children.
But if you have a lot of food, it’s hard to keep organized. There’s only so much room! Here are some tips:
Shelving: Could you use an extra shelf for your fridge. You can buy mini shelving at most home improvement or discount stores. One man even put a Lazy Susan in the fridge to help him find condiments and other items.
Use containers to keep food fresh.
Group like items in your pantry to help you find them
Consider adding shelving or a spice rack to hang over the back of the pantry door
Use lots of baggies—I live by Ziplocks!
If you’re more visual and are looking for more kitchen organizing ideas, go to YouTube and plug in “organize your kitchen” or “pantry” or “fridge” and see all the great videos that come up to inspire you!
Delicious and Suspicious (July 6 2010) Riley Adams
Pretty is as Pretty Dies –Elizabeth Spann Craig
New April Contest!!!!
The first book in the Memphis Barbeque series, Delicious and Suspicious, will be released July 6. To celebrate its upcoming release, I’m throwing a giveaway! :)Are you interested in winning Williams-Sonoma’s Ultimate Grilling Rub Collection? It’s easy to enter! Just send an email to MysteryLoversKitchen@gmail.com with
“Contest” in the subject line.
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