Almost everything you buy in the supermarket will have a ‘best-before’ date. This is to give you an idea of how long foods will last before they lose quality or are no longer edible.
However, some products may last beyond this if they are stored properly.
Here are some of the best ways to use up food when it is past its ‘sell by date’….
How to make use of food that may be past the sell-by date?
Most of the food you buy needs to be kept at certain temperatures, whether it’s in the pantry, fridge or freezer.
Milk out of the fridge turns sour, frozen vegetables will go mushy, and eggs will smell if they’re off.
Expiration dates for food:
Eggs: 3-4 weeks
Bread: 5-7 days
Canned food: 1-2 years
Cereal: 1-3 weeks past packet expiration date
Dry ingredients: 1-2 months past packet expiration date
Pasta: 2 years past -packet expiration date
Some top tips on how to know whether to use food past its best-by date
To help you save on food waste and therefore save some money here are some ways you can still use foods even if they’re past the sell-by or best-by date.
1. Know how to read your labels
Some ‘best by’ labels you shouldn’t ignore, especially when it comes to meat, fish and dairy. These items can make you very sick if you eat them after they have gone off.
However, for other items, the ‘sell by’ date is more of a guide. For example, if you purchase meat and then freeze it, you should consume it immediately after it has defrosted.
When it comes to bread, if it isn’t mouldy, you can grate it to make breadcrumbs or freeze it to extend its life.
If pasta is stored properly in the pantry in a jar at the right temperature, it is less likely to lose its quality.
- Sell by: means it needs to be sold by the supermarket or store by this date.
- Use by: Consumers should eat it by this date. If it’s past the date, the quality may be reduced.
- Best by: The product’s quality should remain the same by this date. You may still be able to consume it after (depending on the food) it just won’t be as good quality.
2. Freeze as much as you can
If you notice your veggies, fruit, or even your milk isn’t getting used up, and you don’t want to throw it out, store it in your freezer.
Some veggies, like lettuce, don’t freeze well. But other harder vegetables can be frozen.
If you freeze a lot of food and also freeze your meal prep, it might be worth investing in a chest freezer to help store things. While these can be costly, you may save money by not having to throw things out!
3. Make smoothies
Don’t throw out soft bananas or wilting spinach!
If you are a big fan of The Healthy Mummy smoothie, then this might be a great way to use up your fruit and vegetables to avoid throwing them out.
Adding spinach, avocado and fruit to your smoothies will not only give you a great hit of fibre and nutrients, but it will also help keep you filled up for longer.
4. Bulk out meals with vegetables
Do you have carrots that need using up? Blitz your veggies in a food processor and then store them in zip lock bags in your freezer. This is a quick way to use up your vegetables and then quickly add them to your meals later.
You can do the same thing with herbs and store them in ice cube trays in the freezer.
We have THOUSANDS of healthy recipes on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge that use hidden veggies in them if you run out of ideas!
5. Store fruit in the fridge
You can make lemons and limes last longer by storing them in water in a glass jar in the fridge.
Eggs will also last longer in the fridge than in the pantry. You can tell if eggs are fresh if fill a bowl with cold water and they sink to the bottom and lay flat on their sides.
If they float to the surface, they’re no longer edible enough to eat.
6. Use your senses
If something smells off and looks mouldy, then it’s not safe to eat. Don’t just blindly follow what the label says. Often, milk goes off even when it’s not past the date on the carton.
Trust your gut and your own judgement when it comes to these things.
Are you ready to become a Healthy Mummy?
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