Don't Throw Out Your Hard Earned Money Because of an Expiration Date

So the article I read in the New York Times is called “The Food Expiration Dates You Should Actually Follow” written by J. Kanji Lopez-Alt.  What goes on in this article might be familiar to you, if you are like me.  You bring home groceries or leftovers and put them neatly away in the refrigerator or pantry.  And of course, you have every intentions of revisiting them later on.  As with a lot of things, life goes on, the grocery and leftovers you brought home are nothing more than a distance memory.  

What I like about this article educated me on things I did not know, but perhaps you already know.  What happens when you go to your refrigerator and you find something with the expiration date has come and gone?  For me, this has happened many times, for example I might go into the refrigerator because I want a glass of milk.  I grab to milk jug only to see that the expiration date is today!  Or other times I might not even pay attention to the dates and kept drinking the milk.  So, what should I do?  

First, I did not know that expiration dates are not expiration dates.  According to J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, a chef, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) calls it food product dating, is completely voluntary.  See, I did not know that, then again I never gave it much thought.  I mean, I know nothing lasts forever.  The expiration dates we see are the manufacturers’  guesstimating as to their product no longer at its peak quality.  Lopez-Alt points out that manufactures tend to be conservative with these dates.  This is due to the fact that they know we do know necessarily store or refrigerate our foods optimally.  He mentions that baby food is the only one that does not follow that rule.  The date you see on baby food is the last absolute date the baby food is good for.  

As you read further into his article he gives you a variety of foods that should stay fresh, or not once it passes the expiration date.  And he compares like items like white rice versus brown rice, which would last longer and why.  Other important reads for this article are the types food storage you much choose to use.  

So if you are stuck at home, you or you can assign someone who is completely bored at home to go through the pantry and refrigerator and examine those foods.  I mean, we are stuck at home.  At least in the mean time, you cannot say you did not have time to go through your refrigerator, or pantry because you were at work.  Shoot, if you have pre-teens at home who practice voluntarily self-isolation in their bedroom, get them out and get them to work.  
All the stuff in this article are good information, at least for simple people like me.   As Kenji Lopez-Alt mentions,  knowing what the dates means, you can you hands on some baby food and survive a zombie apocalypse.  There is an other article that I have read and there are probably tons out there, on how to extend the life of your foods.  Hopefully, this can help if we do have a zombie apocalypse.  


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