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The Corona Quarantine "is this still okay to cook/eat?" thread


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I am guessing I'm not the only one who is second looking at things I would have thrown out to the chickens and critters as feed just last week, so thought a thread might be useful for questions about expiration dates. etc. 

My first questions:

1) As long as ghee smells fine and looks good, it is fine, correct even if "Best By" date is past? 

2) Jarred spaghetti sauce (no meat) one kid opened, poured out single serving and placed rest in fridge (in original closed jar) 10-ish days ago still okay- again if color/smell is okay? 

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
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Tbh “in old days” 😊  🦖  if jam or pasta sauce developed a little mold one could carefully spoon off the upper layer with the mold, and clean the upper jar and use the rest (unless it tasted or smelled “off”).   And even more protection was to bring the remaining sauce to boil .

 

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Ghee is fine.

The sauce is fine.  If you are unsure, just heat it up to boiling.  If you can't use it now, you could heat it up to boiling, then cool it down and stick it in a container and put it in the freezer.

Bread in the fridge....probably still good.  Look it over, check for obvious mold.  Like the sauce, if you can't use it right now, stick it in the freezer.  OR, if you have time, use it to make some french toast, then freeze that for a quick and easy breakfast or snack (even better if you make french toast sticks, easy for reheating and dunking.

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I just threw out some cream cheese that was a couple weeks past the expiration date, and some jarred pasta sauce that has been opened ummm....much longer than 10 days ago. Neither would have made me pause before, but now I’m thinking food poisoning from being careless isn’t such a great idea.

I'm not sure if I’m more embarrassed at my newfound food conservatism, or the fact that I would have previously fed both to my family. 🤷‍♀️

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17 minutes ago, pitterpatter said:

I have bread in the fridge that is "expired" by ten days. I'm looking at and sniffing it closely. Usually the crows would have gotten it by now.

When our bread reaches the "best used by" date (or whatever it's called) I usually throw whatever's left out for the crows. Now it's going into the freezer.

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Moldy sauce or cream cheese or bread is just not good - it's so soft, that even if you remove the visible mold, it's still contaminated.

Now, a little mold on a very hard food like cheddar cheese might be okay to remove and eat.

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We put bread in the freezer after one day, then use it as needed.  Usually I slice it, so we can take out what we need each time. When my husband does it, he just cuts the loaf in half and freezes one of the halves.  It stays fresh for a long time in the freezer (and his homemade bread goes pretty fast). 

I also freeze pasta sauce in ziplock bags, flat, so when someone wants a little bit, say for a french bread pizza, they can break off what they need and leave the rest. I don't generally like to use plastic bags that way, but it keeps us from wasting sauce. (We don't eat enough pasta to use a whole jar at once, or a whole batch, if I make it.)

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1 hour ago, kbutton said:

Ghee, yes, imo.

Sauce--iffy. Ten days, and I would be expecting to see mold on it. May depend on what is in it and how many preservatives it has.

Nope. I checked. No mold. Just smells like super garlicky tomato sauce. I keep my fridge at 34/35 so maybe that helps? Probably helps that it's also Ragu Roasted garlic so it's got loads of preservatives in it and smells enough of garlic to keep many vampires away. 

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9 minutes ago, marbel said:

We put bread in the freezer after one day, then use it as needed.  Usually I slice it, so we can take out what we need each time. When my husband does it, he just cuts the loaf in half and freezes one of the halves.  It stays fresh for a long time in the freezer (and his homemade bread goes pretty fast). 

I also freeze pasta sauce in ziplock bags, flat, so when someone wants a little bit, say for a french bread pizza, they can break off what they need and leave the rest. I don't generally like to use plastic bags that way, but it keeps us from wasting sauce. (We don't eat enough pasta to use a whole jar at once, or a whole batch, if I make it.)

This is a great idea on the pasta sauce. It usually takes us not quite two jars (unless I buy the huge jars), but I never know quite what to do with that left over second, so it's usually wasted. This would be great for the kids little pizzas I make them for lunch! 

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4 minutes ago, cintinative said:

What can I do with sprouting potatoes? I have no plan to use them near term. I didn't think potatoes froze well.

Knock off all the spouts.  Clean them as you would normally and/or peel them.

Then, cook them however you want to cook them.  In the crock pot, boil then mash, etc.  Cooked potatoes freeze fine.   If you like mashed taters, don't put your butter, cream/milk etc, in until you reheat them.  

Actually, regardless of how you cook them, you can freeze them after cooked and then use them to make mashed taters later.  

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Cut off the sprouts and peel them.  Put in a bowl and completely cover with water, refrigerate.  Cook within 3 days, changing water once per day.   If you have a lot left on the third day, boil all of them.  Refrigerator the leftovers and have fried potatoes the next day.

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Yes, I would eat to both.  I threw out an old coffee cake mix this morning because it smelled bad.  I am eating really ripe bananas these days, which I don’t like, so I don’t throw it away 🙄.

Edited by mlktwins
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19 minutes ago, mlktwins said:

Yes, I would eat to both.  I threw out an old coffee cake mix this morning because it smelled bad.  I am eating really ripe bananas these days, which I don’t like, so I don’t throw it away 🙄.

Really ripe bananas are great frozen for smoothies or baking.

 

____________

I'd eat both in the OP. We're always ending up with part of a jar of sauce and leave it until the next time we have pasta.

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1 hour ago, mlktwins said:

Yes, I would eat to both.  I threw out an old coffee cake mix this morning because it smelled bad.  I am eating really ripe bananas these days, which I don’t like, so I don’t throw it away 🙄.

 

Agreeing with  @soror   We freeze bananas for smoothies. Frozen bananas also work for banana bread if you don't care if there are no "chunks" of banana in the bread. When I make banana bread I usually use a recipe that calls for four bananas and if I have frozen ones I use two frozen and two ripe nonfrozen.  This is my fave recipe: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/banana-bread-with-pecans-recipe-1941648

 

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1 hour ago, cintinative said:

What can I do with sprouting potatoes? I have no plan to use them near term. I didn't think potatoes froze well.

You could plant them in a big pot for new potatoes later. They’re very easy to grow.

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7 minutes ago, bibiche said:

You could plant them in a big pot for new potatoes later. They’re very easy to grow.

We're going to do this. We've had mixed luck with potatoes in the ground, but we have some sprouted, so we thought we'd try a pot. Do you have a particular mix of soils you like for this?

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8 minutes ago, kbutton said:

We're going to do this. We've had mixed luck with potatoes in the ground, but we have some sprouted, so we thought we'd try a pot. Do you have a particular mix of soils you like for this?

I’ve used organic potting soil mixed with compost with good success. I am not a gardener though, so you might want to google for better info. 😉

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Slight tangent- but, Corona/cooking/conservation related- 

Is there, and if there is, what is an alternative to paper towels to use to pat/absorb grease off of bacon but then is washable without killing the drain/septic? Do you use dishtowels and then first soak them in Dawn or something and then rinse them out?

We have a ton of stored up bacon, but I cook it in the oven and then typically use paper towels to absorb the grease before packaging it up and freezing the cooked bacon to use as needed. I'm very protective of the paper towels we have left and usually use up quite a few when preparing 3-5lbs of bacon which I'm about to do......what would you use? 

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2 hours ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Slight tangent- but, Corona/cooking/conservation related- 

Is there, and if there is, what is an alternative to paper towels to use to pat/absorb grease off of bacon but then is washable without killing the drain/septic? Do you use dishtowels and then first soak them in Dawn or something and then rinse them out?

We have a ton of stored up bacon, but I cook it in the oven and then typically use paper towels to absorb the grease before packaging it up and freezing the cooked bacon to use as needed. I'm very protective of the paper towels we have left and usually use up quite a few when preparing 3-5lbs of bacon which I'm about to do......what would you use? 

Well I don't worry about the extra fat too much so I just lift them out of the grease with a fork and let it drip and go from there.  But if I were wanting to get more off, I'd probably put them in a metal strainer of some type and let them drip in there.

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6 hours ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Slight tangent- but, Corona/cooking/conservation related- 

Is there, and if there is, what is an alternative to paper towels to use to pat/absorb grease off of bacon but then is washable without killing the drain/septic? Do you use dishtowels and then first soak them in Dawn or something and then rinse them out?

We have a ton of stored up bacon, but I cook it in the oven and then typically use paper towels to absorb the grease before packaging it up and freezing the cooked bacon to use as needed. I'm very protective of the paper towels we have left and usually use up quite a few when preparing 3-5lbs of bacon which I'm about to do......what would you use? 

You can put it on a cooking rack over a baking tray in the oven rather than sitting it on the tray for a few of minutes and it tends to drip out.  

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Glad I’m not the only one doing the “risk of starvation due to hoarding” versus “risk of food poisoning requiring hospitalisation” analysis.

my dh is in camp eat all the things and I am in camp not getting sick 🤢 

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22 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

I need to make bread. I have a bunch of cake flour. Do I need to adjust this in anyway from just my standard white bread recipe? 

I think that cake flour is low in gluten so it might affect the texture or how the bread rises. Do you have any wheat gluten on hand? 🙂

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11 minutes ago, mellifera33 said:

I think that cake flour is low in gluten so it might affect the texture or how the bread rises. Do you have any wheat gluten on hand? 🙂

I do not have wheat gluten.

Perhaps I should just make cake instead in that case. 🤔

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On 3/19/2020 at 10:39 PM, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Slight tangent- but, Corona/cooking/conservation related- 

Is there, and if there is, what is an alternative to paper towels to use to pat/absorb grease off of bacon but then is washable without killing the drain/septic? Do you use dishtowels and then first soak them in Dawn or something and then rinse them out?

We have a ton of stored up bacon, but I cook it in the oven and then typically use paper towels to absorb the grease before packaging it up and freezing the cooked bacon to use as needed. I'm very protective of the paper towels we have left and usually use up quite a few when preparing 3-5lbs of bacon which I'm about to do......what would you use? 

Old, clean t-shirts. We cut them up, use them like paper towels and then typically throw them away. If we clean something with those kinds of rags and reuse them, we put them in a different place to avoid using them for something like bacon. 

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29 minutes ago, kbutton said:

Old, clean t-shirts. We cut them up, use them like paper towels and then typically throw them away. If we clean something with those kinds of rags and reuse them, we put them in a different place to avoid using them for something like bacon. 

This is exactly what I said about toilet paper! We have so many old, ratty clothes that I truly think we will be ok if the toilet paper supply actually does run out. 
 

sorry for the tangent...

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PSA: If you run out of granulated sugar, but you have turbinado and think that it can be smashed up in a food processor and subbed, it kind of can, at least for chocolate chip cookies. My cookies were somewhere between normal cookies and those made with all brown sugar. A bit browner and flatter than usual. 
 

It occurred to me that cake flour could probably be used for quick breads, where gluten formation is less important. 
 

As far as bacon, I would bake it on a rack in the oven, then save the drippings to cook with in case there is a future oil or butter shortage. Lol

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As for bacon, the old shirts would work, but if you're looking for something to do with the grease that collects in the pan, save jars with screw on lids, store the grease in them until full, and throw in the trash. I do this with any greasy water that I have. I keep the partially filled jar on the bottom row of the fridge door until full.

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3 hours ago, mellifera33 said:

PSA: If you run out of granulated sugar, but you have turbinado and think that it can be smashed up in a food processor and subbed, it kind of can, at least for chocolate chip cookies. My cookies were somewhere between normal cookies and those made with all brown sugar. A bit browner and flatter than usual. 
 

It occurred to me that cake flour could probably be used for quick breads, where gluten formation is less important. 
 

As far as bacon, I would bake it on a rack in the oven, then save the drippings to cook with in case there is a future oil or butter shortage. Lol

So would quick breads be like a bread maker bread? (Not a professional baker in case y'all could not tell! 🙂

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On 3/19/2020 at 1:42 PM, cintinative said:

What can I do with sprouting potatoes? I have no plan to use them near term. I didn't think potatoes froze well.

I'd remove the sprouts and put them in a cool place, like the garage.

Or if you're a baker, you could cook and mash them and then put them in the freezer in 1 cup portions. Mashed potato makes tender dough for rolls, bread, and donuts. I use this recipe to make dinner rolls, only the old Betty Crocker cookbook called for shortening instead of butter. 

https://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/make-ahead-potato-bread/62a1773f-638e-4903-8742-c6746f0a90d0

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5 hours ago, mellifera33 said:

PSA: If you run out of granulated sugar, but you have turbinado and think that it can be smashed up in a food processor and subbed, it kind of can, at least for chocolate chip cookies. My cookies were somewhere between normal cookies and those made with all brown sugar. A bit browner and flatter than usual. 
 

It occurred to me that cake flour could probably be used for quick breads, where gluten formation is less important. 
 

As far as bacon, I would bake it on a rack in the oven, then save the drippings to cook with in case there is a future oil or butter shortage. Lol

A blender should work for the sugar. 

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I was going to ask about some cans that had dates of June 2019, but found this which reassured me to go ahead and use them.

https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/12/26/167819082/dont-fear-that-expired-food

Also,  this from the USDA about food product dating.

Food Product Dating

PDF version

"Best if Used By" is a type of date you might find on a meat, poultry, or egg product label. Are dates required on these food products? Does it mean the product will be unsafe to use after that date? Here is some background information answering these and other questions about product dating. 

What is Food Product Dating? 
Two types of product dating may be shown on a product label. "Open Dating" is a calendar date applied to a food product by the manufacturer or retailer.  The calendar date provides consumers with information on the estimated period of time for which the product will be of best quality and to help the store determine how long to display the product for sale. “Closed Dating” is a code that consists of a series of letters and/or numbers applied by manufacturers to identify the date and time of production.

[Top of Page]

Does Federal Law Require Food Product Dating? 
Except for infant formula, product dating is not required by Federal regulations.1

For meat, poultry, and egg products under the jurisdiction of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), dates may be voluntarily applied provided they are labeled in a manner that is truthful and not misleading and in compliance with FSIS regulations2. To comply, a calendar date must express both the month and day of the month. In the case of shelf-stable and frozen products, the year must also be displayed. Additionally, immediately adjacent to the date must be a phrase explaining the meaning of that date such as "Best if Used By."

[Top of Page]

Are Dates for Food Safety or Food Quality?
Manufacturers provide dating to help consumers and retailers decide when food is of best quality. Except for infant formula, dates are not an indicator of the product’s safety and are not required by Federal law.

[Top of Page]

How do Manufacturers Determine Quality Dates? 
Factors including the length of time and the temperature at which a food is held during distribution and offered for sale, the characteristics of the food, and the type of packaging will affect how long a product will be of optimum quality. Manufacturers and retailers will consider these factors when determining the date for which the product will be of best quality.

For example, sausage formulated with certain ingredients used to preserve the quality of the product or fresh beef packaged in a modified atmosphere packaging system that helps ensure that the product will stay fresh for as long as possible.  These products will typically maintain product quality for a longer period of time because of how the products are formulated or packaged.

The quality of perishable products may deteriorate after the date passes; however, such products should still be safe if handled properly. Consumers must evaluate the quality of the product prior to its consumption to determine if the product shows signs of spoilage.

[Top of Page]

What Types of Food are Dated?
Open dating is found on most foods including meat, poultry, egg and dairy products. "Closed or coded dates" are a series of letters and/or numbers and typically appear on shelf-stable products such as cans and boxes of food.

https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/food-labeling/food-product-dating/food-product-dating/!ut/p/a1/jZFfT4MwFMU_DY-lF5kL842QmA0duCw61hdTRltISkvaTqKf3vrvYWbo2qd7-ju5955igitMFH3pBHWdVlR-1GT-DBuYR4sM8nIR3cKqeNqUd1kGyfbaA_s_gCK-0D9xUvjPn1_Q4Mqss7XAZKCuRZ3iGleCOUSVHZmxuOJaN8hSztwr4vTgkG0Zcz8PktZMdkp8l4PRzdEzjY9oStxhcjoWRP6uing7W-ZFDOXsN3Amty9gOhi_uZC6_vykfarqOPErGsaZYSY8Gi-3zg32JoAAxnEMhdZCsvCg-wDOWVptHa5OSTz0j9XbfbqE7qHfJTZ9B_9fjN8!/#3

 

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