You know that thing when you’ve got old food in the refrigerator and you’re not sure if it’s good, so you poke it or smell it and compare to the expiration date and eat it anyway/throw it out in a panic? Or maybe you’re like me, and sometimes when you’re really not sure if something’s good, you feel too guilty to chuck it, so you put it back for a few more days until it’s definitely past its prime and then throw it out. Worst option of them all.
The last thing I want is for you to eat food that makes you sick. However, after spending a month in Mexico about ten years ago in which I had no refrigeration and it was crazy hot all the time, I learned that food is a lot hardier than the world would have you believe. You can leave eggs unrefrigerated in the heat for a week, cook them, eat them — and you know what happens? Nothing. You’ve just enjoyed a delicious omelette and you’re 100% fine.
If you want to know the real deal about how long food lasts, you can check this WebMD article (eggs are good for up to 5 weeks after you get them) or Eatbydate which lists items individually. It also breaks down the code of ‘best before’ ‘use by’ and ‘sell by’ dates, reminding the less staunch of heart that these dates generally signify the quality of food and not the safety. They also have great suggestions about how to deal with food that’s just about to go bad. If you’ve got a bunch of slightly oldish apples, for example, you can cook them in a pan for ten minutes, add some cinnamon, and you’ve got yourself a tasty side dish.
Another thing I like to do when I have one weird ingredient I don’t know what to do with is go to allrecipes.com and type in the ingredient I’m trying to use up. A lot of times you have something that might not be quite good enough to eat raw but is fine in its cooked form, like some droopy broccoli or mushy bananas. You might find a delicious new dish you make over and over again this way!