Recent studies show that in the UK there are some 15 million tonnes of food wasted each year, amassing nearly 90 million tons in the entirety of the EU. It seems the adage “Think of the people in Africa” mothers would say to their children when throwing away food hasn’t really stuck. Who’s to blame? Some say the supermarkets, with their 2-for-1 deals tempting customers to buy products which lay to waste once their impulses reside and the extra packet is merely an inconvenience.
Another cause could be the ease of rubbish disposal. Every day waste can be collected from my flat. Every single day! I agree we need to ensure our environment is clean, and easy disposal helps with that, but at the same time the ease of waste removal at no cost doesn’t discourage waste generation. Commerical suggestion may also be to blame, as everyone relies on food packaging to know when to throw away their food. Supermarkets make money from people buying food – it makes sense to keep expiration dates well inside the actual time in which the food goes bad to 1) Make more profit and 2) Not get sued by customers.
10 Foods That You Can Eat Past Their Expiration Date
All vegetables show distinctive signs of going off, through discolouration, mold or smell. If it’s going brown or developing mould then don’t eat it. If it looks fresh and colourful then it’s fine and can be kept well past it’s expiration date. I’m using carrots that were apparently best before 2 weeks ago, but they’re perfect.
As with vegetables, fruits can last much longer than expiration dates, check for discolouration and make sure they’re not too “squishy”.
3) MilkMilk has a very distinctive smell when it’s gone off, and if it doesn’t have that smell then it isn’t off. Pour a small portion into a glass and check the smell - if it’s not sour and replusive then it’s fine to drink.
4) ChocolateIt’s unlikely chocolate will last long enough to reach an expiration as it’s probably going to be gobbled up. If it does, dust off the bloom which is the crystallised fat layer and then enjoy.
5) Frozen FoodsFrozen foods are fine well beyond their expiration dates. The only issue is that they will dry out from freezer burn. Vacuum sealing the foods helps reduce freezer burns, so for high value items such as meat you intend to keep for a long time it’s worth vacuum sealing them.
These are notorious for being thrown away as soon as they go off because dairy is thought to be a cause of food poisoning. The rule for yoghurt is that if it’s not mouldy and doesn’t taste sour/bitter then it’s fine to eat.
Test your eggs by placing them in water. If they sink straight to the bottom they’re fine to eat and will last at least 5 days. If they sink but then stand on end when on the bottom of the bowl then they’re going to go off soon. If they float then they are no longer good to eat.
8) BreadBread is good as long as there isn’t any mould on it. It will be stale with age but simply put some water on it and put it in the microwave to moisten it up.
9) Canned FoodsThese stay good to eat for a long time, but we don’t suggest you stock them. We’re not fans of leeching metals, nitrates and salts in our food but we understand not everyone can afford fresh food all the time, so if you do eat canned products be mindful that the expiry dates are well-overcautious by several months.
Meat is one of the only products that actually follows a close resemblance to the expiry date set seen on the packet. You should always learn how to tell if meat is off yourself but for chicken and fish I recommend following closely to the recommended expiry dates. The same can’t be said for pork and beef however and these can last much longer than the packet indicates. Brown beef and pork are still alright to eat as long as they don’t develop a strong, unpleasant odor.
Did any of these surprise you, or did you realise this already? Share with us in comments below your tips for reducing food waste and how to tell when food has actually gone off.