Any time most of us talk about storing food, canning, or buying in bulk when things are sale, the question comes up — “What about expiration dates?” There’s an article in the online version of our local newspaper about expiration dates. After reading it, I had to smile and I thought to myself . . the dates don’t really matter! And honestly, in my mind . . they don’t! Commonsense is what matters to me.
When grocery shopping, I’m real picky about dates on cheese, milk, raw meat, and things like that. If there’s meat that has a “sell by” date of today or tomorrow, and it’s marked down, I’m grabbing it. But if it has a near expiring “sell by” date, I’m not getting it. As far as canned goods, I will look for the freshest use by or sell by date I see. Once I get it home, of course I freeze any meat that isn’t going to be used right away but most canned items, I don’t don’t worry a whole lot about. Salad dressings, mayonnaise and anything with oil in it seems to go bad but canned veggies, dry beans, rice properly stored . . I just don’t worry about. If I open something and it looks suspect or smells funny, I toss it.
With eggs, it’s pretty easy to know if they’re fresh or not. Fill a deep bowl with enough cold water to more than cover the egg. Place the egg in the bowl. If it sinks to the bottom, it’s good. If it floats, toss it. If the big end sinks but the tip stands up, it’s still ok but should be used soon. Of course, my eggs don’t come with expiration dates but we use them, sell them or give them away way before any of them go bad.
So . . use your own judgment about those dates and remember that not everything that’s past the sell by or use by date is necessarily no good.