'Ignore expiration dates': supermarket chain owner advises eating expired products
Purchasing food has become a challenge for many during the COVID-19 pandemic. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends six feet (1,8 m) from other people, but this distance is not always possible to observe at the grocery store. When ordering products on the Internet, an increased demand for delivery can become a problem, which makes it difficult to receive goods. But there is a way. About him wrote the publication Grow.
“Now that it’s harder to get food, it’s more important than ever to use everything we buy, — what is already in our pantries, — says Scott Nash, founder and CEO of Mom's Organic Market, a grocery store chain. —Moreover, many people are now experiencing financial difficulties. ”
Almost four years ago, Nash ate exclusively expired foods for a year and wrote about it in блоге. After the experiment, he set himself the task of proving: the expiration dates on the products do not really indicate that the food has deteriorated.
“You can ignore the shelf life of most products, but not meat. Shelf life usually has nothing to do with food safety. ” — he assures.
Nash worked in the grocery business for more than 30 years, which helped him develop methods for effective long-term storage of food products.
Scott Nash said on which foods you need to consider expiration dates, and on which — ignore him. In addition, he shared a strategy for using everything you buy in order not to waste money and food for nothing.
You can safely ignore expiration dates on some products.
There is no federal regulation requiring manufacturers to indicate expiration dates on food packaging, with the exception of infant formula. Manufacturers themselves decide to print dates on their products indicating best by, sell by or use by. The indicated date is often a reflection of when the product has the highest palatability, and not an indicator of how safe it is to use after this date.
The store chain director says that many available expiration dates on products can be safely ignored. Even a few years after the expiration of this period, many products are suitable for consumption. To understand if food is safe, “trust your eyes and nose,” he recommends.
How to determine product safety
Cereals, rice, oatmeal, pasta and more
“Most groceries rarely go bad.” — says Nash. If something went bad, you can usually recognize it by smell.
"Smell — A great way to appreciate the freshness of cereals. If it smells rancid, don't eat it. But there are exceptions, — says Nash. — For example, pasta lasts longer than flour. Pasta — it's dry grain, and flour — ground. I never found spoiled pasta. Flour, on the other hand, can go bad. You will know that it or, say, rice has deteriorated if it has an unpleasant odor or is discolored. ”
Canned food and preservation
“Everything that is in a tin or glass jar or in a bottle can serve for decades, unless, of course, it is broken or opened. If the lid on the jar is swollen or liquid begins to flow out from under it, do not buy or use it. If you see a bulge on the jar, if it is broken or dented, it usually means that the contents have deteriorated. ” — explains Nash.
The freshness of chips and nuts can also be judged by their smell and taste. “Take corn chips for example. The consumer recognizes when they are spoiled by the characteristic smell emanating from them ”, — he specified.
If perishable products expire, cook them
Unlike other products, meat and dairy products have an expiration date that you should not ignore. Therefore, if these products expire in your refrigerator, cook them so that they last longer. Nash says, "I like to call it expiration date."
“If you cook foods that have nearly expired and put them in a container in the refrigerator, this will give you a few extra days to consume them.” — he explained.
Several ways Nash “extends life” to food
Keep the leftovers. "Pie or crepe — great way to use leftovers. Start with five eggs, add a bunch of what you have (like olives, tomatoes, onions or even grilled chicken), pour it into the base for the pie, add some cheese and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes . That’s all you have to do. ” — says Nash.
Cut the mold. “If mold has appeared on your cheese, cut it off. Still in doubt? Then use cheese to make a hot dish (e.g. casseroles) — high temperature will help get rid of bacteria, " — explains Nash.
Sauté fruits and vegetables. “Suppose I have a bunch of apples that will soon go bad. I'll add some butter and cinnamon, then cook them — I will now have several days to eat these apples. If I have peppers that start to deteriorate, I cut them into cubes, fry them in olive oil and put them back in the refrigerator — I can use them in a week ", — share nash.
Use acid. "If an avocado starts to deteriorate, I cut it, put it in a container, squeeze a little lemon or lime juice on top, and I will have a few more days to eat an avocado, because the acid keeps it fresh." — he reveals his secrets.
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Cook the meat in the sauce. If you have ground beef or chicken that is about to expire, “cook it with tomato sauce and put it back in the refrigerator. This will help keep the meats edible for a few more days, as the acid in the tomatoes will help prolong it.
Make a plan before you shop
Since you should limit your trips to the grocery store and be as efficient as possible, while adhering to the principles of social distance, approach the issue strategically.
“You have to plan everything and quickly buy what you need according to a pre-compiled list,” — instructs Nash.
Planning your meal and organizing a shopping list can help make shopping trips more efficient.
“You have to buy what you need without endangering the lives of others, and use what you already have at home,” — sums up Nash.
According to him, one of the main elements of quarantine is the opportunity to be creative in kitchen matters.
“Restaurants are closed, so people are preparing dishes that they have long forgotten about. They really need to try new recipes and cook their own food, " — Nash said in conclusion.
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