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Foods you can eat past their expiration date

Food By Audrey Masitsa
Some foods can be eaten even if they are past their expiry date (Photo: Shutterstock)

It can be frustrating when you’ve stocked up your kitchen cupboards and fridge with food to last you the duration of the coronavirus lockdown only for you to find that some of your food has reached its expiration date and it needs to be thrown out. But, contrary to popular belief, the sell by, use before or expiry dates put on food labels refer more to the quality of the food. This means that should the food be consumed past these dates, it will taste different rather than be bad.

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That said, there are some foods that you can eat past their expiry date without any stomach troubles. Let’s look at them below. 

1. Hard cheese

If you’re a fun of cheese, you’ll be glad to know that cheese can keep for up to six months if the package hasn’t been opened. However, if you have opened the package, it can last for a month. If you do notice that your cheese is growing mold, use a clean knife to cut off the part with the mold and enjoy your cheese. 

Keep bread frozen to stop it from going stale (Photo: Shutterstock)

2. Frozen foods

Frozen foods such as meats and vegetables can be eaten after their expiration date. The trick to keeping these foods edible is to ensure that they are kept frozen. Before storing meats and vegetables in your freezer, divide them into meal-sized portions so that you only thaw what you need. Thawing and refreezing meats is unhealthy and could lead to food poisoning.

3. Eggs

You can keep eggs for three to five weeks after purchase without them going bad. If you’ve had your eggs for a while and you’re not sure if they are safe to eat, nobody likes to crack an egg only to find that it’s gone bad, use the buoyancy test. Place eggs in a bowl of water. Eggs that sink are still safe to eat and eggs that float need to be thrown out.

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Cereals will become stale but are still edible (Photo: Shutterstock)

4. Milk

How  long you can keep your milk depends on how you store it. Store milk at the back of your fridge, where it is cooler, rather than at the door and it’ll stay safe to drink for long. 

5. Canned foods

Unless the can is rusty or bulging, canned foods can keep for years. Note that they are best eaten within three years of packaging. However their flavour might not be the same but with a few tips and tricks you can still enjoy your canned foods.

Store milk in the coldest part of your fridge so that it keeps for long (Photo: Shutterstock)

6. Bread

With proper storage, you can eat bread that is past its expiry date just make sure that it isn’t growing mold. Throw out any moldy bread.

7. Pasta

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Dry pasta, when stored in a cool dry place can last for about two years after its expiration date. Check for odours or mold before consuming.

Frozen meat can be kept for months (Photo: Shutterstock)

8. Cereal

Cereal can last for upto six months past their expiry date if stored in airtight containers. It might go stale but if you don’t mind the altered taste, you can still eat your cereal. 

It is nevertheless important to use your discretion before eating food that has past its expiry date. Look out for signs that your food has gone bad such as bad odours, change in appearance or consistency and mold.

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