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Best By Dates?


bookluvingbabe
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So...

I'm planning to make a polenta, tomato, mozzerela thing for dinner that is a riff on a tamale pie recipe I made last year but with an Italian focus instead of Mexican.

I'm pulling down the ingredients and I notice that my can of crushed tomatoes says "best by December 15, 2004."

Okay, if Mr. BLB saw that, the can would be in the trash.

What would you do?

(I have other tomatoes I could use, though I was saving them for a differnet recipe later in the week. And I'm using polenta that has a best by date of last month to begin with...)

Sigh...

Jennifer

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So...

I'm planning to make a polenta, tomato, mozzerela thing for dinner that is a riff on a tamale pie recipe I made last year but with an Italian focus instead of Mexican.

I'm pulling down the ingredients and I notice that my can of crushed tomatoes says "best by December 15, 2004."

Okay, if Mr. BLB saw that, the can would be in the trash.

What would you do?

(I have other tomatoes I could use, though I was saving them for a differnet recipe later in the week.  And I'm using polenta that has a best by date of last month to begin with...)

Sigh...

Jennifer

A can of tomatoes is what $1.79. Open and if things don't look and/or smell right toss 'em and open a new can.

As for the polenta that should be fine for a long time.

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Dry stuff like polenta, as far as I'm concerned, keeps forever. The tomatoes would concern me a little because the use-by dates on my canned tomatoes are about three years from the purchase date.

If it's a matter of a couple dollars, I wouldn't chance it. But I'm sure my mother would say otherwise. Then again, she gave me food poisoning a couple years ago off some bad raisins. Don't tell her I told you. :lol:

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I generally don't worry too much about those dates, based on my logic that manufacturers are probably very conservative with them in order to avoid lawsuits. Years of using products past their 'best by' date have confirmed this enough for me :lol: This drives alot of my friends crazy, though, as they religiously throw out anything past the 'best by' date (hmmm... maybe that's another incentive for manufacturers to be conservative with those dates....) That said, mdt is right-- if it doesn't look or smell right, toss it.

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Then again, she gave me food poisoning a couple years ago off some bad raisins. Don't tell her I told you. :lol:

Bad Raisins, huh?! Who'd a thunk it? Do tell, what is the shelf life of raisins?

[wondering if I still have some mini-boxes of Sunmaid up in the shelves that I bought God only knows how long ago... :P ]

Edited by goldenticket
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Bad Raisins, huh?!  Who'd a thunk it?  Do tell, what is the shelf life of raisins? 

The issue seemed to be that the raisins had been opened one Christmas to use for saffron buns, and the same box was still in the house the following Christmas, when saffron buns were again needed. Of the five people in the house, the three who ate the buns got sick 48 hours after their first bun, and the two who didn't eat them stayed well. So we were pretty sure we identified the source.

Sealed dried fruit I would actually not worry about for the first couple of years.

Due to throwing a bunch of stuff out a few months ago, all I have to worry about now is expired chocolate. I assume it will get messed up cosmetically (white patches from heat/cold) but not actually be unsafe. Any opinions?

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Acknowledging the statistically insignificant sample size and the general inapplicability, anyway, of the upcoming truly disgusting anecdote to the canned/preserved/dried foodstuffs under discussion, I recently got very, very, very sick from some Italian sausage carried a few days past the sell-by date at the back of my fridge. I have to say, I've always been on the blase side of the debate about food handling and safety. Call it of the "cook it well and all will be well" persuasion. But oh my. My eyes (not to mention ever other bodily orifice) have been well and truly opened. I am not going through that again. No way, no how. From now on, I'm throwing shit out well before the sell-by date. If necessary, well before the date of actual manufacture. It's all a bit temporally paradoxical. Anyway, veering back on topic, I say you nuke the can from orbit. It's the only way to be sure...

Edited by Stretch
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In a related topic, what's the over/under on the mayo I made for the picnic two weeks ago still being good? I need to make some slaw tonight!

I have read in various places that homemade mayo is only good for about a week, under refrigeration. You might consider making it with "pasteurized" eggs. I know that the whites don't whip very well, but the yolks do OK, and you don't need to whip the whites to make mayo.

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