While some people promptly toss out food on the expiration date, it is actually more of a general guideline than a hard rule. In fact, some foods can be kept long past the expiration dates.
Before a box is opened, cereal lasts 6-8 months. Once open it typically stays fresh between 4-6 months.
The use-by date on a carton of eggs is usually a good indicator of freshness. However, just because the date has come and gone doesn’t mean the eggs have gone bad.
One way to check if an egg has gone bad is to see if it floats in room temperature water. If it sinks, the egg is still good.
Greens, such as bagged salads or celery, can be salvaged past their prime. If the greens appear wilted, submerge them in ice water for 5-10 minutes and they should be (almost) as good as new.
Unopened jars of peanut butter keep for up to a year past the printed date. This goes for both refrigerated jars and jars kept in the pantry.
Natural peanut butter has a shorter shelf life of 3-6 months if stored in the fridge.
Both frozen fruits and frozen vegetables can be kept between 8-10 months if left unopened.
An unopened bottle of ketchup will last up to 6 months.
An opened bottle of mustard can last up to a year in the fridge.
Raw meat will only keep for a few days in the fridge, but lasts long past the sell-by date if frozen.
A whole turkey or chicken will keep in the freezer for upwards of a year.
Unopened yogurt keeps for a few weeks past the date on the container. When frozen, yogurt keeps for up to two months.
Canned foods have a pretty long shelf life. Non-acidic canned foods such as vegetables and soups are okay to eat up to 1-2 years past this date.
Canned meats like corned beef and SPAM keep even longer, anywhere between 2-5 years.
The appearance and odor of a cheese is more telling than the expiration date. In fact, cheese can be salvaged if there is a small amount of mold, which can be cut off.
The fat content in milk determines how long it will keep. Non-fat milk can last between 7-10 days while whole milk keeps for about 5-7 days.
If unopened, non-dairy products keep for up to a month.
Contrary to popular belief, if a jar of honey crystalizes it has not gone bad. The substance spoils when brought into contact with moisture.
Raw fish keeps much longer when frozen.
Smoked fish can last up to 6 months when frozen.
Dry, boxed pasta keeps for up to 2 years past the printed expiry date. Fresh, uncooked pasta is good for about 4-5 days past the packaging date.
Cooked pasta (dry or fresh) can be kept up to 7 days in the fridge.
Bread is usually fine to eat if there isn’t any mold. Packaged bread keeps 5-7 days at room temperature. Once refrigerated, it’ll retain freshness for 3-4 more days before getting stale.