Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How not to waste food

Waste not, want not is the watchword these days. Madeline Vann, Everyday Health, says just because leftovers “look” fine does not mean they are safe to eat.

You can’t go by the Expiration Date on the package because you may not have stored the item at the optimum temperature. Keep the fridge below 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Frozen foods must be below freezing—32 degrees F. Foods higher in protein spoil faster than those containing more sugar and sodium.

You can go by your nose to some extent—small off? Toss. If the food is gray or greenish—toss. Clumpy—say milk—no way.

Here are some other guidelines: Eggs—Use within three weeks. Toss cracked or broken ones.

Seafood—refrigerate if you are using it within two days, otherwise freeze.

Ground meat—Two days in the fridge, 3-4 mos in the freezer.

Fresh poultry—1-2 days in the fridge, nine mos to a yr in the freezer.

As for dairy—get pasteurized products. Watch those expiration dates.

Canned foods—Store in a cool dry place without temperature fluctuations. Acidic content—such as tomatoes—up to 18 mos.Low acid foods can be kept 2-5 yrs.

Other tips:

“Sell by’ Date – last calendar date the food can be sold. Can still be used.

“Best if Used By” date – refers to quality not safety.

“Guaranteed Fresh” date—Usually on bakery products. OK, but may not at peak freshness.

Milk is usually OK a week past the “Sell By” date.

Maybe we need to emulate the French and just shop every day, cook, and enjoy.

By the way--don't you love it when someone thrusts a package at you and says, "Try this--it tastes funny."

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