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My mom is the queen of keeping food WAY past the expiration date. She says it is just a guide. And maybe it is. To me, if the date on the milk has today's date on it, tomorrow it will taste sour to me. I know it is just a mental thing, but it does taste different.
I was going through some baby food I had bought a while back just to check dates, and 4 packs are now out of date. Carrots had a date of 11/20/06. Those went in the garbage. I have 2 packs of Green Beans that have a date of 1/16/07. Are these too out of date to serve to him tonight/tomorrow morning? Or should I just chuck them.
I know expiration dates have some leeway, and honestly, throwing away 2 packs of baby food isn't going to kill my budget, but I just hate to waste.
We are usually guilty of throwing away leftovers. We make too much, and then it just sits in the fridge until it starts growing things or smelling bad.
If it is something that will make us really sick, like meat or dairy, I definitely throw it out even before the date if it looks weird. If it's something like bread, that says use it by the 10th and it still looks and tastes ok, I'll use it. Baby food, I would definitely toss unless it was just a day or two over. I hate to waste too, but getting sick is not worth it.
(My mom used to hate that my elderly grandmother (her MIL) would keep things like mayo and cheese way over the date and then serve them to us when we went to her house--my grandmother didn't do it on purpose, but it drove my mom crazy. So I was tempted to point out the last time I went to my mom's house and she was eating pepperoni that expired in May (this was November), but decided not to--it would have made my mom furious! I just picked it off when she wasn't looking.)
If something is sealed in a can, bag, or a jar, I'll keep it past the expiry. I just consider those "freshness" dates rather than expiration dates. Like Calico said, meat, milk, etc that could make us sick gets tossed as soon as it starts to smell or look bad, even if it isn't expired. Once it's expired, it's definitely outta here.
I guess I'm kind of in the minority... I don't throw it out unless I *know* it's bad. I've had milk go bad long before the date, but I've also had milk still be good for a few days past--depends how well it's stored and how cold it's kept. Meat--I don't play with meat. If it's past the date and hasn't been frozen, it's done (of course, I have never had that happen to anything except hot dogs or bologna on the rare occasion that I even buy them!)
I am also the same about canned goods/sealed items as Jess... If it's sealed, then I don't chuck it just because it's past date.