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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Wenzel

An Introduction to Eating EXPIRED Canned Food- Plus Hacks to Waste Less!

Best buy dates are simply a suggestion. Don't throw away delicious food!

Disclaimer: Keep in mind that the intention of this post is to help raise awareness about expiration dates and hopefully help others save money by throwing away less food. This blog is a very oversimplified guide to food best buy dates and DOES NOT guarantee that your food WILL, in fact, be SAFE to eat.

Americans toss out SOOO much food every year, and a lot of it is still safe to eat. Dollar amounts reach up there in the THOUSANDS of dollars per household. Many families simply can't afford to do that. Why would they WANT to throw away $2000 a year even if they could?

Food safety is no joke, but with a bit of knowledge, you'll be able to eat a lot of things with confidence.

So how do I know if my food is SAFE to eat?

Most canned goods are fresh up to 5 years past the best buy date. Acidic foods like tomato soup are usually fine after 18-24 months. Non-acidic foods are typically great for up to 5 years. Taste and texture might decline with time, but it's generally safe to eat.

Here's what to look for...

Is the item damaged?

Is the item leaking or bulging?

Is the can rusty or corroding?

Is there an off smell or color?

Can't stomach the idea of eating "old food"?

Here are a couple of tips to get you wasting less.

1. Use a bold permanent marker and write the best buy date in big, bold numbers. I usually do this in a couple of spots on the can or box. Even in a well-lit pantry, this tip will help tremendously! My pantry is very dimly lit, and it just makes it easier to see the dates at a quick glance.

2. Dedicate a bin or shelf specifically for foods needing to get eaten. Throughout the week, plan meals using these foods and keep them in a spot where you'll see them often.

3. Plan a no-spend week or month and make meals from your pantry. This exercise allows you to free up a little space in your cupboards and helps you get a bit more organized in your kitchen. It might even spark some creative juices in the kitchen!

4. Donate foods to the food pantry BEFORE they expire. An opportunity to feed a hungry family is never a waste.

What else do you want to know about expired goods? Comment below and let me know!

Thanks for reading!

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