Good or Bad?
Back in March I posted an blog entry titled “How Long Will It Last” which discussed different kinds of food and how long they were good for. To this day, that remains one of the most viewed blog entries on the site.
But it looks like a new site might be able to help out if you’re stuck on whether or not something is good (thanks to a recent posting on lifehacker.com). Rather than posting a comment asking me when your tuna will go bad (believe me, I’m no expert) try heading over to BestWhenUsedBy.com, a site that will try to help you keep track of your food and let you know when it’s going bad. The site isn’t fully functional yet, but there’s a demo that’ll help you figure out how it all works.
Can’t wait for that site to launch? Well check out this comment from Drama Queen from a Lifehacker post. She says this is the Layman’s version of how to tell if an item is still good (just for fun, of course!):
Is it good or bad?
THE GAG TEST: Anything that makes you gag is spoiled (except for leftovers from what you cooked for yourself last night).
EGGS: When something starts pecking its way out of the shell, the egg is probably past its prime.
DAIRY PRODUCTS: Milk is spoiled when it starts to look like yogurt. Yogurt is spoiled when it starts to look like cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is spoiled when it starts to look like regular cheese. Regular cheese is nothing but spoiled milk anyway and can’t get any more spoiled than it is already. Cheddar cheese is spoiled when you think it is blue cheese but you realize you’ve never purchased that kind.
MAYONNAISE: If it makes you violently ill after you eat it, the mayonnaise is spoiled.
FROZEN FOODS: Frozen foods that have become an integral part of the defrosting problem in your freezer compartment will probably be spoiled (or wrecked anyway) by the time you pry them out with a kitchen knife.
EXPIRATION DATES: This is NOT a marketing ploy to encourage you to throw away perfectly good food so that you’ll spend more on groceries. Perhaps you’d benefit by having a calendar in your kitchen.
MEAT: If opening the refrigerator door causes stray animals from a three-block radius to congregate outside your house, the meat is spoiled.
BREAD: Sesame seeds and Poppy seeds are the only officially acceptable “spots” that should be seen on the surface of any loaf of bread. Fuzzy and hairy looking white or green growth areas are a good indication that your bread has turned into a pharmaceutical laboratory experiment.
FLOUR: Flour is spoiled when it wiggles.
SALT: It never spoils.
CEREAL: It is generally a good rule of thumb that cereal should be discarded when it is two years or longer beyond the expiration date.
LETTUCE: Bibb lettuce is spoiled when you can’t get it off the bottom of the vegetable crisper without Comet. Romaine lettuce is spoiled when it turns liquid.
CANNED GOODS: Any canned goods that have become the size or shape of a softball should be disposed of. Carefully.
CARROTS: A carrot that you can tie a clove hitch in is not fresh.
POTATOES: Fresh potatoes do not have roots, branches, or dense, leafy undergrowth.
CHIP DIP: If you can take it out of its container and bounce it on the floor, it has gone bad.
EMPTY CONTAINERS: Putting empty containers back into the refrigerator is an old trick, but it only works if you live with someone or have a maid.
UNMARKED ITEMS: You know it is well beyond prime when you’re tempted to discard the Tupperware along with the food. Generally speaking, Tupperware containers should not burp when you open them.
GENERAL RULE OF THUMB: Most food cannot be kept longer than the average life span of a hamster. Keep a hamster in or nearby your refrigerator to gauge this.
Still curious if your food is good? Check out this article from BusinessWeek that covers the topic.
Hope some (if not all) of this helps.
Photo from BusinessWeek.