Food past the "Best by" date

Sweet Tatorman's picture

New topic for discussion. Share your own experiences.
I imagine that most folks that put up items from the garden by freezing, or use a freezer for storage of purchased items, have had the experience of moving around a bag of whatever for years while rooting in the freezer for what you need for a meal. I certainly have. Yesterday I decided that I had moved one of those bags for the last time. It was dated 11/17/2015 and identified as cooked mustard. Why did I even have this? Unlike kale, mustard greens are not an item that I would typically cook and freeze. Reviewing my garden record book for that date provided the answer. Apparently soil moisture conditions where favorable to do my Fall tillage and there was a bunch of mustard that would get tilled under. There must be a bit of Scotch in my ancestry because I felt compelled to pick some of it prior to tilling the rest under. So I thawed it out and had some with supper yesterday as well as again today. My impressions below:
Was it edible: Yes
Was it unambiguously inferior to fresh cooked or cooked and frozen for a year or two: Yes
Was it so inferior that I will not be eating the last 2 or 3 servings: No
Would I recommend keeping frozen cooked mustard for 5 years: No
I have some frozen okra from 2015 and likely will report on it soon.
Share your experiences with "mature" food.

Ah, yes, old food. I have definitely had my share of old frozen food. At the moment I am trying to get through some meat dated from 2013. Old, certainly. Inedible, no, but it did taste old. I will certainly finish it off. My records aren't as good as yours, so I have run into frozen mystery packages and those have gone into the compost pile or the trash.

Food storage of any kind doesn't work unless you use what you stored. Otherwise, you just waste it and your money. This is something I and my pack-rat self deal with constantly.

I was given a packaged cookie mix (because it was expired and my girlfriend expected me to compost it).

We took the chance and other than the "off-taste" I expect with commercial cookie mixes, I didn't notice anything wrong.

We routinely use expired (by years) canned goods despite rotating our stock and using First In First Out. Things still get forgotten. As long as everything is kept cool, dry, and in the dark, I haven't had a problem.

Dried beans now. Those can get so hard you need a pressure cooker if you want them to be edible.

Sweet Tatorman's picture

Yesterday I thawed out two packages of okra "breaded" with cornmeal. These were dated 9/3/2015 and 9/14/2015. Original preparation for freezing was to rinse and slice the okra pods and then roll in coarsely ground cornmeal. No cooking or blanching prior to freezing. Note, all of my freezing is done with the use of a vacuum bagging appliance. Normally I would oven cook this on an oiled metal pan with frequent stirring but on this occasion I cooked in a frypan on the stovetop.
Judgement: I was surprised with the quality. I cannot say that it was unambiguously inferior to more recently frozen and used.

mountainmoma's picture

I dont like to waste food. the latest one was finishing off dehydrated hash browns, sell by date was 3 years ago, packaged in those little waxed cardboard cartons. I had bought them for emergecies, I usually cook potatoes I grow, and so I need to use them up, took 3 years. this last carton was opened last late spring, and I finished it off night before last. They were as usual. Typically I use up things within a year of the sell by date

I have some dried split peas in the back of the cupboard that are years old and I keep forgetting I have. I'm going to have to try them and see if they'll cook up ok. Soak them overnight, and go from there...