Keeping An Eye On Expiration Dates

The holiday season is a time to relax and celebrate family and friends.  For many of us it is a joyous time that we have fond memories of and look forward to every year.  However for many less fortunate people it can be a very stressful time of year where money is short and even feeding their families can be difficult.

That is why I like to go through all of my stored food at some point around Thanksgiving or Christmas every year to check for foods that may be getting close to their expiration dates and donate them to local food banks.  It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your stored foods and not let any of them get too close to expiration anyway.  Using this time of year to make sure you are Prepared and also to be able to help those less fortunate is a bonus.

When I store foods I generally keep them separated by expiration date and clearly mark them so I know what I have and how long things will last.  It’s a pretty simple process to sort through everything once a year and give away things that are getting a little old (but not yet expired).  As I do this I make a quick list so I can replace everything right away.

I also take a little time to reflect on what I have stored and to make adjustments to my preps.  I’m constantly learning new things about proper nutrition, getting ideas for what foods might be best to store, and also have kids that are growing and whose tastes are changing.  There are also a lot of new products out there that store indefinitely that I may decide to add to my preps.  Thus, I almost always make adjustments in what I choose to replace my outgoing foods with.

So take the time to make sure you are as prepared as you think you are (it would really be a downer to find yourself in a situation where you need that food only to discover that half of it has expired).  And in the process, help those in need this holiday season and every holiday season.

~ Butch

3 Responses to Keeping An Eye On Expiration Dates

  1. I have a “work” apartment that I stay in during the week while I’m working, and when I’m off I return home. The vast majority of my preps are at my home, yet I keep what I call “back up food” in my apartment. Mostly, this consists of canned soups.

    Approximately three months ago, I was short on my usual grocery staples and didn’t want to go out to pick up anything. I turned to a can of soup: Campbell’s Chunky Grilled Sirloin Steak and Hearty Vegetable. I warmed it up, ate it, and the bowl of hot, steamy soup tasted like every other similar soup I’ve eaten. I rinsed out the can to throw it away as is the norm for me since I don’t put food scraps of any sort in my trash. I saw the expiration date and noted that it was March 2010. Yes, 2010. The can wasn’t corroded, swollen, and there was no discernable difference in the quality of the soup.

    I didn’t get sick, and I didn’t give it a second thought. The soup had been climate controlled in a dark cabinet all that time. The moral of the story: your canned goods will last longer than expected if treated well. This wasn’t the first instance I’ve done something like in the above anecdote. Do I advise everyone to eat two and a half years post-expired soup? No, but it may not be that bad!

    In all fairness I should add that I never get any kind of stomach ailment, yet I’m still confident the soup was good in this instance.

  2. To make expiration-watching a bit easier, when I store prep supplies I write the expiration date (just month and year) in big, bold letters on the top of each package with a sharpie. This defeats the tendency of manufacturers to put the date in fine print on an unpredictable variety of places, usually on the bottom or back of the package.

  3. I have never gotten to concerned about the dates on my goods. As I figure the dry goods should be ok for a long while and the can goods should be ok if they are stored safely. Last week I was making some Christmas candy and reached for some peanut butter. I was out, so I went to my stores and pulled some out. I noticed the date was 2009 (yea I know). I opened it and did the sniff test. It smelled a little rancid so dummy me I tasted it. BIG mistake.!!! This was the nastiest stuff I have ever put in my mouth. I will have to say this was a hard taste to remove from my mouth. I ended up giving it to my chickens, who liked it. The moral of the story I am now paying closer attention to my expectation dates on all my stores.