Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Best By ?


There's the food of all sorts that we had before. There's also the food I started stockpiling in January and February of 2020 when I thought this was going to break out and it was hardly being reported. Every time I went to the dojo I would stop in the grocery and bring home a couple of bags of assorted things. I ended up with plastic tubs full of enough food to last us for maybe 3 months. 

As the real effects of the virus became more clear and the supply system, while stressed, did not collapse, I started a sort of first in/first out routine and let the pantry dwindle back toward the one month hurricane storage. Not everything got used and a few things had to be discarded. The dry goods like rice and pasta don't last unless they are purchased sealed in nitrogen. Cooking oil has a life span of a few months. Canned goods, for the most part, will go for a year.

The medicine cabinet is worse. Somehow years disappear. I looked at  a blister pack of Benadryl recently that had use by date in the fall of 2014. It is not the oldest thing in there.

I need to check the first aid kit in my pack.

Hat tip to XKCD


LSP said...

Exactly the same thing here. In fact, just threw out some old BBQ sauce, annoying how that doesn't last.

But what a scamdemic. Imagine if the real thing swung our way and Congress died. Just a thought.

Ed Bonderenka said...

When I look at the medicines in my cabinet that my wife won't throw out, I realize her wisdom.
We could probably sell them as collectibles.

Fred said...

"Canned goods, for the most part, will go for a year."
Canned goods last a long time. Last night I ate a can of pork and beans that expired in 2015. A few nights before I ate pinto beans that expired in 2018, and a couple nights before that also. Not everything lasts, so throw out what you need to.

Aesop said...

"Canned goods, for the most part, will go for" decades, provided you aren't storing them in full sunlight, and soaking them in salt water, and they aren't swollen or cracked open, nor smell foul when opened.


And most medicines can't read a calendar either.
Cool, dry storage = years and years.

Divemedic said...

Drugs are hit and miss. Some see no degradation, others are no good.
A rule of thumb is that a drug's expiration is when it will lose ten percent of its potency.

B said...

If your cans aren't swelled or corroded, they are probably still good to eat.
If your medicines are in sealed containers or blisters, then they are good well past the date on the bottle or blister pack.
Rice or beans or pasta, stored in a cool dry cabinet, is good for tens of years.
Cooking oil, stored in a sealed container is good for years.
I don't know why you think any of this needs to be tossed....it will feed you if things go pear shaped.
Bottled items, like barbecue sauce or ranch dressing or tomato sauce are good for years as long as the seal is intact.
I have foods that I put up before 2000 that I occasionally open and eat just to see if it is still good...so far, it has been. Of course, it is stored in a cool, dry dark place.

B said...

One additional point:
"Best By" date does not mean "Bad Immediately After" that date.

Old NFO said...

Dumped a bunch of stuff 2 months ago... sigh

Nick Flandrey said...

I just moved a bottle of ketchup from the bin to the fridge. It was part of my ebola stock up in 2014.

The red is a bit darker but the taste is the same. BB date was 2015. All the canned goods I'm feeding my family were put up at the same time.

Costco corn, bbq beans, peas, green beans, carrots, all fine. Most with BB dates in 2015.

My daughter made a cake last night from mix with a 2015 date and it was fine. (dry mixes with a lot of fat tend to taste 'old' about 1 year past BB, so some stuff doesn't last. Cheese mixes in foil pouches are a good example.)

pasta or rice in a cardboard box will taste stale depending on storage conditions. I vac seal some and then it's fine for the long term.

Soda will eat thru the cans in about a year.

I just threw out some bulging cans of condensed milk with BB of 2015. I've had cans of argentinian beef fail almost exactly on their BB.

Keep in mind, my storage conditions are horrible. Much of the food is in the garage in Houston, and while I try to keep it slightly cooler than ambient it gets hot. Rust will form on cans too.

I check that they are still under vacuum when opened, dump the contents into a bowl and rinse and inspect the inside of the can for discoloration or changes, and get rid of the can and contents if I find any. I've eaten cases of cans with some rust on them during the last year and a half.

I use peanut oil exclusively and as long as you keep it sealed and out of the light it will and does last for years. No issues with rancid oil. Peanut butter will separate but a knife to stir it in the jar solves that.

Honey will discolor but is fine. maple syrup unopened in glass or plastic is fine for years. It looks like it may come thru the plastic in another 5 or 10 years if I let it sit that long.

I have lost cleaning supplies more than food. The seams on the big bottles of windex and clorox cleaner separate after a year or four and the product leaks out.

And I've battled rats. And I am fighting them again. The bastages ate a whole case of mountain house in pouches. Last time they ate a whole 5 gallon bucket of sugar in a couple of days. They made a hell of a mess on top of cans.

All my cans and boxed meals are in plastic tubs with lids now. They stay a lot cleaner.

Don't throw away food unless there is evidence it is actually spoiled. Worst case, give it to the beggars and .feds when they come to collect from 'hoarders'.


Richard said...

Expiration dates are mostly set by lawyers and accountants. It is too expensive to test things out for 10 years and the lawyers are nervous about liability. So one year has become the default for meds and some other things.

Unknown said...

In response to Nick:
Don't rely on plastic buckets to keep rodents out. Throw a little dry ice in the buckets to exclude oxygen, then put the buckets in a galvanized steel garbage can to exclude the rats.
The rats here destroyed about a dozen 5 gallon plastic buckets, I'd saved over time. We lost ALL the grains, beans, and dehydrated vegetables. I thought they would last for years in a cool spot under the stairs.

Eric Wilner said...

We spent February of 2020 frantically stocking up on supplies, and have been trying to build up stock (while consuming older stock) since then, as opportunity presents itself.
The threat back then was a fast-moving, deadly pandemic that would severely disrupt supply chains for a few months.
Now... well, the deadly pandemic wasn't so much, but the response to it has been remarkably disruptive, and the ongoing crazy continues to mess with everything. Then, what with all the money-printing, buying stuff now is (in many cases) cheaper than buying it later.
Rotating stock depends on storage conditions... as of August, I find it necessary to carry around a pocket first-aid kit at all times, and plan on replacing most of the contents annually, mainly because the Benadryl, and especially the epinephrine, may not take kindly to being carried around outdoors in summer. And as long as I'm replacing those, I might as well replace, e.g., the adhesive bandages at the same time, lest the stickum go funny with age and temperature.

ProudHillbilly said...

I went through my stuff a couple weeks ago. Even if we have a shortage I'll never need to buy dried beans again...

Survivormann99 said...

Good grief! Who wrote this tripe? The errors included in this article are breathtaking. One error after another. Jeez, the author needs to get better informed before spreading false information like this. It was almost as if it was intentional.

ASM826 said...

I wrote it. It is based on my personal experiences with food I purchased last January and February. My takeaway is that need to have better containers, put rice, beans, and pasta in an oxygen free environment, and monitor other kinds of stored products over time. YMMV.

ASM826 said...

If you write a post about your experiences and tips for long term food storage, I will pull it from the comments and put it up as a guest post. Don't beat up my post, just give us your experiences and advice.

Maniac said...

Survivorman, would you care to offer some legit counterpoints rather than just point your finger?

In any event, I bought some of those 4Patriots food packages for my father and I so we won't have to worry about expiration dates.

Rick said...

I am not a prepper. Not even close. What I am though, is a 'preparer'. I have had my lean years and I learned immutable life lessons thereby.

If you are 'frantic' in larding the pantry, you're doing it wrong.
If you're buying BBQ sauce, ketchup, and such, you're doing it wrong.
Certainly each person is welcome to their own opinion on the matter. But those niceties can be made for pennies using raw ingredients which may also be used for a great many other things even outside the kitchen. Who knew.

A very basic method of meal planning is to buy two of whatever you purchase. Every time you go shopping. 'Now & later' is the mantra.
Not only do you save dollars (Because buying items on sale at your leisure. Knowing how retail works is a bonus.) but you have options open since you are not competing for items in short supply. By such means you are insulated from hiccups in logistics.

Modern commercial food preservation - especially in this overly litigious society - features food stuff that lasts for multiple years, even decades. The onus is on proper storage in a temperature stable environment. Heat is the enemy, so is freeze/thaw cycle although less so. Hence the root cellar.

Even home canning may last for decades.

Weetabix said...

Everyone else jumped on the canned food life... but I will, too. ;-)

A few days ago, my wife finally went to the basement to see my canned food stash that piled up over the years.
Her: "Why do we have so much canned spinach? You're the only one who will eat it."
Me: "It's great! And you'll be begging for it to help with your anemia after the apocalypse."
Her: "Uh. No. You eat this one that expired in 2015."
(I did - added some salt, pepper, and bacon. It was great)
She sorted everything by contents and expiration date.
She even created a section called "I won't eat this, and you can't make me." Mostly canned meats.

Anyway follow the recommendations given by others above. You'll be grand.

Unknown said...

Um...really? My now husband had a real prepper thing going on when he was single. So far, the Turkey Spam (really!???) which was 'out of date' by five years was the only totally disgusting thing, but pretty sure that was due to the food not the date. Dried beams (stored in glass jars) need more soaking, and perhaps some baking soda, if over a year old but otherwise all the 2016 stock is fine. Pasta and rice, if kept dry, last indefinitely. The dried milk from 2016 seems to be just fine as does the flour, though I suspect certain cakes would not rise well.
On cans: rust is an immediate toss, even a small bit, even if in date. Otherwise I will go back five years. At that point I will usually be cooking it well. So, canned veggies or beans that far out of date wouldn't be 'raw' in a salad, but would be in a casserole.

Survivormann99 said...

If you are going to use my comment as an article, please include this "P.S.:"

P.S. By coincidence, the subject of "Best If Used By" dates were discussed on September 10 at the fine blog, "Prep School Daily." The article contains excellent information. https://prepschooldaily.blogspot.com/2021/09/best-by-dates-what-those-numbers.html

Survivormann99 said...

This is getting weirder and weirder. The blogger invited me to post some information concerning "Best If Used By" dates and said that he would/might include it as an article. I sent a lengthy comment twice. It never showed up on the blog comment section, so I assumed that he was placing it in a queue of entries to be published. I just added a "P.S." to the article (above), and it immediately showed up in the comments section. Therefore, I am trying to figure out if the first, lengthy response was simply suppressed.

Divemedic said...

Nothing weird. If you put in a comment that has more than a link or two, it gets caught in a moderation queue as potential spam. My blog is the same way. Don't be such a douche.

Will said...


not everyone has a blog. We readers only learn about the various hickups when you people talk about it, or when we encounter weird happenings when we try to post. Frankly, the most annoying thing to encounter is a blogger that gets all cranky about what people are trying to say. When they start moving the goalposts regarding the contents of a comment, that's when I remove the blogger's link. Consistent, rational rules that are noted should be the gold standard. Having to guess is just stupid.

Rant not pointed at anyone here, specifically.

Survivormann99 said...

Dear Divemedic Douche,

Yeah, my comment contained a couple of links, one to Aesop's respected web site (Aesop is a frequent commenter here, including one about the current article.) The other is a link to an FDA article. Yeah, real wild-eyed, irresponsible stuff. I am so sorry I offended your douchebag sensibilities.

ASM826 said...


I am sorry your write-up got lost. We didn't delete it, we don't monitor comments before they post. If you are still willing to write a post about your experiences with food storage, send it to asm826(at)yahoo.com

Survivormann99 said...

Thank you for your offer, but I am really not inclined to rewrite the comment.

I will, however, again refer readers to this fine article that contains excellent information that was posted a few days ago: https://prepschooldaily.blogspot.com/2021/09/best-by-dates-what-those-numbers.html

Divemedic said...

It doesn't matter where the links go. The spam filter is automatic. If there is more than one link, the comment is quarantined for moderation.
Thanks for proving my point though.

Weetabix said...

Oh, gentlemen - let's be polite to our hosts and to each other while remembering that written communications can be the most easy to misinterpret.

Survivormann99 said...

Divemedic Douche,

While his comment has been removed now, ASM826 said yesterday that he does not filter comments from readers. You obviously weren't reading the comments section then, and you are still going off half-cocked based on the way you handle your blog.

Divemedic said...

It isn't up to the user. It is one of the features of Blogger. The post you are referring to is still there, and it reads:
I am sorry your write-up got lost. We didn't delete it, we don't monitor comments before they post. If you are still willing to write a post about your experiences with food storage, send it to asm826(at)yahoo.com

Note that he didn't say that there is no filter. He said that they don't monitor them. That is probably true, but doesn't change the way that blogger handles comments with multiple links.

Blogger has a lot of anti spam features. For example, Blogger by default adds the rel=”nofollow” attribute to all the links in blog comments.

You came here and your first comment was a slam on the blog. You second comment and didn't go through for whatever reason. So you just assume that there is some grand conspiracy that is keeping your enlightened expert opinion from being heard, because the universe is conspiring against you, or something. So you then engage in a slam attack on the blog and make all sorts of accusations. THAT is why I called you on it.

Survivormann99 said...

Douche Bag Divemedic,

I know what I saw yesterday, and as I said it has since been removed.

At least you have stopped addressing me as a Douche, Dickhead, so we are making progress.

Survivormann99 said...

Mea culpa. I mentioned that a comment had been deleted. It actually still there.

Shortly after noon yesterday, the following comment was posted and said that "we don't monitor comments before they post," to wit:

I am sorry your write-up got lost. We didn't delete it, we don't monitor comments before they post. If you are still willing to write a post about your experiences with food storage, send it to asm826(at)yahoo.com

Borepatch said...

I'm sorry I need to jump in here. A few points:

1. Comments on posts older than 90 days automatically go to moderation. There is no other comment moderation enabled here. It's been like this since I set this blog up 13 years ago.

2. When I see spam comments on posts newer than this I flag them as spam and delete them without mercy.

3. Other than that, I have never deleted anyone's comments here - with a single exception: my ex-wife posted some very nasty comments on the occasion of my Father-In-Law's funeral.

4. When you go to leave a comment, look at the banner above the comment box. It says: "Remember your manners when you post". I'd like to ask everyone to respect that, or to not leave comments here.

5. Survivormann99, I should also point out that I know Divemedic. I don't know you from Adam. I don't mind the discussion here but leave the ad hominem behind. Or don't comment here. I really don't care.

Divemedic said...

@Borepatch. Sorry for flaming someone on your blog. Bad manners on my part. For that I apologize to you.

Survivormann99 said...

Borepatch, thanks for stepping in. My problem is that I never turn the other cheek--ever.

Borepatch said...

Divemedic, you have added a lot to the discussion around here for a long time. Thanks.

Survivormann99, I'm not asking anyone to change, jus to go by the rules here. I like a vigorous discussion in the comments, but need things to stay on-point and not personal. I appreciate your understanding.

Survivormann99 said...

Borepatch, again, I appreciate your point about keeping things on the blog not personal. That's why I didn't initiate the personal attacks.