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Cereal, Cheese And 9 More Things You Can Still Eat After The Expiry Date

You could be wasting a lot of good food!

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Do you find yourself throwing away food instantly right after the expiry date?

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Ok, maybe not like this.

Here's the thing - you could be wasting a lot of good food! Contrary to popular belief, some foods are still edible after the expiry date!

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The dates we find printed on products are the manufacturer's suggestion for when the food is at its freshest, not when it is unsafe. And the sell-by date can be confusing, leading people to throw out the food well before it's gone bad.

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There are a lot of different definitions for expiry dates at this day and age. Generally, you'll see three types of expiration dates on your food, and they all mean slightly different things.

Sell By: This date tells the store how long to keep the item on their shelves. If it reaches the date before its sold, the store will pull it from the shelves. It represents the last day the food is at its peak quality of freshness, taste, and consistency. It will still be safe to eat after the Sell By date.

Best If Used By/Best Before: Again, this merely refers to when the quality of the item starts to go downhill. Generally, you may notice a difference in taste or consistency after that date, but it will still be safe to eat. For example, sour cream may become a bit more sour, or peanut butter may start to experience some harmless oil separation in the bottle.

Use By: Yep, you guessed it—this is pretty much the same as "Best Used By". The Use By date is when the product loses its peak quality. It's still safe to eat for a little while.

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So, if you're tired of wasting some perfectly edible food, here are 11 foods that can be eaten past the expiry date:

1. Bread

The bread might get stale, but bread past its expiry date can be safely eaten! Yes, it might have some slight mould on it, but you can always cut off that part and eat the rest of it. Did you know stale bread make excellent French toast and croutons?

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If you're afraid of mould growing on the bread, you could always put it in the fridge — it can easily last for up to two weeks!

2. Yoghurt

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Say goodbye to days of throwing out your half-eaten tub of yoghurt, because this is another dairy product you can eat after its package labels it "expired." Open yoghurt will spoil sooner than unopened yoghurt, but sealed yogurt will usually last one to two weeks past the sell-by date. When it comes to yoghurt, you just have to ask: Does it smell right? Is there mold in it? If not, then feel free to proceed with making your smoothie.

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However, do note that this rule applies only to plain or fruit yogurts, and not yoghurt-based desserts, custards or any product that contains eggs in it. Also, yoghurt getting watery is simply the result of liquid separating itself from the solids. Many yogurts come like that fresh out of the container, and it is generally not harmful.

3. Pasta

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Pasta is a dry good that is hard to spoil—it has no water content. As long as it doesn’t smell odd, you can keep pasta longer than the expiration date. You can store dried goods safely for up to a year. Ideally, you should keep them in a dry, airtight container made out of glass or metal.

4. Chocolate

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You can always keep expired chocolates in refrigeration for a good 6 months to a 1 year, depending on the type of chocolate. It will, however, lose a bit of its flavor, so the best is to use it for baking instead of consuming it raw.

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And the white spots that form on old chocolate? It's not mold. It's what's called "chocolate bloom" — either of the fat or sugar variety. There are two types of chocolate bloom: fat bloom, which arises from changes in the fat; and sugar bloom, formed by action of moisture of ingredients.

5. Potato chips

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Like bread, potato chips may get stale past their expiry date, but they are still perfectly safe to eat. If they are in an open bag, they'll be alright for a few weeks, but if the bag is sealed, it can still be good months later!

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6. Cheese

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Most whole, cut or sliced cheeses can survive a little mold and still come back from the brink. The moister the cheese, the more likely it is to succumb to decay versus the drier cheeses which are more resistant. So, always remember to store expired cheeses in cold and dry places! But if there are moulds growing on it, it's still edible - as long as you cut off the mouldy part!

7. Cereal

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You could get an extra year out of a breakfast cereal if it’s stored in a cool, dry place, adds Joe Regenstein, a professor of food science at Cornell University. Using closed containers for items such as rice or flour can extend their life, he says. Do note that boxed cereals will just get stale if you leave them open to air and consume past the due date!

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8. Canned foods

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Most expiry dates on foods in cans range from 1 to 4 years—but keep the food in a cool, dark place and the cans undented and in good condition, and you can likely safely double that shelf life from 3 to up to 6 years!

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Here's a good example of how long canned foods can last - In 1974, a group of scientist in Washington took some canned food which was stored for close to 30 years. When they opened them up, the contents looked and smelled pretty much the same! Analysis showed that it had most of the usual complement of nutrients — although there were lower levels of a few, such as vitamin C.

9. Biscuits

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Like crisps, biscuits are also highly processed and thus can be consumed long after their expiry date. If they taste soft or soggy simply pop them in the oven to get them crunchy again!

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10. Eggs

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According to a report by food scientist Dana Gunders, eggs can last for three to five weeks. But they have to be kept at cold and dry places. Raw eggs will maintain their best quality for about 3 to 5 weeks after the date you bought them and took them home, assuming continuous refrigeration. During that home storage time, your eggs will still be perfectly safe to use, provided they’re not cracked or otherwise damaged.

11. Honey

Honey never really expires although crystals, which are safe to consume, it may change color and texture (becoming crystalised) but it will stay safe, and delicious, to eat. If your honey does become crystallised, just place the open jar in warm water and stir until the crystals dissolve.

To be cautious - if it doesn’t look right or smell right to you, you’ve probably kept it for waaaay too long!

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