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112

General comments on the shelf-, fridge-, and freezer-life of foods The shelf-life is the amount of time a food can be stored before it is considered unsuitable for use. It may be unsuitable due to quality degradation (no longer tasty) or food safety (risk of food poisoning). [1] As far as food safety goes, food stored frozen at 0°F (-18°C) or below is ...


36

Cheese is not made from "rotten" milk, let me clarify that. Rotting is an uncontrolled process in which bacteria, molds and other life forms colonize milk, eat it, release waste into it and die. The resulting, rather unpredictable, crud we call rotten (or more precisely spoiled) milk. Most cheese is the product of highly controlled action by bacteria that ...


36

It is absolutely untrue and very dangerous to think that "if it looks OK, and smells OK, it must be OK." If that were the case, food poisoning would be very rare. Food that we can sense is spoiled rarely causes illness. For one thing what you don't eat can't hurt you, and people generally won't eat food that looks or smells spoiled. But less obviously, much ...


27

I'm aware of three reasons that you might not want to do so: You tie up spices that you might want to use in other dishes individually You don't always want to add the spices at the same time. You can't always keep spices well-blended. If you only tend to cook one dish or you leave some of each spice in reserve, the first one isn't really a problem. The ...


24

Yes, they really are unsafe after a week. According to the USDA (similar information can be found from other food agencies): Why do hard-cooked eggs spoil faster than fresh eggs? When shell eggs are hard cooked, the protective coating is washed away, leaving bare the pores in the shell for bacteria to enter and contaminate it. Hard-cooked eggs ...


24

If your carrots are going soft after just a few days, you're not storing them properly. Mine keep for weeks and weeks. I leave them in the plastic bag, and keep that in one of the vegetable drawers in my fridge. How are you storing yours? A rubbery soft carrot isn't bad for you, it just isn't very pleasant. A slimy carrot is bad for you, don't eat it.


24

Yes, nuts are very fatty, and they will eventually go rancid— if this is the case, they will taste very poor. They can also dry out, or in more rare cases (especially if stored improperly) be infested with insects or molds. Generally, they should be good for six months to a year at their best flavor, depending on the variety (in the shell). Five ...


21

It sounds like it's fermented, and more harmful bacteria or mold could definitely have grown without being visible. So it's not safe, in that there's definitely some risk. It's hard to evaluate exactly how risky it is. It sounds like you're already routinely taking risks by eating iffy food that's not obviously rotten or moldy, so you certainly could choose ...


18

There used to be a good reason to add the jelly to the meat pie: food safety. In the time before refrigerators, it was hard to keep meat without some spoilage. But a slaughtered fully grown pig meant some hundred kilos of meat, and it wasn't eaten on a single day. Most of the bacteria which spoil meat need oxygen to proliferate. So once you pack the meat ...


17

If it's refrigerated, it'll last for at least a week, as long as you didn't pre-dairy it. Unrefrigerated, I wouldn't trust it for more than a day. Coffee is a crappy growth medium and it should start out the next best thing to sterile, but, even covered, its going to start to get moldy. Obviously if you add dairy, then you're dealing with that dairy shelf-...


15

I believe that the best indicator of freshness is the colour of the leaves. Once they turn from green to brown, it is all over for the pesto. To boost the 'shelf-life' of the pesto in the fridge, make sure that it is completely covered with olive oil before sealing the container.


15

Most commercial fruit is picked before being completely ripened because once it is ripened it has a very limited shelf life, and strawberries are no exception. Strawberries ripen from the tip to the stem and a good indicator that a strawberry is unripe is a white ring around the stem area. Some fruits can be artificially ripened by exposing them to ...


14

The reason flour is in paper bag (either 1kg/2lbs bags from supermarkets, or 25kg for bakeries) is to let it "breath": to get it oxidized. If you see an old (vintage) bag it's made of a net that lets a lot of air to get in. Today those bags are not used because it also allows bugs to get in. When wheat grains are just milled, the flour is not good enough: ...


13

If it is sealed in an air tight container and the freezer always stays very cold so the meat never thaws- then chicken and beef will stay good indefinitely. I have used both chicken and beef that had been frozen in my deep freezer at 0F for years with no ill effect. I can't speak for shrimp as I have no personal experience but I would expect it to be the ...


13

Whiskey is quite high in alcohol, on the order of 40% by volume, and is not hospitable to pathogens growing. The flask is intended to hold liqueur, and so is made from or lined with a food safe material, such as food grade stainless steel (assuming you have one from a reputable manufacturer). So yes, it should be fine. Remember: when it was brewed, the ...


13

Assuming you're using spices which are all dried and ground, there should be no problem. In the middle-east, there are always several spice mixtures available in shops. The most famous of which are Ras-al-Hanout and Baharat. These are spice mixtures sold as pre-mixed combinations by the shopkeeper, who is usually the one who grinds the spices.


12

Honey is very stable for a number of reasons. The main ones though are the low amount of water (most honey is under 18% water) and the high amount of sugar (which is a preservative). Both of these things keep things like mold and bacteria from being able to grow. Over a long period of time (and if left unsealed) the honey could absorb moisture and then ...


12

Garlic will spoil faster in the fridge actually. I don't know how long it will last in the fridge, but I understand that it lasts longer if you leave it in a cool, dark, dry storage. I believe one reason is that your fridge is generally too humid. In my experience, garlic kept in the fridge is also more likely to develop mould (goes soft, and dark ...


12

Beyond obvious downsides like a rancid taste or textural deterioration, both tree nuts and peanuts are in a category of foods particularly prone to molds that produce aflatoxin, which can cause liver failure or liver damage in sufficient quantities. When I was importing a product from Asia that contained peanuts, it was one of the things that was considered ...


12

The USDA recommends storing hard boiled eggs, whether peeled or not, for 1 week. I personally have kept & eaten them after 2-3 weeks. I have also cracked one open that was no longer edible & believe me - You will know when that happens! The egg will will smell rotten & you will have no question as to whether or not to eat it! Some additional Info ...


12

It is due to a combination of several factor, depending on how the particular sausage was made: Dry cured sausages contain curing salts, a mixture of regular salt and sodium nitrate (which breaks down into sodium nitrite), which prevents the growth of botulism while the sausage cures. Meat for dry cures sausage is also often frozen to specific temperatures ...


12

As I have noted in a couple of other answers, I have worked in the CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) industry for almost 30 years. It is safe to say that there is not a simple answer to this question. There are so many variables that it would be difficult to even go into all of them. Before I go further, let me say that common sense goes a long way. Most food ...


12

First off I want to point out the term "fresh". While some containers might keep milk from spoiling for longer, it may not taste as nice. Several things might be why: 1.) Plastics leach flavor and odor into the milk. Cardboard cartons are also lined with plastic, not wax since about the 1940s. I would say this is likely the biggest impact-- I've always ...


12

According to Still Tasty (a site that looks at USDA, CDC and FDA data), nori lasts 2-4 months in the pantry and 4-6 months in the fridge. Also it says: Store in airtight glass or plastic container or in sealed plastic bag. Refrigerate to extend shelf life. Still, nori is completely dried. I imagine that the concern beyond that time frame is staleness, ...


11

Ingredients: liqueur, acidity regulator (E331), emulsifier (E471), flavours (caffeine), colouring (caramel (E150b). Source: a food product inventory database The alcohol keeps the product from microbiological spoilage, the E331 (sodium Citrate) buffers the product form getting damaged by acids produced by any spoilage, and E471 (mono and diglycerides of ...


11

The jelly in British pork pies is added deliberately, after the rest of the pie is cooked, to help keep the meat moist. In good pies it is usually either ham or chicken stock which jellifies as it cools. It is entirely possible to make a pork pie and omit this step at the end, but the pie then needs to be eaten sooner before it dries out.


11

There is no rule of thumb encompassing all salad dressings. One "rule of thumb" which sometimes gets used is to look at the shelf life of the most perishable component. Frequently it works; sometimes, it is dangerously misleading. A mixture of the things you listed can have a longer or shorter shelf life of that of the most perishable component. An example ...


11

StillTasty provides a very conservative answer: 6 months at best quality. In my personal experience, it can last much longer and be just fine, though I think the longest I ever kept a box was a couple years, not 5 years like riotburn. StillTasty suggests that the concern after more than 6 months is lost potency, but I believe the potential to take on odors ...


11

No, there is no reason they should. Bacteria feed on carbohydrates, not on fats. (This is why oil doesn't spoil outside of the fridge - it is pure fat). So it is the amount of milk sugar which is important for the bacteria, and it is the same regardless of the fat content. Also, the spoiled milk is not more or less sour at the end. The other important ...


11

Coffee beans will retain their essential oils and flavor compounds longest if stored in a dry, dark, airtight container. Refrigeration and freezing are therefore not desirable options since they will almost always cause moisture to form on the surface of the beans. Note that for the first couple weeks after the coffee has been roasted it will naturally ...


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