clearly not my fridge bottled salad dressing on the door

When it comes to food, people are either expiration phobes adhering to when in doubt throw it out or feel a little mold wont hurt you. I grew up with a mother who was bold in the face of mold. She would remove the clearly contaminated portion of food and give us the rest saying, “it’s fine”. Naturally, I’m expiration phobic. However, I’ve relaxed a little now that I can call the spoilage shots and even occasionally live on the edge eating things a few days after the package says to.
There are rules to help you decide whether to hang onto or heave items and a couple of these surprised me:

Chicken Broth– I used to open the quart of Pacific chicken broth, use 4 to 8 ounces for a recipe and then plop the rest in the fridge only to discard it weeks later. I eventually grew tired of wasting the majority of the container and started freezing a mason jar of broth (leaving a little room for expansion).  Recently, I discovered Whole Food’s 365 brand makes mini 8-ounce juice-box sized organic broth containers that completely solve the problem.

 In case you have opened chicken stock, if it’s been in the fridge more than 4-5 days, time to toss.

Hard-boiled eggs – knowing my obsession with hard-boiled eggs, I get asked regularly about them. In their shells, unpeeled boiled eggs will last a week. Uncooked eggs will last 3 to 5 weeks if you do not store them on the door.
Tomato Sauce– I make and freeze tomato sauce but in our house we’re equally fond of Rao’s Marinara sauce. Rao’s is a legendary restaurant in Harlem and their sauce is outstanding. To my knowledge Rao’s comes in only one size and that’s 32 OZ. It takes us weeks to use this much and that’s a problem because tomato sauce, once opened is good for 5 days.

1/23/12 is definitely more than 5 days ago

 Honey-I poisoned the children. I’m glad I’ve been feeding them organic food and bacteria.

Greens – many clients complain that greens spoil on them quickly. My retort is usually “if you use them they don’t spoil” but that’s not all that helpful. So for green-aid think of greens like underarms, it’s all about moisture control. While I don’t like the bags of lettuce I do purchase clamshell packs of greens.

You can reuse these and lettuce lasts over a week. After a few days, put a paper towel in the container (on the bottom) to keep the lettuce from wilting. Other times, I  wash lettuce in ice water, spin it and roll it in a tea towel, again the towel retains the moisture keeping the lettuce fresh.

Leftovers- I’m a leftover lover. I can eat leftover chili for breakfast and bring my lunch to work most days. These labels from the Container Store are great.. You can write the date you put leftovers in the fridge or the date to toss but make sure family members know your system. Leftover longevity is 3 to 4 days.
There’s actually an app and website called Still Tasty that will alert you when your food will expire.  I love their list of “foods that will outlive you.” On this list there’s salt (no surprise since it is used to preserve), honey and, while many foods live and die, vodka lasts forever.
Are you an expiration phobe or bold in the face of mold? Any foods that confuse you when it comes to holding or heaving? What tricks do you use to keep food fresh?


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