Many of us are trying to cut down on the amount of food we waste at home, for a number of different reasons.
The ever-rising price of groceries is one of these reason why a lot of people are trying to slash their waste and feed themselves whilst sticking to a budget.
However, it’s important to know when certain foods become unsafe to eat, as they could make you unwell if they’re consumed too long past their sell-by date.
Wales Online reports that John Stirzaker, from discount website NetVoucherCodes.co.uk, said: “Food costs are at record levels so ensuring everything is stored correctly and used up before they go off is vital, especially if you’re working to a tight budget. You do need to bear in mind dates on items.
“Use by dates are found on foods that are likely to spoil including meat, fish and dairy products. Avoid eating these after the dates as it could make you ill.
“Best before dates are where common sense comes into play. These are safe to eat after the date but use your senses. If they don’t smell or look right, then they’re probably best avoiding.
“There are some simple checks you can make to check if food is still okay to eat. It’s also worth remembering to keep an eye on perishable items and to make use of the freezer if they’re on the turn.”
Here are NetVoucherCodes’ tips for checking food.
It’s easy to check whether eggs are still good enough to eat by doing the water test. Place an egg in a bowl of water. Fresh eggs will sink and older eggs will float as pockets of air form in the base. If you’re still not sure, cook it. If it smells bad, then it probably is.
Bread does have a short shelf life and if you’re not a big bread eating family, try freezing and getting out a few slices as you need them. Identifying whether your bread is off is straightforward – look out for mould, a strange smell and taste. Try and avoid this by storing bread at room temperature or colder and if you put it in the fridge, make sure the bag is well sealed to prevent drying out.
Taking a quick look at fruit will tell you whether it’s good to eat. If it’s become mushy, has visible signs of mould, wrinkly skin and an unpleasant smell, throw it away. If it shows no signs of spoilage, then it’s good to eat.
You can tell when a vegetable is past its best by the smell and the look of it. Look out for slimy vegetables and brown spots as well as wrinkly and peeling skin on this skinned veg. If you think your veg is on the turn, freeze it. You can then get out what you need when you need it.
Once opening, you can generally keep soft cheese for around seven days and hard cheeses for up to a month. If you see mould on soft, crumbled, grated and sliced cheeses, throw it away. On hard cheeses, cutting the mould away should make it fine to eat. The best cheese to freeze is those used in cooked dishes. Hard cheeses like cheddar can be frozen but their texture won’t be as nice.
Fresh meat and fish
These will carry a use by date and once you hit that date, the advice is not to use. Instead of wasting, keep an eye on dates on these items, and if you’re not going to use in time, portion up and freeze. This also applies to dairy products, chilled ready meals and fruit juices.
Canned foods tend to have a good shelf life. Remember to check tins and store cupboard items every now and again to make sure they’re still good and move older items to the front of your cupboard after a big shop.
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