When Liquors and Cocktail Ingredients Expire

Newsflash: vintage bar carts are back in style. It’s time to head to your attic or basement, dust off the old bar cart and bring it back into use. Or, if you’re new to bar carts, you could check out antique stores or yard sales for a great find!

Once your bar cart is in place, it’s time to clean it up! Read our guide for how to clean off your bar cart, and make sure that the liquor that is already there has not gone bad. It also serves as a handy guide for the shelf life of each bottle you plan to stock. So if you just opened a bottle of creamy coffee liqueur, make sure you plan to serve your guests Irish coffees within the next few months, before it goes bad.

Source: Belly Up to the Bar Cart

I would have been skeptical except my girlfriend’s parents keep their liquor above the built-in oven for some unknown reason. We had a glass of bourbon out of a 1/4-full bottle that had been getting warmed up a couple times a day and it was so very, very wrong. It wasn’t a lack of subtlety, it wasn’t some evaporation, it was spoiled.  So, it can happen. I found this out the hard way.

I think if the temperature is low and the seal on the cap is good, it probably will last just about forever, though.

Find the Expiration Date of Your Leftover Takeout With This Handy Cheat Sheet

At any given moment, we’ve probably got a couple of different kinds of takeout in the fridge. But once we’ve had that late-night pizza or half-eaten container of pad Thai for a couple of days, we’re never quite sure how long it will actually stay good.

…For a complete guide, check out our cheat sheet below. But remember: Regardless of how many days it’s been, if something looks or smells bad, don’t eat it!

Source: Here’s How Long Your Leftovers Really Last

If you have sushi leftovers to put in the fridge, you need to re-examine your life choices.

Here’s How Long Those Small Condiment Packets Last Before They Expire

Do you stow extra condiment packets from fast food restaurants?  In particular, we keep a sandwich bag stocked in our cupboard of Taco Bell Fire Sauce. These packets are useful to take backpacking or to spread on your home-made burrito when you run out of refrigerated salsa. I’ve seen other people stashing a little bit of everything – mayo, ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, relish, honey, parmesan cheese, salad dressing, sugar, salt/pepper, plastic cups of jelly.

If you examine the condiment, most do not have an expiration date. Packets are shipped by the thousand in bulk and a recommended manufacture “Expiration Date” is displayed on the container.  The date on the shipping box is usually not an official expiration date, but a “Best By” date to ensure peak quality – and in most cases, you can consume products after this date as long as they are stored properly.

Source: Expiration Date of Condiment Packets

True honey never spoils- archeologists have found pots of the stuff that are thousand of years old that are still edible.  “Honey” that’s mostly corn syrup will go bad within months.

Does Canned Food Ever Really Go Bad?

Why, hello! We’re so glad to see you made it past the velociraptornadoes, sinkhole maze, and fire ants made of literal fire to join us here in our Survival Week bunker. Please help yourself to a single (one, please!) rationed water bottle as we discuss our now increasingly urgent question: Does tinned food go bad?

Source: Does Canned Food Ever Really Go Bad?

Is it time to read about the Disturbingly Inexact Science of Food Expiration Dates?  I was told that the rings on canned goods like tuna were to help indicate botulism…

Shelf Life of Warfarin/Coumadin?

I’ve only ever gotten warfarin/coumadin in pill bottles, which has an expiration date on it.  It’s roughly two (2) years, assuming storage at below 25 C/77 F in the original packaging.  It’s never been an issue to me – a prescription lasts me roughly three months.

The expiration date has almost nothing to do with the content of the pills. To get a drug approved, the manufacturer must show a minimum shelf life. Obviously they do not want to put some on a shelf and wait 5 years to see if they decompose. So experts utilize  “accelerated aging” tests to simulate shelf life. The pills are exposed to more heat and humidity than normal, and then these surrogate markers are extrapolated to a shelf life. It is also obvious that manufacturers do not want to put a long expiry date on the pills because people would keep them forever.

Is something still good after say two months past “stated expiry”? It depends on how they were stored. If they were in a place where they got direct sunlight – probably not. If they were in a refrigerator and were opened occasionally, they probably got moisture in the bottle and probably are no good. If they are in a pill bottle for a pharmacy, kept in a medicine cabinet and only opened occasionally – they are probably good. If they are in a sample pack from the manufacturer and were not exposed to excessive heat, they are probably still good. Drugs typically do not “go sour” (like milk) to give you a good indication of when they have turned bad. Aging for most drugs is pretty linear. Meaning, the compounds break down at a regular rate over time and the potency of the entire pill gradually diminishes. Therefore, a pill taken during the expiration month has virtually the same potency as it would one month after expiration.

There is another component of shelf life that is worth mentioning: marketing. If generic warfarin had a shelf life of 2 months, and the brand-name coumadin had a shelf life of 4 years, would anyone buy the generic? Also, what’s the benefit for the makers of coumadin showing that their drug has a shelf life of 5 years instead of 4 years? If you leave it at 4 years, most people will clear out whatever they have when it expires and buy a new bottle. All of these things and more are discussed when a company decides the shelf life of a drug.

TLDR: If there is doubt, there is no doubt.  Please do not risk another DVT, pulmonary embolism, heart attack, stroke, aneurysm…  If you decide to take blood thinner medication after expiry, depending on frequency I’d recommend testing an INR earlier and more often.  And potentially expect to be told to increase the dose if the drug is less potent.

How to Reduce your Household’s Food Waste

According to some estimates, as much as 40 per cent of the food produced in the United States goes uneaten. That’s $165-billion of wasted food.

The Environmental Protection Agency says that 35 million tonnes of food was thrown out in 2012 alone, 20 per cent more than the food tossed out in 2000. In fact, more food now ends up in landfills than plastic, glass, paper and metal, and comprises more than a fifth of America’s garbage.

Considering food waste accounted for less than 10 per cent of total waste in 1980, the numbers are unnerving.

Source: How to Reduce your Household’s Food Waste

Some of the points were covered in a previous post about the size of fridges.  Knowing more about spoilage and expiry dates can help too.

Tomatoes & Refrigeration? Further Testing Says…

If you haven’t been following Tomatogate—my name for the minor controversy I caused with two previous articles that challenged the commonly held belief that refrigeration is never an acceptable way to store tomatoes—then you may not know just how strongly people feel about the topic.

Source: Should You Refrigerate Tomatoes? Further Testing Says…

Long but good read.  They didn’t get full-on lab coat and beaker science, but a good effort.

Tomatoes: Where Should You Store Them?

The answer depends on who you talk to:

Keep Milk from Spoiling Without Refrigeration

For centuries, before refrigeration, an old Russian practice was to drop a frog into a bucket of milk to keep the milk from spoiling. In modern times, many believed that this was nothing more than an old wives’ tale. But researchers at Moscow State University, led by organic chemist Dr. Albert Lebedev, have shown that there could be some benefit to doing this, though of course in the end you’ll be drinking milk that a frog was in.

Source: Frogs and Milk- How to Keep Milk from Spoiling Without Refrigeration

If Life hands you milk, make cheese.

The Shelf Life of Food

This infographic does a great job at listing some common foods and how long they’ll stay fresh and safe to eat based on different storage methods (including what you might be tempted to freeze but really shouldn’t). There’s stuff at the bottom about the differences between the “sell by,” “use by,” and “expires on” dates you commonly see on packaging at the store.

Don’t forget to trust your nose—if you’ve stored your food properly, you can usually beat most expiration dates and keep your food fresher, longer. For another reference, check out Still Tasty and type in the type of food you’re curious about.