Thursday, January 31, 2013

It's Expired When *I* Say It Is

The other day on Pinterest a graphic popped up that listed all the foods you could ever hope to store, along with their "expiration dates" and a chirpy little reminder to pin it to your pantry door so you knew when to "throw away" unused food.

It's a recurring theme on every survivalist/prepper minded board I follow. "How long will XXX last and how do I store it?" You know the answers. Mylar, O2 absorbers, food grade plastic buckets, gamma lids if you have the scratch. Fail any of that and you'll have massive bug infestations and ruined food, guaranteed.

To that I say, Great Value quick grits. "Best By 08 12 12", which was over six months ago. It's spent the last two years in the cabinet by the stove, unsealed, no O2 absorbers or crushed DE or anything. By all reports it should be dreadful, but it cooked up just fine other than the yellow color.

Just kidding, that's Hoosier Hill Farm cheddar cheese powder, and a marvelous cheese powder it is too. Found it on Amazon.

"Oh whatever," you scoff disdainfully. "Six months is nothing, plus that stuff has no nutritional value. It probably has the lifespan of a Twinkie."

Ok. Then I raise you one bag of Arrowhead Mills whole wheat choco chip pancakes. The date right there sez March 10, 2011. That's a month shy of TWO YEARS out of date, and on whole wheat pancake flour to boot. Again, stored in the cabinet, half open actually.

I took a photo of the inside but it doesn't really show anything. Trust me, nothing is moving.

I made pancakes with this yesterday morning. They were on the heavy side but I think that about all whole grain pancakes. So two years out of date, and still just fine.

Shall I keep going?

That's a box of lard. September 9, 2010 was it's expiration date. Today is Jan 31, 2013. I hardly ever use lard, mostly for pie crusts and refried beans. I made refried beans on Friday. The stuff is still snow white and smells the same as it ever did. It's SO white, it's hard to tell it from the white paper it comes wrapped in.

I also have a can of Crisco, exp date March 2011. Same thing, stuff is as good as new, and trust me when that stuff goes bad it reeks to high heaven. I could list stuff all day long, not just one can that I got lucky with but dozens. After all, I've been doing this since '98. I've gone through cans of evap milk that were a year out of date, and rice that was stored every way but the "correct" one but still came through with flying colors eight years later.

For those of you new to prepping, it's great to do things "the right way" right out of the gate, but if finances are a struggle, don't get overwhelmed and discouraged by the cost. I'll do another post here in a bit about the cheap way to get started, because you can always upgrade your stuff on down the road.

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