Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Frugal Fail: Expiration Dates

This may be brand new information to you. I hope it is not.

Nonperishable food is NOT nonperishable.

I'm not sure where the myth started. As I was blogging this in my head early this morning in between husband leaving and Amy going back to sleep time (think: about 5 a.m.) it occurred to me that I could probably blame this on public school.

Leave it a homeschooler, right? Hahahaha. Ahem.

What I mean is: because of the very real earthquake threat we were required to pack and bring an emergency kit to school each year. It was stored in this giant bin in the corner of the room. Each bag was to contain nonperishable snacks, a flash light, blah, blah, blah. Let's focus on the snacks. My mom always put in some sort of nut thing (like trail mix), a few handy snacks, more crackers, that sort of thing. Nonperishable.

I realize now that what they meant by "nonperishable" was really "won't perish between now and when we get rid of your kid next June." Not so much "survive until the end of time."

I am your messenger of sad news, my friends. (That, or I'm a moron for not knowing this and you are all very smart). ... food expires. Pretty much all food. Including rice a roni. And chocolate chips. And boxed pudding. Yes, I just double checked. Pretty much the only thing I located in my pantry without a best if used by date on it was a can of creamed corn (which makes not want to eat it) and some rice.


So brutal, in fact, that I just cleaned out my pantry so I can show you all the things I now get to throw away. And let's remember that I only started collecting this stuff like a year ago. So pretty much this stuff only lasted a year! Nonperishable? Bah.

First, my pantry. Just because I know you're wondering. It's not terribly clean. Don't judge.

Then I went through it and looked at expiration dates on everything. Here is the giant stack that I now have to throw out. Just picture it as a stack of money because that's how I feel.


Who knew POPCORN expired?! Seriously folks. This is shocking.

And final confession for this post that demonstrates just how ... silly ... and naive I am. Remember how I said I was going to clean out the freezer this week by serving some stir fry meals? Well they werent Birds Eye, they were Green Giant. Whatever. The point is that when I was practically STARVING TO DEATH after my workout at the Y and dumped the contents into my wok I realized that perhaps this bag had expired too. Long, long ago.

As in last May. Sure enough.

We'll be figuring out something else to eat on Thursday. Luke rescued last night by making me an omelet and salvaging the chicken I had planned to use in the stir fry. In other news, the second bag of stir fry made an excellent ice pack when Luke accidentally smashed my toes in the recliner on our couch.


  1. Honey never goes bad. It is THE only food that doesn't. :) Just thought you might like to know! Stock up now lol

  2. awww...hahaha! You're such a cute little pack rat though ;-) And remind me to tell you about my Grandmother's Pantry and how I learned the lesson about "all food expiring" at an early age over a ill-fated...well...I'll save it for the story, its better that way. ;-)

  3. Some food can be used after its expiration the foods to see how long you can actually keep will save you lots of money :)

  4. Eh, expiration dates are more like guidelines. I've heard that Twinkies have a ridiculously long shelf-life...

  5. You don't have to throw that all out.

    Read this about experation dates and best if used by dates:

    Rice can last 30 years:,11666,7798-1-4224-1,00.html

    Chocolate chips will be fine.

    Stuff in the freezer will get freezer burn sooner, but things like rice a roni are fine past the dates.

  6. I popped over from MoneySavingMom. :) Hi there! ::waves::

    Most items have expiration dates because of teh fats in them. The cake mixes wouldn't go bad if it wasn't for the shortning or oil in them. Those fats go rancid and cause the product to smell awful. Most canned goods last 2+ years but manufacters must date stamp from 1 year of processing...

    Items that have 1 ingredient (think rice, beans, etc) will last 10+ years if sealed and stored in a cool area. You can always create an inventory (1st in, 1st out) to save yourself, but that's a pain... :)

    You crack me up. I'm glad I stopped by. You're not the only one who's been pained with this.