It’s such a waste to throw away food. The average American throws out 14 to 25 percent of their groceries, which is essentially just burning money. But is that item you’re about to throw out safe to eat? We take a look at some of the most commonly thrown away foods and whether or not you can salvage it. Part of the confusion stems from the expiration dates listed on packages. “Sell by” is a term that is not indicative of when the food spoils – it’s a date intended to help manufacturers and retailers ensure proper turnover of the products. “Use by” and “best by” do not indicate an item’s spoilage, but rather when the manufacturer deems the product has reached its peak freshness. Take a look at our list and make sure you’re not throwing away perfectly safe food.
Bread. If it’s moldy, throw it out. Even if you toast it, it’s not safe to eat. But if it’s just stale, there are a number of great ways to transform it. You can keep your bread fresh by freezing it for up to three months.
Bananas. Unless they’re rotten, overripe bananas can be used a number of different ways. You can cut away the brown spots from the flesh and eat the rest. One way to extend the life of your banana is to keep it in the fridge after it has reached its desired ripeness. Though the skin will turn brown, the flesh will stay the same.
Eggs. Eggs can be used 3-5 weeks after their sell-by date. As long as the egg doesn’t smell rotten, and the egg is being cooked to a safe temperature, it’s safe to use. Eggs must also be kept at a proper refrigerated temperature. To ensure safety, don’t store your eggs on the refrigerator door. Temperatures on the door are warmer and fluctuate due to the door opening.
Cheese. Blocks of hard cheese that have gone moldy can be salvaged – just cut about an inch around the mold to give yourself some margin of error, and be careful to not let the knife touch the mold and contaminate the rest of the cheese. Soft cheese or cheese with veins of mold for flavor (like bleu cheese) should be thrown out when mold growth appears. This also goes for any shredded or sliced cheese, regardless of the type of cheese.
Honey. Even after the honey has crystallized, it is still good to eat. Pure honey keeps safe indefinitely, one of nature’s ever-giving gifts. Keeping it tightly closed in a cool area will keep it from changing color or crystallizing, but you can revive crystallized honey by warming the jar in water and stirring.
Leafy greens. So you bought some kale and threw it in the back of your fridge, forgetting about it for days. You’ve found it again and now it’s wilted to the point of no return… or has it? Simply soak the kale in a bowl of iced water for an hour, and it should return to normal size. If it hasn’t, you can still use the kale for soup or sautés.
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