Food Waste – Don’t Do It!

Here I go ‘Again’ my annual rant about Food Waste.

My daughter shops on Friday. Before putting away her groceries she checks the dates on food in her refrigerator and pantry. If she sees a date any date that has passed she throws out the food produce.
She refuses to believe if food is canned is frozen it is still safe to ate and sends it to the pigs.

Call me a pig. If I am present, I collect up all the food and take it home. Many time I will have 2 or sometimes 3 days worth of food that I have collected from my daughter. That’s ‘Free’ food for me.

Studies in the U.S.A. and the UK have found that the average family sends up to 1/3 (33 percent) of their food budget to the land fill needlessly. The main cause is people in general don’t understand Best used by date stamped on food packages really means.

Best if used by date Does Not, let me say that again, Does Not mean that the food has gone bad and is unsafe to eat after ‘Best used by date. What it does mean is the Length of time food retains most of its original taste and nutrition.


Recent scientific studies on dehydrated(dry) foods have shown that food stored properly can last for a much longer period of time than previously thought. This research determined the “life sustaining” shelf life to be the following:

Dry Food Item Shelf Life
Wheat, White Rice, and Corn 30 years or more
Pinto Beans, Apple Slices, Macaroni 30 years
Rolled Oats, and Potato Flakes 30 years
Powdered Milk 20 years

Hint: I use 1/2 gallon and 1 gallon canning jars to store dry food products.
Fill your jars all the way to the top eliminating all air space.
Light is your enemy. Consider spray painting your jars black to protect your foods from being exposed to sun light.

U.S. Army study. If a product is correctly processed, it should remain safe until opened or the seal is broken. The U.S. Army has found that canned meats, vegetables and jam were in “excellent states of preservation” after 45 years.
However, long storage is not recommended. For high quality (versus safety), the broadest guideline given by the U.S.D.A. is to use high-acid canned food (fruits, tomatoes and pickled products) within 2 to 3 years, and low-acid (meats and vegetables) within 2 to 5 years.

Oscar Pike a food scientist at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah said “It (canned foods) lasts a lot longer than we thought. Certain foods like sugar and salt can be stored indefinitely.
In one study, researchers taste tested rolled oats that had been stored in sealed containers for 28 years. Three fourths of tasters considered the oats taste acceptable to eat.

It is important to first identify what is meant by “food storage” and “shelf life. Best if used by date “Length of time food retains most of its original taste and nutrition.
Life sustaining shelf life – Length of time food preserves life, without becoming inedible.

Food storage Hints:
Temperature: Excessive temperature is damaging to food storage. With increased temperature, proteins breakdown and some vitamins will be destroyed. The color, flavor and odor of some products may also be affected. To enhance shelf life, store food at room temperature or below; never store food in an attic or garage.

Moisture: Excessive moisture can result in product deterioration and spoilage by creating an environment in which microorganisms may grow and chemical reactions can take place.

Oxygen: The oxygen in air can have deteriorative effects on fats, food colors, vitamins, flavors, and other food constituents. It can cause conditions that will enhance the growth of microorganisms.

Light: The exposure of foods to light can result in the deterioration of specific food constituents, such as fats, proteins, and vitamins, resulting in discoloration, off-flavors, and loss of vitamins.

It is important for you to keep food stored at as cool and steady a temperature as possible (below 75 degrees but above freezing). This is the best and most important thing individuals can do to keep their long term food viable. If done correctly, your food storage could last 20-30+ years, depending on the product and storage conditions.

Not from the USA. Please leave me comment about your home town and country.

Why is common sense so uncommon?
Don’t be Shy. Leave me your Comment(s)


16 responses to “Food Waste – Don’t Do It!

  1. My wife recently found a 1/2 pint jar, unlabled, except for “09”. We suspect it is apple butter. As soon as I finish of the jar of raspberry jam, I’ll find out how the experiment has held up. More PB and mystery spread sandwiches.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is very interesting. I must admit, I’m guilty of abiding by best-use dates, so I make a conscious effort to cook, freeze, or consume foods before the date on the package. Do you have any recommendations for dairy products? For example, I have a container of Greek yogurt in the fridge right now that is well-within the date limit; however, it has been opened (of course, the lid is on it). The container says, “Once opened, use within 5 days”. I’ve seen this same suggestion on cheese, etc. Is it safe to use an opened dairy product after the suggested 5 days if it is still within the date?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dairy products are always a problem. Depending on how they were handled ‘Before’ you purchased them, They may very well go bad ‘Before’ the use by date. Best to use the smell / taste test. If it smells bad or taste bad pitch it out.
      Soft cheeses will go bad if not properly stored rather quickly.
      Hard cheeses can safely be stored for many months or even years. Aged cheeses may be 1 to 25 years old when packaged to be sold.

      Happy Gardening.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We’ve had bumper crops of plums now for quite a few years and there are jars of plum preserves on the pantry shelf from 4 years ago. I still use them without any trouble. I do agree that they do lose some of the fresh taste when compared with the more recent jars, but they are still good and most definitely not worth throwing out. My parents won’t even consider eating the old preserves and if I won’t give them the most current jams/preserves from my pantry, they don’t want them. I told them they should probably just start canning their own — that way there won’t be any expiration issues. Better yet, maybe they should just go buy their jams from the stores which have those wonderful expiration dates written right on them. My mother is one of the expiration date police too and regularly throws out food from the fridge and cupboards that have past the “best used by” date. She won’t even let me take the old food home because she says she doesn’t want to be responsible for me getting sick. The media has truly brainwashed the masses into believing the lie — too bad the truth will never be accepted as readily.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is a good thing, but in truth anyone well almost everyone born after 1950 has never been truly hungry or had to worry about when or wher e their next meal was coming from.

      The boon in the farming industry after the depression and food shortages of WWII war years made food cheap and available year round. No longer was seasonal crops seasonal. They could be imported from foreign countries. The need to can and store food became a hobby not a life sustaining requirement.
      As such those born after the war became (in my opinion) spoiled and unaware .of how to recognize foods that were still safe to be consumed and those that should be sent to the hog trough.

      Happy Gargening

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Such a shame that so much food is wasted…. Here in the UK there has been an upsurge in the amount of shopping done more regularly from smaller local shops. I wonder if this has something to do with people tightening their belts? In any case, it would be interesting to see if that reduces food waste.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I liver near 10 years in Germany, Italy and Greece. In those countries they shopped daily. What was purchased today was consumed that day or no late than the next day. Grin … No chance of food going bad in the pantry or refrigerator.

      Happy Gardening

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I would totally skip-dive (dumpster dive) here if my local shop didn’t have a huge fence with spikes on it! I have a very sensitive nose, so I know right away if something is off or not – unlike hubby who tried to kill us with pork chops out of date THAT DAY that stunk like all nine circles of hell as he cooked them. Poor dear couldn’t smell a thing but I nearly gagged. That is weird enough but what gets me is sour cream. It could go off days before the expiry date or months later. I trust my nose! (American in Ireland)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alway use a meat (cooks) thermometer. Cooking / heating food to 165 degrees kills all bacteria.
      Trust your Nose. If it smells bad, looks bad or develops a slick feel, be safe and send it to the garbage bin.

      Happy gardening


  6. We try not to waste anything and only shop for what we need and when we need it, instead of big weekly shopping trips.
    Whenever I think of how long food can last for always makes me think about the book Earth Abides by George R. Stewart, an end of civilisation story with generations of people living in city’s and living of food found in long abandoned shops


  7. Thanks for this entry – I am sending it to my family’s next generation, who, like your daughter, pitch food older than the “best used by”/”expiration” date and pitch a fit if they discover my husband and I are eating such.
    My Dad and Mom accumulated a bit of “wealth” by being so frugal. One example of their frugality which I still practice is soaking rice in cold water before cooking so we could scoop off any drowned bugs from the water’s surface. We figured that any we didn’t get, and therefore ate, were just a little extra protein!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a carry over from my great and grand parents that lived through the depression of the 1930’s. I still wash all dry grain products to remove bugs, dirt and any pesticide used in the grain / bean been storage facilities.

      Happy Gardening


  8. A few years ago, a brewery in Burton on Trent discovered a forgotten cellar with bottles of beer from the XIX Century – still drinkable, still enjoyable. As for wine …

    Liked by 1 person

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