5 Frozen Foods You Shouldn't Eat Past Their Expiration Date — If You Still Want Them To Taste Good

If you're anything like me, you likely think of your freezer as that magical space where food stays fresh for an eternity. But, unfortunately, things actually do start to go bad in there. Consequently, there are a few different frozen foods you don't want to east past their expiration date — at least, not if you want them to taste great.

That's right, just because your delicious frozen pizzas and bags of tater tots are tucked away in the freezer doesn't mean you want to keep them for years on end. Food does still expire in there. And, while it's usually not dangerous to eat these foods after the printed date, they likely won't taste as good, due to the flavor and texture breaking down over time. After all, do you really want to eat pizza rolls from 2012? I hope not.

Of course, the freezer is great for making things last a little longer. You can chuck everything from an extra loaf of bread to ground beef in there if you aren't planning on using them in the near future. And, those are typically safe to eat past the printed expiration date — as you extended their shelf life by storing them in the freezer temporarily. 

But, what about those food items that are actually meant to live in the freezer full-time? Well, you want to be a little more conscientious about those expiration dates — especially, if you want your meal to taste decent. Here are five frozen foods you don't want to eat past the expiration date.

P.S. If you want to be on the safe side, just don't eat anything after it expires. Problem solved.

1. Ice Cream

We've all had those intense sweets cravings that inspire us to dig all the way to the back of the freezer and pull out that tub of ice cream from who knows how long ago. You yank off the top and see a thick layer of ice crystals. I'm sure we've probably all just scraped those away and continued on with our mission to indulge. But, you likely noticed that your ice cream just didn't taste as good. That freezer burn can cause an almost dry, chalky, bland taste. So, eating ice cream after it has expired isn't always the greatest idea. Although, sometimes it's totally necessary — I get it.  

2. Frozen Pizza

Pizza is one of those freezer staples that everybody has. I'm a total pizza-lover, but even I'm guilty of leaving a random pizza in the freezer for too long. Hey, sometimes they just get buried under other things and you forget they're in there. So, I've eaten my fair share of pizzas that were probably a little too far past their prime. While still safe to consume, they definitely have a hard, dry texture. Plus, the crust starts to taste a little spongey and styrofoam-ish. Tasty. 

3. Potato Dishes

Whether you have fries, tater tots, or hash browns sitting in your freezer, you probably don't want to eat them too far past the expiration date. They can definitely get freezer burn, and the cooked texture might seem a little mealy and pulpy. Not exactly the delicious potato dish you were hoping for, right? 

4. Vegetables

Purchasing those bags of frozen vegetables is always convenient. After all, they're available year-round. However, these handy side dishes definitely can go bad. Too long in the freezer and they'll lose their color, shrivel in size, and start to collect a bunch of ice crystals. All of this results in a really bland and boring taste. Yuck.

5. Ice

Alright, I know this one seems extremely strange. I mean, ice technically isn't food and it doesn't even have an expiration date. But, hear me out. You know those plastic ice cube trays that you fill with water and then leave in your freezer? Well, your ice cubes are just as prone to freezer burn as the rest of your freezer food. Plus, ice can easily pick up any other strong, rancid odors that are living in your freezer. So, you're better to keep your ice in a plastic freezer bag if it's going to be staying in the freezer for quite some time. And, don't forget to wash your ice cube trays every couple of weeks!

Images: Steven Depolo, Kyle Brown, Lynne Hand, Chris Campbell, e.c. johnson, sgrace/Flickr

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