How Long After The Expiration Date Can You Eat Food? It Depends On What's In Your Fridge

If you are anything like me, you have a gut-wrenching feeling every time you throw out food. Knowing how long after the expiration date you can eat food and not risk a stomachache or death is the only way you’ll be able to stop the madness.

The truth is, some of those expiration dates are lying to you. If you properly know how to store your food, there’s no reason to be throwing it out the moment the expiration date comes up. Most foods have a longer shelf life and will stay edible long after that sell by date has passed. As someone who detests wasting food, knowing how long food can really last not only keeps me sane, but it keeps me from spending more money than I have to. Who doesn’t love saving a little dough? That’s a happy hour that you’re bringing back to life right there.

Stop the violence against food that isn’t even past its prime yet. The cruelty has to end at some point. Make an effort to get to know how long the food in your refrigerator and freezer will last. You’ll be a happier, fuller, and not to mention a richer person for it.

Meat

Generally you want to enjoy meat a few days after you get it, but that’s only if you aren’t freezing it. If you freeze those delicious steaks, they will have a 50 percent longer shelf life.

Canned goods

Canned goods already last a ridiculously long time, but if you keep them in a cool, dark place, you can double the shelf life. Then again, most of those canned foods are practically expiration proof, so give that three year old can of beans a chance before you toss it out.

Eggs

You can actually eat eggs long past the expiration date. All you have to do to know if an egg is still good is put it through the float test. Fill a cup with water and add the egg to it. If the egg floats, it belongs in the trash. A good rule of thumb is to eat eggs three to five weeks after you buy them.

Pasta

Much like canned food, dry hard products won’t spoil easily. You can extend the shelf life of pasta to almost double in most cases. If you’re unsure, just give it a sniff. If the pasta smells funny, it’s time to throw it away.

Frozen foods

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Frozen foods are made to live in the freezer for an extended period of time. In general you can extend to life of frozen foods long after the expiration date — by almost double.

Milk

Did you know there are cold spots in your refrigerator? The further back you get, the colder it is. Pasteurized milk will keep 50 percent longer if you store it at the back of the fridge.

Bread

Don’t let your bread sit at room temperature if you aren’t planning to consume it quickly. Instead, stash it in the refrigerator or freezer. Bread can be consumed after the expiration date as long as you don’t see any mold.

Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise never lasts long in my house, but if I were to extend the shelf life of anything, this would be it. This creamy condiment can be kept fresh three to four months after its expiration date.

Hard cheeses

See some mold on there? No problem! Just cut off that mold and keep digging into that cheese. It should be safe for up to four weeks after the best before date.

Butter

We all love soft creamy butter, and leaving it at room temperature is the only way to get it the right consistency. Just don’t leave ALL your butter out at once. Leave out a little bit at a time and refrigerate or freeze the rest to get a longer shelf life. If you freeze butter, it’ll last a few months past the expiration date.

Soda

If you’re taking a break from soda for a bit, don’t throw out those cans just yet. You’ll want that last can around when you break down and realize you can’t live without it. The good news? Regular soda can last up to nine months after the expiration date (diet soda only lasts four months longer).

Mustard

There's nothing much more American than a heaping helping of mustard on a hot dog, am I right? With grilling season coming up, don’t worry about the last time you used the mustard sitting in your refrigerator. This condiment will stay fresh for up to a year in the fridge.

Less waste, less money spent, everybody wins.

For more ideas, check out Bustle on YouTube.

Bustle on YouTube

Images: Pexels; Jeff Attaway, F Delventhal, United Soybean Board, Carl Milner, liz west, M Dreibelbis, Mike Mozart, Didriks, Jimmie, Mike Mozart, dcJohn/Flickr