It MIGHT still be perfectly good….SHOULD I eat it?
October 9, 2019 11:11 AM   Subscribe

How to Tell Whether Expired Food Is Safe to Eat

How to use old stuff: “Amazing Waste Cookbook,” (PDF)

Or, should I feed this to my dog or cat?

And, if not, How to Spot Food-Poisoning Symptoms
posted by mightshould (26 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
My failsafe strategy is to leave questionable items in the fridge until I'm sure they're no good and then throw them away. I'm sure I'm not alone in this.
posted by sjswitzer at 11:15 AM on October 9 [67 favorites]


[askme voice] just smell it and if it smells okay then it's definitely fine!

everyone who has ever handled food professionally: *screaming*
posted by poffin boffin at 11:15 AM on October 9 [27 favorites]


Just post on ask.metafilter.com and go with whichever 50% answers you agree with. Although my next day raw kitfo question got a universal hell no.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:02 PM on October 9 [4 favorites]


Okay, I'm sorry, I am skeptical about this article. As per Serious Eats, unless you have farmer's market, garden or heirloom tomatoes it's actually perfectly reasonable to refrigerate them - and, contra the article, tomatoes do last longer in the fridge.

One of my housemates has been testing this - I mean, it's either a test or really bad housemate behavior - by buying tomatoes and leaving them on the counter until they grow mold. This has happened several times, and the tomatoes have been thrown away by me once rotted. Recently, I threw away the one which had visible mold and stuck the other two in the refrigerator....and the refrigerated ones are still fine. The refrigerator keeps your tomatoes from rotting, folks.
posted by Frowner at 12:17 PM on October 9 [11 favorites]


contra the article, tomatoes do last longer in the fridge.

Considering the article has a headline saying "Ask an Expert - Four Tips", but the body of the article enumerates seven tips, that must be one of the three that are non-expert tips.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:22 PM on October 9 [14 favorites]


contra the article, tomatoes do last longer in the fridge.

I don't think anyone denies they last longer in the fridge. However, they also taste like shit when refrigerated so what's the point?

Buy two in-season tomatoes. Put one in the fridge and leave one on the counter. When the one on the counter is ripe, eat them both and see which tastes better. Note: the one in the fridge will never really get ripe.
posted by dobbs at 12:31 PM on October 9 [8 favorites]


Next month on MetaTalk: "Ask Metafilter traffic declined by 75% this past month..."
posted by kevinbelt at 12:33 PM on October 9 [5 favorites]


I don't think anyone denies they last longer in the fridge. However, they also taste like shit when refrigerated so what's the point?

Ahem. Per the article, "Onions, potatoes and tomatoes last longer when NOT refrigerated." Serious Eats feels that tomatoes which are not in season - ie, standard grocery store tomatoes - don't really get any worse in the fridge. This is my experience.
posted by Frowner at 12:37 PM on October 9


keeps your tomatoes from rotting, folks

Depends on the tomatoes, the geographical location and ambient temperature. My in-law's garden tomatoes in Va. in August would probably live longer in the fridge than in full exposure of fruit flies and ambient molds, true (then again there are so many of them that even that vast 'murican fridge would burst at its seams). But here in the North, keeping them in the fridge just exacerbates the non-tomaton-ness of these imported corpses-from-Spain, and your only chance to get some after-the-fact ripening done is to keep them in a bowl on the counter.
posted by Namlit at 12:39 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]


Next month on MetaTalk: "Ask Metafilter traffic declined by 75% this past month..."

Because everyone is hospitalized after eating That Thing?
posted by Namlit at 12:41 PM on October 9 [2 favorites]


Serious Eats feels that tomatoes which are not in season - ie, standard grocery store tomatoes - don't really get any worse in the fridge.

The hard round red balls from California and other places which are sold as tomatoes, sure. The tomatoes that are increasingly available in Ontario at least, have traveled less than 100 km, typically packed in hard plastic cases, come from a local green house. They many be 24 hours off the vine or less. They're not quite the same as one grown locally in season to ripeness, but they're a darn sight better than the ones that have bounced around in cross continental trucks.
posted by bonehead at 1:02 PM on October 9


Tomatoes are basically seafood: eat it the day you pick it or it's going to be not so great.

I'll contribute to using up old food, specifically apples: you can make really good applesauce out of mediocre apples in the Instant Pot. Cut 3 pounds of them in chunks, don't bother peeling or coring, add 1 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, set to sealing mode, manual, 12 minutes, quick release. Put the result through a food mill to remove skins and seeds; I think you can push it through a sieve if you haven't got a food mill. Pour off the excess juice and drink it. Makes around 2 quarts; you can add bottled lemon juice, reheat, and process in a hot water bath if you want.
posted by blnkfrnk at 1:02 PM on October 9 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: just smell it and if it smells okay then it's definitely fine!
posted by Fizz at 1:16 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]


A couple of months ago, a friend of mine bought me a box of organic grape-sized tomatoes in an open paper box, but happened to put the whole thing in a twisted shut larger paper bag.

I used most of them in several omelets in the next few days, and then forgot there were any left for more than 3 weeks as the bag sat unrefrigerated on the counter. When I finally got around to throwing the bag and box into the food waste, I noticed there were still some tomatoes rattling around in there, which was surprising since I assumed they would all be glued together by massive mold growth by then.

So I looked inside, and there were about ten left. Nine had turned into tomato raisins with no other signs of spoilage, and the tenth had some very iffy looking black spots around the attached stem. I threw that one away and ate the others. They were delicious and had what I judged to be an intensified tomato flavor.
posted by jamjam at 1:43 PM on October 9 [2 favorites]


How to Tell Whether Expired Food Is Safe to Eat

"You've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky?

Well, do ya, punk?"
posted by soundguy99 at 1:46 PM on October 9 [2 favorites]


> So I looked inside, and there were about ten left. Nine had turned into tomato raisins with no other signs of spoilage, and the tenth had some very iffy looking black spots around the attached stem. I threw that one away and ate the others. They were delicious and had what I judged to be an intensified tomato flavor.

They were basically tomato raisins, yes. I have never quite understood the mystery by which some of my (homegrown) cherry tomatoes raisin themselves while others grow mold. Same variety, picked the same time, stored in the same bowl on the counter. Eh, plants contain multitudes.
posted by desuetude at 1:54 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]


Eat a piece the size of your fingernail. If you die, don't eat any more.
posted by biscotti at 2:16 PM on October 9 [7 favorites]


Eat a piece the size of your fingernail. If you die, don't eat any more.

I know I've written these words hundreds of times on this site, but: you should be aiming for more than merely not dying from poisoned food. Wanting to avoid severe diarrhea (etc.) is a perfectly worthy goal.
posted by witchen at 2:23 PM on October 9 [3 favorites]


I should probably say, don’t process anything in a hot water bath if you don’t know how; look up the times and the correct amount of lemon juice to add before you do it. And definitely don’t follow the directions in the linked book for candied watermelon rind, that recipe looks really borderline to me compared to the USDA version. Be safe out there, don’t eat it.
posted by blnkfrnk at 5:26 PM on October 9


MetaFilter: aiming for more than merely not dying from poisoned food
posted by hippybear at 7:23 PM on October 9 [2 favorites]


I bought two packages of chicken thighs this week. Day 1 right away they smelled a bit pungent. Ate one. Was fine!

Day 3 so 48 hours post purchase, ate #2! Was pungent!

I probably shouldn't have done that but I'm fine. It didn't smell bad just... strong. DID I DO WRONG INTERNET
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 7:47 AM on October 10


Mouldy bread? Just toast it away
posted by mdoar at 12:09 PM on October 10


From cheesemaking: if the mould is black or pink, kill it with fire (or salt, if you're quick). Otherwise it's flavour.

I should point out that I don't think I've ever had food poisoning, so it's possible I'm being a little glib.
posted by pompomtom at 8:01 PM on October 10


"kill it with fire" is useful advice in most circumstances, really. In situations where killing is required.
posted by hippybear at 11:00 PM on October 10


Yeah, but if you kill it with salt, you can often save the rest of the cheese.
posted by pompomtom at 11:38 PM on October 10


Jeez, just cut off the moldy bits.

the rest of the chicken is fine

don't wash it tho

posted by aspersioncast at 1:48 PM on October 13


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