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Food & Recipes

How Long Past the Expiration Date Does Food Last?


Food expiration dates can sometimes leave us scratching our heads. It seems like they should be self-explanatory on the surface. After all, they’re meant to ensure food safety and the highest quality and taste in everything we put in our mouths. But interestingly enough, that’s not the whole story. 

These “sell-by” or “use-by” dates are not always Gospel truth in terms of how long it’s truly safe to keep eating the goodies in your refrigerator and pantry. Some foods can last well past these so-called food expiration dates, especially if you store them in properly and safely. In particular, dry items like canned fruits and vegetables may be able to last quite a bit longer than whatever their use-by dates claim is the last day it’s good. Shockingly, so can dairy-based foods like butter.

If you’re anything like us, you’re probably wondering whether this is a good way to extend your grocery budget. You’ll be happy to know that it is! (As are we.) Chances are, you’ve probably asked yourself at least once or twice, how long does canned food last? The date printed on the can is often times super hard to find, and sometimes it’s blurred so badly, you can barely read it. And when you can make it out, it might still be misleading you. 

The expiration dates on canned foods can range anywhere from 1 to 4 years. But you can easily double that supposed shelf life by stowing the cans away in cool and dark space where they won’t be easily damaged or dented.

And that’s not all. Cereal, bacon, and ice cream can all last well past their expiration dates if you store them in a proper way. But sometimes it’s hard to tell what the proper way is. And sometimes it’s hard to know when to toss the food in the trash, especially when it looks OK to the naked eye. Not to mention it can be hard to remember what you need to keep in your fridge, and what you need to stash in the freezer. 

But don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. Check out this video explaining what to do about sell-by dates for certain foods. You might be surprised!


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