A ‘National Fridge Audit’ by Beko Home Appliances in UK showed that a staggering 30 million Brits admit to having out of date food in their fridge! The worst offender was old cheese (I see you cringing!) and jars of sauce.
Mouldy food in the fridge soon becomes evident, but what about the goods stored in your cupboards – when did you last look at the use-by dates on your tins, packets and spices? Never – right? So go and have a look – you might be in for a surprise!
HOW LONG CAN I KEEP SPICES?
Celebrity chef Atul Kochhar, who presented at the Cape Town 2011 Good Food & Wine Show, says you should only keep spices 3 to 6 months! If, like Kochhar, you have a Michelin star Indian restaurant, it’s reasonable to think you’d get through spices that fast, but most of us keep spices for years! Throw them out! They will have lost their potency and depth of flavour, although whole spices, like peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon sticks and nutmeg can stay fresher longer. Store all spices in a cool, dry place away from bright sunlight and moisture. Cape Grace Food & Beverage Marketing Executive Mandy Rutherford, says red spices like paprika and chilli powder are best stored in the fridge or freezer to retain their vibrant colours.
WHAT’S LURKING IN YOUR CUPBOARD?
On an Arctic expedition in the 1820’s, Sir William Edward Parry carried canned food and one of his unopened tins of meat became part of a museum display. Curiosity must have got the better of them and it was eventually opened over 100 years after the trek. The meat inside was still in pretty good condition, but did anyone actually taste it I wonder?
While products may still be edible after their ‘Best Before’ and ‘Use By’ dates, you are taking a risk by eating it. And if a can is dented, bulging, rusted or smelling, it could be contaminated, which will make you very sick or could prove deadly to an infant. Don’t risk it – check the dates on your cans and use it or lose it. If it’s obviously time to ‘lose it’ and the contents are leaking, wear gloves and place the offending item in heavy-duty plastic to dispose of it, because Botulism bacteria can be transferred through the skin. Then clean all surfaces that may have come into contact with the spoiled food with a bleach solution. Sounds radical, but food poisoning is dangerous.
WHAT TO DO WITH JARS AND CANS
Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater – clean and recycle cans and jars into seedling pots, storage jars, glass vases, pen holders, beads and crafts storage …… all sorts of uses. See some brilliant recycling ideas on ‘The Living Green Solution’ website and the ‘Live for Balance’ website challenges you to “Detoxify your pantry” with the goal that each time you open the pantry door, you feel light and energized by the foods you see.
Once you’ve done that, you can start on your cosmetics!