This is a post I have been meaning to write but have been prompted twice this week. When I shared my mega bargains Tesco haul one of my daughters friends was horrified that we would eat out of date food fearing she would die of food poising! Then yesterday Cass asked where to draw the line at being frugal. Both the comment and the post got me thinking especially when I consider that the UK throws away between 7 million tonnes of food and drink and 15 million tonnes each year.
Cass asked whether we would eat food we don’t even like. No – simply no, life is too short for that and I don’t do frugal to go without. I do it to live better, spend wisely and enjoy getting something for less. Therefore I would not eat something I don’t like – although I do make the children (carrots anyone!!)
However we do eat food out of date and I often wonder who makes the decision when food is past it’s date. I certainly understand that food can taste nicer the fresher it is salad and fruit especially and berries are a great example but there are plenty of ways to use those berries that are past their freshness. Once they are thrown into blender and turned into a smoothie or popped into a lolly mold you are none the wiser just how fresh they were. However I couldn’t use them if they had slime and bacteria obviously growing on them.
Cupboard foods like tinned tomatoes and angel delight I would happily use months past their dates. Spices too as they may lose a little of their intensity but can’t ‘go off’. I think these shelf life dates are a manufacturers and retail stores golden ticket. They play on our insecurities that encourage us to spend more and live in a world that is too fast moving. Our grandparents probably had plenty of food like this in their pantries and were fine.
Meat and fish – yes I happily eat those a few days past sell by dates and best before dates. I just make sure they are well cooked. I worry more about BBQ food making my family ill than chicken three days past its date. However I do try to freeze meals that I might have grabbed at a bargain like price like a fish pie.
What the dates mean:
Have you considered that fruit and veg sold loosely does not have any dates on? This is because it is about personal taste and a the fruit and veg won’t harm you whenever you eat it.
BBE or Best before dates are for the shopkeepers really. They advise when a food may not be at it’s best and therefore should not be sold.
Use by – this is the more important date and we are told food could cause harm if eaten after this date.
It is also that time of year again that the MAD Blog awards are looking for nominations. I would love to be nominated in Schooldays for Emma and 3 and in Thrifty with this blog Mums savvy savings you can vote using this link.