Have you ever rummaged through the fridge, looking for a snack, and realized half of the foods on the shelf were past their expiration date? Those “best if used by” dates seem pretty concrete. That means many people toss foods that are still in the kitchen past their expiration date. But you might be throwing out food that’s perfectly safe to eat. After all, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says some foods might be safe up to 18 months past their expiration date. Plus, expiration, sell by, and use by dates are more about food quality than food safety.
One of the most useful kitchen hacks is to know which foods are still safe to consume past their expiration date. It’s one of the best ways to reduce food waste and to save money on your grocery bills. Curious which foods are actually safe to eat in spite of their expiration labels? We’ve rounded up some of the most interesting examples of foods you don’t need to throw in the trash as soon as the expiration date passes.
It might sound surprising, but meat can be safely consumed after its expiration date. The trick? According to the Los Angeles Times, you can freeze fresh meat to extend the shelf life by up to 50%. If you buy a large package of chicken on sale, for instance, you can take out what you need for the next few days and then freeze the rest. (Just make sure you don’t freeze it all as a single block, or else you’ll have trouble separating individual pieces to thaw.)