Glastonbury is alive with festival goers this weekend. A friend – acquaintance maybe? – of ours is there, sharing his videos of drugs and rock’n’roll…it all looks like quite good fun really. Yet I have absolutely no desire to trudge through mud and miles of fields to stand around getting sprayed with wee from the bottles people throw on stage. Maybe I am just past it?!
Which leads me nicely – or cheesily – into a ‘discussion’ about food that is past it!
My Mum is terrible for keeping food past any of the listed dates on them…she was horrified when my brother in law – who lived with her at the time – threw out a big tub of Chinese food flavouring that was three years past its date…not as horrified as he was to realise that he had been eating the stuff! I have used bread which is a bit past it, and cut the corner off a bit of cheese that was going green…I think we have all done that, no?!
There are obviously some things – such a fish and meat – that I would be very wary of eating when past their best, but given rising food costs and a focus on reducing waste, I thought that it would be interesting to see what the ‘experts’ say. According to the NHS site I looked at, every year in the UK we throw away 7.2m tonnes of food and drink, most of which could have been eaten. This figure astounds me – not because I wish to eat it all, but because I think about the dent that this makes in our pockets.
If we import some of this food then, to a certain extent, we are taking it away from countries that potentially need it for the people who live there. I remember watching a documentary about food import and export and it was quite shocking that people in many of the countries we buy our food from are suffering from malnutrition. There is of course the argument that we pay well for this food which in turn puts money in their pockets…but how much of that money do those in need get access to, and how ethical are some of our big supermarkets when pushing their buying prices down?
Anyway, I digress…sell by, use by, best before…blah, blah, blah – what does it all mean?
You will see “use by” dates on food that goes off quickly – stuff like salad, meat, fish etc. ‘Use by’ means that the item must be eaten by the date stated…regardless of whether it looks okay or smells okay. If you ignore the use by date then you could be putting your health at risk. The use by date can actually be reduced if you don’t store the food as instructed…meaning you could risk food poisoning. As well as the use by date, take notice of instructions such as ‘eat within 2 days of opening’…this can be due to the fact that once exposed to air, the food can spoil quicker. Regardless of how long it can be kept for once opened, you still need to abide by the use by date, or else face the consequences!
A wide range of food will have a ‘best before’ date – tinned beans, dried fruit, frozen peas. This date focuses on quality rather than safety, so even if the date has passed it doesn’t mean that the food is harmful…it just might lose flavour. As with the use by dates, those with best before dates need to be stored as instructed.
This is all pretty basic stuff though, and fairly obvious. What I want to know is will the veggie soup that I make from ‘past their best’ veggies make my stomach rumble in a not so good way?! I found a list of foods that can be kept and safely eaten past their date…I am not so sure about some…see what you think!
1 – Mayonnaise
Apparently, if stored as per the instructions, this can be eaten safely for up to four months after the date…hmmm…I don’t know if I trust that! It’s made from eggs after all – but apparently this is true. I have to admit that I rarely check the dates on stuff like this unless I open the lid and find mould!
2 – Cheese
Cheese of the hard variety – such as cheddar – is apparently safe for upto four weeks after the date, even if it has been opened…so long it is stored correctly. I can deal with this as I have cut the odd mouldy corner off cheese before…and given it to my other half – and he’s still here!
3 – Crisps
4 – Beef
As long as it is thoroughly cooked, the date on this can be stretched for upto five days. My Mum was a butcher in her younger days and testifies that darker beef tastes better…so it’s okay as far as Mummy WLB is concerned.
5 – Pork
This one I am not so sure about…apparently, again as long as it is cooked thoroughly, pork is okay for upto three days after the date…I just wouldn’t tempt fate with pork I don’t think.
6 – Butter
This can be stored in the freezer and chunks thawed as and when you need them. This means butter can be kept for months past the date. I am not a butter consumer, but can’t really see an issue with this…in fact I have been in pubs where their little pats of butter have been semi-frozen when they’ve been served…so the ‘trade’ do it!
7 – Cereal
8 – Chicken
Not fresh, but frozen! Fresh stuff needs eating pretty much according to the dates on it, but it can be frozen safely for up to a year apparently.
9 – Soft drinks
The diet stuff will last upto four months longer than the date, but the regular full-sugar stuff will last upto nine months. The difference in duration is due to the artificial sweeteners breaking down…whereas the sugar doesn’t…according to my sources!
10 – Mustard
This one is good news for my Mum too, as she always has a crusty bottle of the American stuff in the fridge…it can last for upto a year past the shelf life!
Given that I shop daily now, I suppose that I should just carry on as usual. I do however find myself throwing bits and pieces out – leftover salad and stuff – but I reckon that I could compost most of my waste. Anyway, enough ramblings about sell by and use by…let’s look at the usuals…
I need some energy, or just a good sleep, which is what I am hoping for this evening! When the alarm went off this morning I was in a bit of a strop and did not greet my treadmill with enthusiasm. Once I got started though it was all good-ish! I then worked on the project for a while, finished the exercise and headed off to see the horses. An old friend of ours was walking down the road in the village where we keep the horses, so I stopped for a chat. It turns out that she might know someone who has some winter grazing which could solve my problems…we don’t have enough land and in winter it costs a fortune each month in food and hay and straw…probably about £700 on top of the £360 we pay for the land we have. This grazing is within walking distance – a bit of a stretch for me though! – so it could be ideal as we could keep our current stables to use if the weather gets really bad, yet allow our horses to have a huge field to mooch around in winter. I am hoping to get to see this chap over the weekend and give him a deposit to secure it. After this all happened, we popped to Asda, then headed home for lunch and then I briefly caught up with my sister and the kids. Another quiet night looms…we attempted a Sky box fix, or substitute with a Freeview thing, but need a little widget which means waiting until tomorrow. So it’s more reading for me tonight!
Breakfast: Two Alpen light bars (1 x HEB) and a banana.
My food was good today. Lunch was another soup from Slimming World and their Little Book of Soups – delicious it was too…even though I replaced the potato with celery! It was a tin of chickpeas and a tin of tomatoes, mixed with red onion and spring onion, red (kind of orange actually!) pepper, celery, harissa paste, garlic, and a herb stock pot with a bit of water added. Dinner was left over veggies from last night with a pile of syn free chips – I was really hungry and needed to prevent late night tantrums so decided to have more chips. And yes, I had loads of cheese…two Healthy Extras worth and some syns!
Exercise: 4 x 15 minute treadmill session, 1 x 15 minute BodyPump and boxing session.
Another good exercise day…hard work, but good. The Swiss Ball really makes the weights and boxing feel harder. I could hardly lift my poor old arms afterwards!
Thanks for reading guys, and have a wonderful weekend.
Weight Loss Bitch xxx