Has my food gone off?

You should be able to tell if certain food has truly gone off for the most part, it usual smells bad, has mould growing on it or has changed colour! When this occurs its a good idea not to eat it unless you plan on having food poisoning. Sometimes though it can be difficult to tell whether food has gone off and below is a guide as to how long you should keep certain food items, knowing that they are probably still safe to eat.

Warning: This is only a guide! If food is smelling bad already or has mould growing on it then use common sense and don’t eat it! Make sure you wrap your food up well after opening it so that nothing else can get in!

  • Opened Raw Meat: 1-2 days in Fridge.
  • Opened Bacon: 1 week in the Fridge.
  • Butter and Margarine: 1 month.
  • Cheese: Hard Cheese can last 2 or 3 weeks if properly wrapped. Soft cheese a week.
  • Eggs: 3 Weeks.
  • Green Vegetables, Carrots and Parsnips: Keep in the Fridge, once opened will last around a week.
  • Onions and Potatoes: Keep in a dark place, they can last up to 2 weeks.
  • Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Courgettes, Lettuce, Peppers: Up to a week.
  • Supermarket Salad Packs: Up to 2 days after opening.
  • Tins: Keep forever near enough, but in your cupboard.
  • Dried Pasta, Rice, Noodles: Keep for years in your cupboard.
  • Bread: Keeps for around a week before going stale (can still be used for toast unless mouldy)
  • Fruit: Varies, soft berries for around 2 or 3 days, Apples for around 1-1.5 weeks. If it looks bad don’t eat it!
  • Supermarket Sandwiches: Within a day or purchase.
  • Milk: 4-5 days after opening. Keep in fridge.

For anything unopened, trust the use by date, for the most part you can probably go a day or so past it, however don’t do this for raw meat (unless frozen) or dairy (unless frozen).

Planning your Meals

It’s a good idea when you first start to cook for yourself to plan ahead what you want to cook for the week. You can then buy exactly what you need from your local shop saving you having to have extra trips to get things you’d forgotten. You can often cook double the amount of food one day, and freeze it to eat the next or slightly later in the week. In particular if you cook mince sauce on one day, you can use it again later in the week to do Lasagna, Shepherd’s Pie, Spaghetti Bolognese or Chili Con Carney. If you cook a full chicken you can also use cold chicken left overs for sandwiches and cold salads as well. You can also cook double pasta one day and use it for lunch the next!

What If…

Here are a few what if questions which may be useful when first starting out.

  • What if I don’t have a garlic crusher? Use the fine section of the cheese grater.
  • What if I don’t have a pastry brush? Try using a a spoon.
  • What if I don’t have a whisk? Try using a couple forks together.
  • What if I don’t have a bean shredder? Cut your beans differently! They taste the same still.
  • How can I sweeten my bolognese without sugar? Use a grated carrot instead!
  • What if I run out of chips? Chop up some potatoes, cover them in a bit of oil and put them in the oven! Potato wedges are just as yummy!
  • What can I do with stale bread (that’s not mouldy) You can use it as breadcrumbs for homemade chicken nuggets, or toast, or feed it to the birds if you have a garden!
  • What if I’ve run out of salad dressing? Mix some balsamic vinegar and olive oil together and you’ve got one!

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