Can spoil pure sugar
Salt, sugar, white wine vinegar: these foods last forever
Who do you trust more when it comes to food - a stamp or your own senses? Many consumers are more guided by the best before date (best before date). If this is almost exceeded, the products often end up in the garbage. But that need not be. Food often has a shelf life far beyond the stated best-before date and some even for good. However, correct storage is crucial. These products last forever.
Does salt last forever?
One food that everyone in the house has is salt. But have you ever noticed that there is no best-before date on the packaging? It doesn't have to, because pure table salt is one of those products that never go bad and never lose their effect, says Doris Gräfe from the North Rhine-Westphalia consumer center (vznrw). "Iodized table salt is an exception and has a best-before date," adds the expert.
Moisture promotes bacteria
The fact that pure salt never goes off is because it does not contain any unbound water. However, many other foods, especially fresh ones, contain water, which means that bacteria can multiply quickly. The result: the food spoils. Salt also contains bacteria, but they cannot multiply without the unbound water and therefore die.
Store sugar airtight
Bacteria cannot survive on sugar either. If it is stored correctly, it can be used forever. Therefore, there is no best-before date on the bags. So that there are no unsightly lumps in sugar and salt, both should be stored airtight and protected from moisture, says Gräfe.
White wine vinegar lasts forever
Other survivors are vinegar and vinegar essence. According to vznrw, both products are not perishable in their pure form and therefore do not have a best-before date. If vinegar is kept tightly closed in a cool, dark place, it can still acidify food very well years later.
Watch out for flavored vinegar
But there are exceptions here too: These include, for example, flavored vinegars such as balsamic vinegar. These contain too little acid and can therefore spoil. If an opened bottle is stored for a long time, the aroma can be lost, and the smell and taste can also change. With these products, consumers should ensure that the bottle is properly closed again after use.
Honey can spoil
Many believe that honey can't go bad. However, that is not true. The sweet substance never goes off on its own, but foreign bodies - especially liquids - can make it sour. Therefore, honey should always be kept tightly closed and stored in a cool and dry place.
According to the German Beekeeping Association e. V. the bee sweetness can be kept for several years if properly stored. In addition, since August 1, 2004, honey has to have a best-before date on the packaging.
Oven trick helps with crystallized honey
Most of the time, however, the honey doesn't go bad, it just crystallizes out. If this happens, a simple trick will help: just put it in the warm oven. After two to three treatments, it becomes liquid and smooth again.
Preserves actually have an unlimited shelf life
The minimum shelf life of fully canned food is 18 months. "In theory, canned food has an almost unlimited shelf life, but the consistency, color and taste can change depending on the product," says Gräfe.
Consumers should activate their own senses when it comes to older canned foods: look at, smell and taste the contents. However, caution is advised with curved cans and glasses, because bacteria are already active here that can trigger fermentation processes.
Expired food does not have to go straight to the bin
The general rule is: Food can still be eaten a few days after the best-before date has expired. The information says that the food will retain its quality at least until this date, explains Gräfe.
Adhere to the use-by date
The situation is different with many fresh foods. On packaging with meat or fish there is often a date combined with the words "use by ...". This is the use-by date. According to the vznrw, no compromises should be made with these products. Meat in particular is very perishable. The goods could already be infected with salmonella. Anyone who still eats it is at risk of nausea and diarrhea.
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