Track down that forgotten food on a kitchen safari
Why not take twenty minutes, this weekend, to journey to the far reaches of your food cupboards? On this brief kitchen safari, we can explore little visited shelves, marvel at what's on top of the cabinets, go beyond the usual suspects in the fridge, excavate the bottom drawer of the freezer and unearth all sorts of delicious gems!
What neglected ingredients lurk in your kitchen?
Excepting the most committed and organised zero wasters, we're betting that most of us, right now, without looking, can picture at least five neglected food stuffs lurking in our fridge, freezer and kitchen cupboards.
We're so busy and caught up with the usual routines that daily we pass these delicacies by without a second glance, leaving them to moulder until we eventually happen upon them during the upheaval of a kitchen refit or a house move and have to chuck them out. "What a waste", we think, as once edible items disappear into the bin.
The daft thing is, we need only take a few minutes to check through the stuff we have in stock and so avoid wasting our hard-earned by letting good food go out of date. Wouldn't it be great to use a few things up?
A crucial tool for kitchen safari travellers
Before you intrepid explorers head out on your kitchen safaris, there's one factor to consider that will make all the difference to the success of your mission: food safety. Stay safe out there folks!
Here's how to deal with...
>> Homemade foods and foods out of their original packaging
In the first place, you're probably a fair judge of what's still good to eat, though anything you even have a slight doubt about is worth looking up on the Still Tasty website. This will give you a definite answer on how long you can safely store almost any food item, cooked or uncooked. Here are a few examples...
>> A half-empty jar of homemade jam from the summer fete? Delicious!
>> Half a tin of baked beans, abandoned in the fridge for a fortnight? Sorry, gotta go!
>> Frozen fish curry leftovers from last month's takeaway treat? Get eating!
>> Cooked rice from during the week? Fine, so long as you refrigerated it within a couple of hours.
>> Foods in their original packaging
These are fairly straightforward to deal with – just look for the dates on the pack.
>> Past its USE BY date, food is considered unsafe to eat and needs to be chucked or composted. Recycle the packaging if you can.
>> Past its BEST BEFORE date, food might not be as tasty as it was when it was fresh but can be eaten at your discretion providing it's still within its USE BY date and was stored as instructed on the label. It goes without saying that you should discard anything that smells or appears rancid or mouldy, or that has had a brush with household pests.
>> Past its SELL BY date, food could be absolutely fine to eat so long as the item hasn't gone past its USE BY date and has been stored as per the instructions on the label. Sell By dates simply let shop employees when to take an item off the shelves, still, again, use your common sense and get rid of anything suspicious.
>> FROZEN ON OR BEFORE USE BY dates, check the length of time the item's been frozen using the search bar on the Still Tasty website to see if it's food safe to defrost and eat.