I admit that I’m somewhat of a hoarder when it comes to food. No shame in this, only the fact that I’m on round-the-clock freezer and fridge cleaning duty. Yeah, I know it’s kind of a bummer to take a garbage bag and throw away that awfully good food just because you consider your family’s needs nor the fridge’s capacity (true story).
Anyway, after cleaning the fridge this morning, a thought stroke me: what if there’s some magical way of telling if the food’s safe to eat or not? Well, that would spare the trouble of having to clean the damned thing each week, not to mention the fact that I would probably save a lot of money.
As a prepper, you probably know by now that food past its prime is unsafe to eat, no matter how SHTF-ish the situation gets. This is the reason I’ve spent the rest of my day searching for a way to tell apart rotten from safe to eat food. Yes, I needed to ask Google for directions because I’m really bad at colors and, because of this damned cold, my sense of smell is close to nonexistence.
So, before you grab your garbage back to summer-clean your fridge, freezer or both, you may want to take a closer look at my kick-ass list on how to figure out if your food’s still good or packing a six-shooter.
- Soggy edges
Could never tell for sure how off my veggies were. I always assumed that as long as they don’t give off a funky smell, they’re good for eating. Dead wrong! Apparently, soggy edges, especially in green-leafed veggies like lettuce, kale, spinach, watercress or cabbage is, in fact, the first sign of spoilage.
Yes, I know that it’s a no-brainer, but as I discovered, people usually disregard this part, telling themselves that the veggie’s safe to eat if you cut around the soggy part. So, if you see any sogginess, brown patches or if the vegetable sort of deflates, it means that it has gone bad and, therefore must be thrown in the trash can.
Of course, nothing spells “spoilage” better than an unnatural color. However, in some cases (red bell pepper) it’s hard to tell if that’s part of the vegetable’s life cycle or a tell-tale sign of spoilage. The best way to see how fresh your veggie is would be to make a small nick on the green part. Pull it aside. If it’s green on the inside, it means it’s safe to safe. On the other hand, if it has a brownish tint to it, do yourself a favor and throw it in the trash.
While you’re cleaning your fridge and freeze, you may want to take a closer look at the bread and any other pastry you may be hoarding. See, no matter how well you keep your bread, there’s always that chance of mold growing on it. If you see any, throw it away as fast as you.
Heard a doozie some time ago that moldy bread may be safe to eat, at least for a couple of days, if you remove the moldy part and stick the loaf in the oven for 10 minutes. That’s a big no-no, and I would advise you to throw away the bread as well as the other stuff it came in contact with.
Veggies such as green beans have a limp-type of aspect after being kept in the fridge for too long. If you see any of that, it means that the legume is way past its prime, meaning that it has lost all nutritional value and could severely compromise your health if consumed. Yes, I know that most of you are in the habit of quick-freezing green beans and other stalky veggies.
Still, the freezer’s not always the best option for long-term food storage. Sure, it can extend the shelf-life by a couple of weeks or even months but, eventually, all of it will go bad. In case of veggies look for paleness and a thick layer of ice. As for meat, ice plus a violet tint equals garbage bag.
- Foul smell
The nose always knows! If you pick off any strange odor coming from your food, then it’s more than safe to assume that it really has gone bad. Meat will give off a rotten smell, while veggies will smell just like forest fungi. The same smell can emanate from eggs and eggplants. Keep in mind that eating rotten stuff can result in food poisoning or worse.
- To float or not to float?
In some cases, it’s quite difficult to figure out if they’re spoiled or not. Take eggs for instance. If there’s no expiration label on them, it’s nearly impossible to tell the difference between a fresh and an old one. Luckily there’s a test you can use to figure out if the eggs are safe to eat or not. Fill a bowl with cold water and place all your eggs inside. If they went under and lay flat on their sides, it means that they’re fresh. If not, then you should consider going to the store to buy a new carton.
- Discoloration in meat
There’s a bit of an argument on this one. While some say that meat discoloration is solely the result of poor packaging and exposure to air and, therefore safe to it, others argue that meat turned grey or brown should be tossed in the trash. Can’t say for sure which side is right, but my humble opinion, it’s not a good idea to begin experimenting on food. Best to throw away anything that has an unusual color.
That’s it for my short and sweet guide on how to tell if the food’s still edible or not. As always, if you feel that’s, I’ve missed something crucial, do hit the comments section and speak your mind.