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 Post subject: How long will you expire?
PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 10:38 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:03 am
Posts: 5099
Location: Portland, OR
So the other day I'm looking for a bottle of oyster sauce in the pantry. And I find one -- Maekrua, a good Thai brand -- but it's marked "best by 6.11.2005. mfr 6.11.2003".

"Hmmmm. Oyster sauce," I think. "Ten years old. Hmmmm. If it was hoisin sauce, maybe. Or hot sauce. But oyster sauce? Probably bad news." And I sadly trash it.

Mind you, I opened the second bottle I had, which was "best by 11.10.2010". But hey, that's just two years. Well, two and a half.

Anyway, nobody got sick.

So, how expired are you willing to eat canned and bottled stuff?

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 Post subject: Re: How long will you expire?
PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 11:21 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 7:58 pm
Posts: 1139
Oyster sauce, fish sauce, kecap manis, hoisin, bean sauce, chili paste w/garlic and other hot sauces, and fermented black beans (and probably some others I can't think of that are shoved in the back) I keep refrigerated, as I have found them to get off flavors at room temp., even for just 6 or 8 months. Not going to kill you, but they definitely need to be refrigerated, unless you use them quickly. In the fridge, oyster sauce may be good after ten years! Soy sauces (except mushroom soy - eventually gets a musty taste at room temp), gold mountain sauce, vinegars, and rice wine I keep at room temp. Things like bean paste and hoisin I transfer to smaller jars, once about half is used, as they sort of dry out in the large jars, even well sealed. And fish sauce (and others, I'm sure), even unopened, gets darker, and gets an off flavor, which is why I only buy what I need, and don't stock up too much.

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 Post subject: Re: How long will you expire?
PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 2:17 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2011 8:05 pm
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Location: Chico, CA
I smell and taste. I view best by as suggestions, not rules so I tend to ignore it for non perishables. I do try to rotate my inventory and store as directed, e.g. cool, dry, out of light and heat, etc. I do not refrigerate soy sauces, but then I don't buy anything bigger than 8 oz. and go through several bottles a year of different kinds. For other Asia sauces, I buy the smallest I can find, since I tend to use them is spurts and bigger does not save me money. I do keep oyster in the fridge. Basically what Dave said. :D

Speaking about old, tonight I found some expired TJ Toasted Coconut Thin cookies and condensed milk cans. So I made my microwave 6 layer bars using the cookies instead of graham crackers, some walnuts that have been in the freezer for 2 years (normally I use pecans), some older than use by flaked coconut (had been stored in fridge) and the old condensed milk. Cookies turned out fantastic according to DH. The texture is good, may use the TJ ones again, but they are too sweet for me (probably the condensed milk, organic TJs, full fat and tasted sweeter than my usual brand). I will go back to using low fat, non-organic kind (Eagle or Nestle).

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 Post subject: Re: How long will you expire?
PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 6:24 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 9:52 am
Posts: 1140
Location: Kansas City
Our refrigerator quit working last Sunday, came on again some time Monday, then went off again. Repairman came Wednesday and installed a new thermostat so we're back in business.

But.... I looked up a site on the internet and it said fish sauce and oyster sauce weren't safe unless refrigerated so I pitched them. Wish I'd seen this post earlier! Plus I pitched about 10 lbs of meat that had completely thawed and felt warmish so Lord knows how long this had been turning off and on! So far this year we've replaced washer & dryer and range. I felt lucky that this could be repaired to cheaply.

fitie


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 Post subject: Re: How long will you expire?
PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 10:46 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 7:18 pm
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I was making something the other day and happened to glance at the best by date on the Dijon mustard...it was 2011. I shrugged and used it. I just opened it; it sat in my pantry the entire time. Seems fine; I store it in the fridge once opened.

I'm pretty cavalier about best by dates since I think most are quite artificial constructs. Sugar has a best by date - really?! (Not that I ever even come close to that date with sugar... :) )

I use the sniff test for most everything, unless I know it's been badly stored, or unless the can in bulging, etc. I've had food poisoning three times in my life, but all three times were from restaurants, not from my own food (at least not yet).

My husband and I knew an elderly woman (who lived to be 106!) who found a jar of home canned peaches in her pantry that were probably 10+ years old. They had turned almost black, but she didn't like to waste, so she ate them. She was about 99 when she did that...I would have drawn the line at black peaches, but go grandma!


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 Post subject: Re: How long will you expire?
PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 10:02 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:03 am
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Location: Portland, OR
Dave,

I don't refrigerate fish sauce, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, or kecap manis, but then my apartment is consistently below 70F, usually around 64F. I do refrigerate oyster sauce (because I'm worried about the oyster/salt ratio, and because it can take me more than a year to use up a bottle), plum sauce, brown soybean sauce, and miso (because these tend to go bad at room temp).

Fitzie,

See, you shoud have asked here. What were you thinking?

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 Post subject: Re: How long will you expire?
PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 10:28 pm 
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Fuzzy,

I learned early on that even unopened fish sauce gets an off flavor at room temp., and I store things like that in my basement, which is fairly cool. In fact, I think this might be why many brands that I tried in the beginning, despite being recommended by well known CB authors and chefs, were positively disgusting! It is probably due to shipping, and most brands get to the west coast fast from Thailand, but to get out here, maybe some take a longer route, at higher temps, lowering the quality.

And something that does spoil, by any means, due to the salt, is fermented black beans. Yet, I learned that these also got an overly powerful flavor sitting a year at room temp., so I can't imagine what several years (how long it takes me to use an 8 oz bag) at room temp would do to them. And another thing that could not possibly go bad is shrimp paste, yet, again, the good Thai shrimp paste does get a stronger, off flavor, when kept at room temp, so I keep that in the fridge, as well. Plus I grill a large (not really large, but 4 tb or so) batch at a time, and keep that in the fridge, so it is available when I need it.

You mentioned a couple other things I keep on the fridge - I knew there was more! LOL

BTW, Fitzie, you don't have to worry about the safety of fish sauce that's unrefrigerated, since there is so much salt in it! But it does lose quality.

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 Post subject: Re: How long will you expire?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 7:56 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2011 6:33 pm
Posts: 954
Location: Northern California
Was it here that someone mentioned stilltasty.com? They seem to focus on just this issue. (fwiw)


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