Culinary Question

Sukerkin

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Whilst I am fairly hip-to-the-beat for a man of my generation, I have, with some justification being taunted as "1950's man" for some of the holes in my domestic skills and education. I can cook, sew, wash and clean but some of those categories have to have an honest "after a fashion" tagged on to them :eek:.

Hence, the question I have to which I am sure the answer is obvious to everyone but me :blush:.

As those who are here on the site frequently may know, my life has been struck by the most awful of tragedies and that has lead me to venture into areas of the house where I have not been for many years, the area in focus at the moment being the pantry.

In there there is a trove of spices and curry sauces (Indian and Thai), some of which have Best Before dates that are from a couple of years ago. Note that these are not Use By's but I am wondering if, after a certain cut-off point, I am just asking for trouble if I make use of some of these?
 

granfire

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Spices go stale. They lose much of their punch when they are ground up and stored for a while.
Aficionados suggest to not keep anything past 6 month.

I guess my taste buds are not as refined though. Unless it is really obvious that the spice was in the provision pack for Wellington's troops, you can still use them.
But after two years, it's safe to assume you didn't like them that much to begin with.

Toss.

:)

The sauces, toss without second thought!
 

jks9199

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Probably not, though I'd have to see the labels. Spices age, and lose intensity over time, meaning the flavors will be less intense. Other prepared foods like you seem to be talking about may lose some quality over time, like a freezer burned steak. They're still edible, but may not taste quite as good.

I don't know how it is in your country, but here in the US, many of the manufacturers put contact info on the box, and you might be able to get info from them.
 
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Sukerkin

Sukerkin

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I see :nods:. I appreciate the advice, my friends but I have to say that given that, in essence, the household has lost 40% of it's income with my wife passing away, I am loathe to waste anything.

If it is the case that things like unopened jar of Madras curry paste is still safe to use even tho' well past it's Best Before then I don't mind if it is just that it is not quite as good as it once was. If it's going to make me ill, that is another matter for there is no gain in being economical under such circumstances.
 

granfire

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chili paste is probably safe. as long as the jar is still sealed. best before dates are often void of any reason.

As long as the jars are not bulging or exploding you should be fine. :)

if you had it opened - again, depending on the sauces - it' probably safer to just throw it out.
 

Gemini

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If it isn't vinegar, throw it out. It's not all that expensive to replace if you are really so inclined.
 

Carol

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I ran in to some unpleasantness more than once when I was younger by eating older and out of date foods. If it was just a month or so out of date, I wouldn't have an issue...but a couple of years out of date would be a concern, especially where the acidic spices of Indian and Thai foods can mask the acids of stuff that shouldn't be there.
 

DennisBreene

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As with any seasoning, taste the sauce occasionally and adjust the flavor as needed. This should help mitigate any loss in potency from age. Would that the rest of aging were so simple. "Bon Appetite"
 

Gnarlie

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I spend A LOT of time cooking with spices.

Old powdered spices have a distinctly cardboardy and gritty sawdust taste and effect when used in curries. You would notice immediately.

Spice pastes are generally OK past their dates, except where some of the content is pulses e.g. lentil or chick pea, which is quite common in some brands. Throw those away.

Slightly stale powdered spices can be revived a little by lightly frying in a few tablespoons of oil over a medium heat for a minute or two, but don't let them burn or they will go bitter.

Throw away anything with coconut in it from the Thai selection too - it goes mouldy.

Good food contributes greatly to your quality of life, so I'd renew and save the pennies somewhere else. If you buy in an asian supermarket, it's dirt cheap anyway, and normally better quality than branded stuff. You deserve to be happy.
 

harlan

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Ditto to the above. 'When in doubt, throw it out.' I also like to say, 'If it's grey, throw it away.' And, 'If it doesn't pass the nose, it goes.' LOL!

But more fundamentally, despite the money, probably best for a 'fresh start' in that area. Toss everything that you don't use on a weekly basis, scrub and maybe paint the larder a new color, and try a new cookbook.
 

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