Out of date spices - safe?

Discussion in 'Food and nutrition' started by Al, Jan 25, 2004.

  1. Al

    Al Guest

    I've found a whole bunch of Indian spices - never opened, but out of date in mid-2002. Is it just
    that some of the flavour/quality is lost or could it be dangerous to use them now?

    a
     
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  2. Peter Aitken

    Peter Aitken Guest

    "al" <{ask_me}@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I've found a whole bunch of Indian spices - never opened, but out of date
    in
    > mid-2002. Is it just that some of the flavour/quality is lost or could it be dangerous to use
    > them now?
    >
    >

    Safe for sure - but perhaps less flavorful as you note.

    --
    Peter Aitken

    Remove the crap from my email address before using.
     
  3. Sheryl Rosen

    Sheryl Rosen Guest

    in article [email protected], al at
    {ask_me}@blueyonder.co.uk wrote on 1/25/04 12:40 PM:

    > I've found a whole bunch of Indian spices - never opened, but out of date in mid-2002. Is it just
    > that some of the flavour/quality is lost or could it be dangerous to use them now?
    >
    >
    >
    > a
    >
    >

    Why risk it? Chances are, they'd be very weak in flavor anyway, you'd need a lot more to get the
    desired flavor.

    I keep hearing how Indian/Asian markets sell spices so cheap....why not just treat yourself and get
    some new ones?
     
  4. Sfc Girl

    Sfc Girl Guest

  5. Frogleg

    Frogleg Guest

    On Sun, 25 Jan 2004 17:40:11 -0000, "al" <{ask_me}@blueyonder.co.uk>
    wrote:

    >I've found a whole bunch of Indian spices - never opened, but out of date in mid-2002. Is it just
    >that some of the flavour/quality is lost or could it be dangerous to use them now?

    What's brought us to the state where *water* has a 'sell by' date? There is, AFAIK (I'm not a food
    chemist, nor do I play one on TV), any 'danger' in buying, using, eating food items past any date
    ("best by," "sell by," "use by") they may have posted. The oft-mentioned advice to toss "spices"
    after six months is ridiculous. Unless bugs infest them, many are certainly 'safe' to use for years.
    Many decline in potency and flavor over time, but if they smell good and don't have dead beetles
    and/or sawdust in the jar, are quite usable
     
  6. Mark Thorson

    Mark Thorson Guest

    Sheryl Rosen wrote:

    > Why risk it? Chances are, they'd be very weak in flavor anyway, you'd need a lot more to get the
    > desired flavor.

    Why waste them? Give them to a food pantry.
     
  7. Al

    Al Guest

    "Frogleg" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > What's brought us to the state where *water* has a 'sell by' date? There is, AFAIK (I'm not a food
    > chemist, nor do I play one on TV), any 'danger' in buying, using, eating food items past any date
    > ("best by," "sell by," "use by") they may have posted. The oft-mentioned advice to toss "spices"
    > after six months is ridiculous. Unless bugs infest them, many are certainly 'safe' to use for
    > years. Many decline in potency and flavor over time, but if they smell good and don't have dead
    > beetles and/or sawdust in the jar, are quite usable

    That was my thinking .. just didn't want to poison myself ;)

    a
     
  8. Sheryl Rosen

    Sheryl Rosen Guest

    in article [email protected], Mark Thorson at [email protected]
    wrote on 1/25/04 5:41 PM:

    > Sheryl Rosen wrote:
    >
    >> Why risk it? Chances are, they'd be very weak in flavor anyway, you'd need a lot more to get the
    >> desired flavor.
    >
    > Why waste them? Give them to a food pantry.
    >
    >
    >

    Oh, sure, give the poor people who can't buy their own food your cast-off "it's too old for me to
    eat it, but those poor people, they'll eat anything" food.

    Got news for you. I've volunteered at the local food bank. While most of what is donated is good,
    wholesome food, a lot of it is old crap that should have been thrown in the garbage 6 months before
    it was donated to the food bank.

    If its quality is suspect, and you wouldn't eat it yourself, don't give it to the food bank.
     
  9. Zxcvbob

    Zxcvbob Guest

    al wrote:

    > "Frogleg" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >
    >>What's brought us to the state where *water* has a 'sell by' date? There is, AFAIK (I'm not a food
    >>chemist, nor do I play one on TV), any 'danger' in buying, using, eating food items past any date
    >>("best by," "sell by," "use by") they may have posted. The oft-mentioned advice to toss "spices"
    >>after six months is ridiculous. Unless bugs infest them, many are certainly 'safe' to use for
    >>years. Many decline in potency and flavor over time, but if they smell good and don't have dead
    >>beetles and/or sawdust in the jar, are quite usable
    >
    >
    > That was my thinking .. just didn't want to poison myself ;)
    >
    >
    > a
    >

    I have a huge can of mustard powder that I bought 30 years ago. I started to throw it out a few
    months ago, but first I mixed some with a little water and let it rest a few minutes, then added a
    pinch of salt and a little vinegar. It still tasted like mustard; nice and sharp. I put the can back
    in the pantry where it belongs. It'll probably be used up in another 10 years...

    Best regards, Bob
     
  10. Zxcvbob

    Zxcvbob Guest

    Sheryl Rosen wrote:

    > in article [email protected], Mark Thorson at [email protected] wrote on 1/25/04 5:41 PM:
    >
    >
    >>Sheryl Rosen wrote:
    >>
    >>
    >>>Why risk it? Chances are, they'd be very weak in flavor anyway, you'd need a lot more to get the
    >>>desired flavor.
    >>
    >>Why waste them? Give them to a food pantry.
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >
    >
    > Oh, sure, give the poor people who can't buy their own food your cast-off "it's too old for me to
    > eat it, but those poor people, they'll eat anything" food.
    >
    > Got news for you. I've volunteered at the local food bank. While most of what is donated is good,
    > wholesome food, a lot of it is old crap that should have been thrown in the garbage 6 months
    > before it was donated to the food bank.
    >
    > If its quality is suspect, and you wouldn't eat it yourself, don't give it to the food bank.
    >

    You hooked another one, Mark. I think this new bait is a winner. ;-) It has worked in 2
    different threads.

    Best regards, Bob

    P.S. I *always* keep cans of beets, spinach, and lima beans on hand, just in case the Boy Scouts or
    postman or somesuch comes around collecting for a food drive. "Be prepared", that's what I
    always say.
     
  11. Arri London

    Arri London Guest

    al wrote:
    >
    > I've found a whole bunch of Indian spices - never opened, but out of date in mid-2002. Is it just
    > that some of the flavour/quality is lost or could it be dangerous to use them now?
    >
    > a

    Not dangerous, but won't really taste very good. They are so cheap in any Asian shop. Just get new
    ones and put the old ones on the compost pile.
     
  12. Mark Thorson

    Mark Thorson Guest

    zxcvbob wrote:

    > P.S. I *always* keep cans of beets, spinach, and lima beans on hand, just in case the Boy Scouts
    > or postman or somesuch comes around collecting for a food drive. "Be prepared", that's what
    > I always say.

    Hominy? Did you say *HOMINY*? *EVERYBODY* loves hominy!
     
  13. Frogleg

    Frogleg Guest

    On Sun, 25 Jan 2004 18:41:34 -0600, zxcvbob <[email protected]>
    wrote:

    >I have a huge can of mustard powder that I bought 30 years ago. I started to throw it out a few
    >months ago, but first I mixed some with a little water and let it rest a few minutes, then added a
    >pinch of salt and a little vinegar. It still tasted like mustard; nice and sharp. I put the can
    >back in the pantry where it belongs. It'll probably be used up in another 10 years...

    My 'everlasting' is a box of cloves. I know they're at least 27 yrs old, but every time I start
    to throw them out, I open the box and they smell just as clove-y as I remember, so go back on
    the shelf.
     
  14. Paulagarlic

    Paulagarlic Guest

    "Frogleg" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > On Sun, 25 Jan 2004 18:41:34 -0600, zxcvbob <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > >I have a huge can of mustard powder that I bought 30 years ago. I
    started
    > >to throw it out a few months ago, but first I mixed some with a little water and let it rest a
    > >few minutes, then added a pinch of salt and a little vinegar. It still tasted like mustard; nice
    > >and sharp. I put the can back in the pantry where it belongs. It'll probably be used up in
    > >another 10 years...
    >
    > My 'everlasting' is a box of cloves. I know they're at least 27 yrs old, but every time I start
    > to throw them out, I open the box and they smell just as clove-y as I remember, so go back on
    > the shelf.

    LOL. I have a few things like that in the spice drawer. Some of those little Ann Page spices tins
    that my aunt bought before I was born (I'm newly thirty) and/or when I was toddler. Some allspice,
    cloves, ginger and white pepper. I keep them for the heck or it, but they actually smell pretty
    strong after all this time.

    Paula
     
  15. J.J.

    J.J. Guest

    Hark! I heard "Peter Aitken" <[email protected]> say:
    > "al" <{ask_me}@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message news:[email protected]
    > binary.blueyonder.co.uk...

    > > I've found a whole bunch of Indian spices - never opened, but out of date in mid-2002. Is it
    > > just that some of the flavour/quality is lost or could it be dangerous to use them now?

    > Safe for sure - but perhaps less flavorful as you note.

    Heh, I finally threw out some oregano that I bought in 1988 -- I remember the date because I was
    living in PA at the time...

    --
    j.j. ~ mom, gamer, novice cook ~ ..fish heads, fish heads, eat them up, yum!
     
  16. Maxine In Ri

    Maxine In Ri Guest

    Sheryl Rosen wrote:
    >
    > in article [email protected], Mark Thorson at [email protected] wrote on 1/25/04 5:41 PM:
    >
    > > Sheryl Rosen wrote:
    > >
    > >> Why risk it? Chances are, they'd be very weak in flavor anyway, you'd need a lot more to get
    > >> the desired flavor.
    > >
    > > Why waste them? Give them to a food pantry.
    > >
    > >
    > >
    >
    > Oh, sure, give the poor people who can't buy their own food your cast-off "it's too old for me to
    > eat it, but those poor people, they'll eat anything" food.
    >
    > Got news for you. I've volunteered at the local food bank. While most of what is donated is good,
    > wholesome food, a lot of it is old crap that should have been thrown in the garbage 6 months
    > before it was donated to the food bank.
    >
    > If its quality is suspect, and you wouldn't eat it yourself, don't give it to the food bank.

    And what you forgot to mention, Sheryl, is that the food bank throws out past-dated foods. If it
    isn't fresh, it isn't legal....

    maxine in ri
     
  17. Lena B Katz

    Lena B Katz Guest

    On Mon, 26 Jan 2004, J.J. wrote:

    > Hark! I heard "Peter Aitken" <[email protected]> say:
    > > "al" <{ask_me}@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message news:[email protected]
    > > binary.blueyonder.co.uk...
    >
    > > > I've found a whole bunch of Indian spices - never opened, but out of date in mid-2002. Is it
    > > > just that some of the flavour/quality is lost or could it be dangerous to use them now?
    >
    > > Safe for sure - but perhaps less flavorful as you note.
    >
    > Heh, I finally threw out some oregano that I bought in 1988 -- I remember the date because I was
    > living in PA at the time...

    I had a tin of chili powder from my mum last year. I used it, and it was... not very flavorful. Last
    time they used tins like that for chili powder was in the '70's.

    old spice safe, unless it molded.

    lena
     
  18. Frogleg

    Frogleg Guest

    On Mon, 26 Jan 2004 17:46:44 GMT, "Darryl L. Pierce"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >SFC Girl wrote:
    >
    >> Throw them out and get new ones. Here is a great article with guidelines for keeping dried spices
    >> http://www.simplyfoodchicago.com/Spice%20Storage%20Tips.htm
    >
    >I'm curious. What facts are those figures based on?

    Probably experience and common sense. The guidelines are far from the "throw everything out every 6
    months" that's often advised. It also mentions that spices don't "go bad," but do lose flavor over
    time. The "don't freeze" caveat is new to me, but is uses the same reason Alton Brown does for not
    freezing coffee beans.
     
  19. Katra

    Katra Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    Frogleg <[email protected]> wrote:

    > On Mon, 26 Jan 2004 17:46:44 GMT, "Darryl L. Pierce" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > >SFC Girl wrote:
    > >
    > >> Throw them out and get new ones. Here is a great article with guidelines for keeping dried
    > >> spices http://www.simplyfoodchicago.com/Spice%20Storage%20Tips.htm
    > >
    > >I'm curious. What facts are those figures based on?
    >
    > Probably experience and common sense. The guidelines are far from the "throw everything out every
    > 6 months" that's often advised. It also mentions that spices don't "go bad," but do lose flavor
    > over time. The "don't freeze" caveat is new to me, but is uses the same reason Alton Brown does
    > for not freezing coffee beans.

    ???what is wrong with freezing coffee??? My parents taught me to do that, and it's worked very well.
    I DO freeze them inside of a lightning jar, so maybe that is why it works so well?

    --
    >,,<Cat's Haven Hobby Farm>,,<[email protected]>,,<
    http://cgi6.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewSellersOtherItems&include=0&userid=katra
     
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