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Thread: Sell/use by dates

  1. #1
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso Dorsetmike's Avatar
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    Sell/use by dates

    I seem to recall that "curing" bacon/ham, pickling vegetables and making jam were intended to preserve the food so treated, so why now do so many of these items need comparatively short sell/use by dates, and just how much accuracy is there in these dates and the use within x days of opening?

    Similar with tinned foods, who and what determine usable periods? Have canning methods changed for the worse over the years?

    In my usual grumpy old fart mode I often wonder if it is more a case of "convince the consumer to chuck it away and buy some more", nowadays re-inforced by the "claim damages" culture.

    I remember my mother spooning the occasional bit of mould off the top of a pot of home made jam (she made dozens of pounds each year) and we ate the rest of it with no adverse consequences, similar with cheese, take a slice off all round if/when mould appeared. The looks and smell were the main indicators of not usable.

    Catering for one it's not easy sometimes to consume a tin or jar of something within the quoted period so it gets wasted, or you buy the smaller sizes and pay nearly as much, e,g a small tin for 35 and a tin twice the size for 40.
    Cheers MIKE.

    How many roads must a man walk down ... ... before he admits he's lost?

  2. #2
    Duckmeister teddy's Avatar
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    Mike
    I am not sure what triggered this business off. An awful lot of food does not spoil, and as you state things like jam, cheese etc are perfectly usable with a bit of trimming. Cake can usually be eaten stale with no ill effects and I for one have in the past dampened stale bread and popped it in the oven to rejuvenate it. Chicken of course is one thing you can not take chances with but most foods do not need to be thrown away because of the use by date. One thing may be relevant and that is the content of the food. My family also made jam and I am sure it was a very diferent product from the stuff we buy nowadays. Pork, ham and chicken seems to be full of water not to mention the stuff the animals are fed on and chemicals they are injected with. The only fertilizer any of the vegitables in or garden saw was seaweed and even the water it came out of was purer. We notice when we are abroad, mainly France or Spain, and always small villages or towns, how much better the food looks and tastes. I had the most delicious steak I have tasted in a long time cooked outdoors at a shabby little roadside bar in France. It was a large meal with drinks and coffoe and cost approximately £11.00. We always eat where the locals eat and shop where they shop and that way we know will will get good food. They refuse, unlike us, to eat rubbish, even if they do not mind exporting it. We have got used to buying and eating crap in this country and it will be very hard to re-educate people, especially as so many of them seem to live on fast food. The answer? I don't know. Farm shops can be a good source but farmers fares and markets tend to be expensive. Pick your own is just about dead down this way because of "health ane safety" We grow some vegatables but not as much as we would like. Maybe in retirement we will have more time. Move abroad? Very tempting and maybe a little village in France, Spain or Italy is the cheapest answer. I saw a very nice little town house in Canet for £68,000. So temping. You must come out for dinner when I move.

    Teddy ( Will stop now before I am accused of Verbal D)

  3. #3
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso wljmrbill's Avatar
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    I might be wrong but I think much of that dating has nothing to do with spoilage.,.maybe freshness and definately more momey for the producers from people who fear these dated concepts..I still skim off the mold on jams,cheese etc and eat it.. I say use the old nose and save a dime.... retirement you have too.
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  4. #4
    Chief assistant to the assistant chief JHC's Avatar
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    Its the chemicals that 99%of food is laced with today that causes the problem, also food had much more taste 40 years ago than it has today, how many of you grow your own veggies? also meat had a better taste the slaughter houses of today use so much water to wash the meat down.

  5. #5
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Bingo, Colin ...

    The problem you describe is so very true - we eat more to get the flavor, and as a result gain weight in the process. America is bulging with obese people.

    There is a huge difference in the quality of foods today as compared to my youthful years.

    Hunts finally broke the bond with high fructose corn syrup and it now tastes like ketchup from the old days, and I use much less than before.
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  6. #6
    Chief assistant to the assistant chief JHC's Avatar
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    Obesity seem to be the norm in the western world, I think Mike has started a very interesting thread do you remember when smoked ham and smoked fish were actually cured with smoke ? what a disgusting process eh, to day we can soak them in lovely pure chemicals and wrap them in plastic film, oh boy. And an acre of pasture used to support say 2 doz sheep now we can cram 80 plus of the little buggers on it, they have to eat grass that has just been fouled by their mates, Pig farming Chicken farming you could go on for ever, still if it makes a buck or two what the hell.

  7. #7
    Duckmeister teddy's Avatar
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    This was my point. We have got used to eating crap. The average French man spends 25% of his income on food. This is not just quantity, but quality. We have got used to cheap fast food. But most of it is not good food. We must reverse the trend.

    teddy

  8. #8
    Chief assistant to the assistant chief JHC's Avatar
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    teddy, Cooking (let alone growing) has become a lost skill.

  9. #9
    Duckmeister teddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.H.C. View Post
    teddy, Cooking (let alone growing) has become a lost skill.

    Ah, you have met my wife have you?

    teddy

    Actually she is an excellent cook.

  10. #10
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Until recently, oh about 5 years ago, having been a single parent with a teenage son and his hollow leg appetite, I used lots of "prepared" things like Hamburger Helper and such. Then one day I was made aware of the ingredients and was horrified ... I then started to "think outside the box" and learned the art of preparing dishes from scratch.

    No stranger in the kitchen by any means, I love to cook, and be creative at times ... I know that preparing from raw ingredients is far more healthy than the alternative. The wife and I equally share the preparing of meals (and the kitchen cleanup afterwards).

    The other thing is "portion control" ... we bought smaller plates to use at supper time - the effect is that we eat less and still feel nourished.
    Kh ~~.
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  11. #11
    Duckmeister teddy's Avatar
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    You have my admiration Lars. I had a spell of bringing up one of my daughters on my own. I also nursed my present wife through a big opp. and had to do all the cooking. It was a tossup whether the operation would kill her or my food.

    teddy

  12. #12
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso Dorsetmike's Avatar
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    I've done most of the cooking for over 30 years, first wife worked night shifts (nursing) so I started taking on cooking on the days she was sleeping; my second wife had a longer commute than I did so I would start cooking when I got in, gradually taking over most of the cooking.

    Now I have to do it all, cos there's just me!

    I used to grow my own veg, but the garden I have now is not big enough to make it viable (it's full of roses anyway)

    My main gripe about catering for one is either having to buy the uneconomical small size tins or mess about freezing half a tin of beans or whatever.
    Cheers MIKE.

    How many roads must a man walk down ... ... before he admits he's lost?

  13. #13
    Chief assistant to the assistant chief JHC's Avatar
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    Well I can't cook, never had to, much too lazy to learn now.
    Baked Beans on toast is about my limit

  14. #14
    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    There's no trick to cooking, Colin. Get the recipe, read it through, follow it step by step. You sound as though you're spoilled by your wife.
    I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.
    —Albert Einstein.

  15. #15
    Chief assistant to the assistant chief JHC's Avatar
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    Yeh, its easy when you know how and yes my Wife is a great cook, for me it is too time consuming and I really do not have an interest in cooking, other things I want to do. I'm terrible eh

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