Googling "How Long Does xyz Last…"

Sorry to harp on this again, but is it just me, or are these results (many from the FDA) waaaay too conservative? I’ve kept things like condiments, jarred sauces, lunch meats, fresh veggies, leftovers, etc. much longer than recommended with no noticeable degradation.


At least one supermarket in the UK has recently stopped having “best before” dates on the packaging of fruit and veg. It’s intended to cut down on consumer waste.

As for the likes of condiments, many products say they should be kept in the fridge and used within, say, six weeks of opening. In this house, we generally ignore one or both of these. So, for example, ketchup and jam live in the cupboard without any problem. And other items which live in the fridge door, stay there weeks and months beyond the recommended “throw away” period (or until mould is seen, of course).


I keep duck fat (home-rendered & unfiltered) in the fridge for well over a year sometimes. Look ma - still alive!


Here’s an old thread I sometimes reference.

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I use ketchup approximately once every 12-16 months. I keep it in the door of my fridge for literally years. Never died from it even once! One jar of mayonnaise also lasts me several years. Either I’ve got the constitution of an elephant and the stomach strength of a goat, or the FDA is way off.


I have been letting a few things slide past their best before date lately.

With most condiments, I’ll keep using them for a year or 2 beyond the date if they don’t contain ingredients that go rancid like peanuts or sesame.

I’m sure my Worcestershire is often 7 or 8 years old by the time I finish a bottle.

The hot sauce becomes less red over a year or so in the fridge. I toss it once the colour is off.

I think the dill pickles are changing a little, hence my thread on how to use them.

I throw out opened BBQ sauce and relishes after they have been open around a year.

I took a bite of the commercial tzatziki that had a Nov 29th BB date last night, and it was decidedly off.

I guess it just depends.


Best before ≠ use by, so you’re good :wink:


Use By - this I pay attention to
Best By - at best (lol) a guess by the producer for optimum flavor. Not safety, so I ignore if, you know, it’s not the last century.


I have bottled mustards, an Inglehoffer horseradish and a couple la Victoria salsas that are a bit past their use by date and the only difference is that two of them seem to be thicker, probably because they have the watery stuff that flows first before the mustard/salsa. Flip side of the coin, my Herdez salsa verde went bad a week before its use by date with a rim of mold on the sides of the jar.
I have frozen sausage in my freezer that are more than a year past their use by date and have seen no change in flavor or texture when I cook them, but frozen is a different question.
I have capers that may last til the rapture.
I think the use by dates are more for max nutritional content, but some foods do go bad. Most don’t but I don’t want to be the one to find out the hard way. Mayo is the one that I am religious about tossing.
On edit: One thing I did not think of until i posted is that the Herdez is a bottle that I screw the top off and spoon salsa out of while the mustards, horseradish and la Victoria salsas are squeeze bottles where you don’t open the top of the container and let bacteria in. I wonder if squeeze bottle items last longer than open top jars?


The “use by” or “best by” dates, either by the FDA or the manufacturers, are meant for the lowest common denominator among us.

That is, those that are weak, febrile, immunocompromised, on their deathbed, or a combination of some or all of the aforementioned.

They do not generally have applicability or even relevance to about 95% of the population, who are healthy and have functioning immune systems with active T cells.

The guidelines have to apply to everyone, but unless you are at the very bottom of the 5% (and I mean very bottom), those guidelines are more akin to horoscopes than prescriptive terms – that is, for entertainment purposes only.


This always makes me laugh. Actually, it’s still OK for centuries. Millennia, even! :wink:

(and if you can’t see what it is - it’s honey.)


I wonder what the hieroglyphic for honey is. Or the hieroglyphic for “best byz’

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I can not find honey in Gardiner’s list of Egyptian hieroglyphs but I did find honey bee.

Image 11-29-23 at 14.38

Call me crazy but that does not look like a hieroglyph…
It is buried way down in #602, pg 568.

Now that you think I am completely crazy, I followed a link in Wikipedia. LOL!

On edit: I think I found it. But again it does not look like what I think of as a hieroglyph.

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And right below bee on p 568 is BEER which I take as a sign from Nephthys, the goddess of beer, that we must be wary of labels.

As a freshman in college, when I would trek from my dorm to campus, I’d often stop off for a quick visit with my favorite mummy in what was then called the Oriental Institute - which has just changed its name to the Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures, West Asia & North Africa :woman_shrugging:t3:

There’ a connection here, somewhere …


Just had meat sauce (red sauce) that was frozen 3 years two nights ago. It was fine. :woman_shrugging:


Am I missing some inside joke? I see a “Best By” date of 17 August 2025, which seems reasonable.

Honey is reputed to have a shelf life of forever.


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Oh, doh. Now I get it. I guess the pharaohs would agree!

Yup. If I remember correctly, edible honey was found in small sealed jars in an Egyptian tomb.