Best before but not bad: foods that can go the extra mile

By Shanaaz Prince
18 December 2014

Don't let the best before date put you off, with some foods could possibly still be good enough to eat.

We're all familiar with the 3 second rule. After dropping food on the floor, rule has it that it's safe to eat if it's been on the floor for three seconds or less. Well, it turns out that some foods have an even greater longevity, in fact, many would even put Kim Kardashian's marriage to Kris Humphries to shame.

So forget the sell by and start looking through those grocery cupboards and make the best out of your foods before tossing them out. From chicken to fruits and vegetables, here are some edibles still at their best, despite their date: Tomatoes: If you thought you needed to through out your tomatoes after they become riper than normal, think again. Tomatoes are said to become sweeter with time and should only be thrown away when they become watery, starts growing mould or starts smelling of alcohol. Fish fillets: Keep your fish frozen and you can keep it for longer. Filleted raw fish including cod, salmon and haddock, can be eaten up to four weeks after catching, as long as it's been refrigerated below five degrees. White fish should look translucent with glossy skin, no smell and the flesh should stay springy but firm when pressed. If the flesh looks cloudy, leaves an indentation when pressed or smells of soap, or starts turning green, toss it. Ice cream: With a high fat content, surprisingly, ice cream does not stay fresh for too long, well not longer than three months. If ice cream darkens, tastes sour or of yoghurt or cream cheese, it's time to say bye bye.

Pate and sausages: Ok, with pate and sausages, you need to be a little bit more cautious. Processed, chopped or minced meat is exposed to bacteria such as E.coli, campylobacter or listeria in the air, which grow quickly even when refrigerated.  So if you find that yours starts looking dry, has a mouldy tinge, throw it away. If the sausage or burger is sticky rather than smooth and shiny, or has a darker shade, don't eat it. Eggs: A life hack to discover whether or not your eggs are ok to eat is pretty simple. Drop the egg into a glass of water. If it floats, it's gone off because as it ages, more air gets inside the shell through microscopic holes. At the same time, the moisture content  begins to evaporate, so the egg dries out. If it sinks, it's fine to eat. Yoghurt: Yoghurt in itself has undergone a fermentation process to be what it is, so needless to say,  it can be eaten beyond its sell by date. But just how long is too long?  Toss it to the trash if you spot the faintest speck of mould - which on yoghurt can come in all colours of the rainbow. But if it looks clean and fresh, and tastes good, you should be fine. Beef: It's quite obvious that if you're red meat is smelly and rotten, it deserves a toss, no questions asked. But if your meat has been well-hung, it can last up to five weeks, ensuring that it is cooked well. Roast it at a high heat and the outer layer, which has the most pathogenic potential, will be well cooked and the bacteria killed. Cook until it is well done all the way through (which you always need to do if it's past its best-before date) and there will be little or no bacteria. Flour and spices: Unless you're a fan of rashed and itches, ground spices like chilli powder, paprika and cayenne should not be kept for much longer than 6 months. If they are labelled as 'steam pasteurised', 'fumigated with chemical gases' or 'radiated', they've been sterilised to kill off mites which are tough to see as they are microscopic insects live in dry foods such as flour and spices. Chicken: Chicken is another tricky food to deal with when it comes to freshness. It's best to not keep you chicken for more than two days after its best before date. Generally, a funky smell should be enough to indicate that the chicken need chucking.

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