Many people think that as soon as the expiration date comes around, their food becomes toxic. While you should always proceed with caution, many of these foods are safe to… consume for up to months after the date listed. Here are a few of the most common foods that you can eat after the expiration date.
Some people throw out their milk the day after it expires, but in reality you have a little time before it completely spoils. Just smell the milk before you drink it -- if it smells sour, it should be thrown away. You can also tell it is expired if the milk seems chunky or otherwise discolored. If it smells and looks alright, then it is safe to drink. Most milk stays good up to a week after the sell-by date, as long as it's properly refrigerated.
While fresh meat shouldn't be eaten more than a day or two past the expiration date, frozen meat can actually keep for months. In fact, you can store frozen meat for a year or longer depending on its storage. So if you find a good deal on steaks or chicken, feel free to stock up, freeze, and enjoy throughout the year without worrying that it will go bad.
Expiration dates on canned goods are often very wrong -- a properly stored canned good (kept in a dark, cooler area of the house) can keep for years past the expiration date. This is because there is no oxygen getting into the can, creating bacteria. This is why many people stock up on canned good in case of an emergency. Just don't forget a can opener!
Fun fact: America is one of the only countries in the world where people refrigerate their eggs. The reasons for this are fairly complicated and involve regulations for and against washing the eggs. When it comes to spoiling, however, there is a very simply way to tell if your egg is good: if it sinks to the bottom it is fine to eat, if it floats throw it out. Most eggs will stay fresh for up to a month after the sell-by date.
People love going to bakery thrift stores to get great deals on day old bread. This means that the bread is about to go bad, right? Not necessarily. If a person freezes bread, it will keep for significantly longer than leaving it in the bread box or refrigerator. If your family eats a lot of sandwiches, it might make sense to stock on bread and freeze it.
People may not realize it, but pasta actually keeps for much longer than the printed date. This is welcome news for smaller families who may only need half a box and wind up throwing the rest out. Because it's a dry good, pasta will keep much longer than the expiration date says. There is a relatively simply test for freshness: if it feels stale or has a funny smell, throw it away. Also, be sure to keep pasta in your pantry and not in the refrigerator.
Despite having an expiration date, bottled water actually never goes bad. The date is printed on the bottled because most states require all food and beverages to carry an expiration date. The flavor of the water may change over time, but bottled water that is kept sealed will stay good indefinitely. There are certain studies that say that the plastic bottle itself may be detrimental to the quality of the water, as chemicals may leach in. But this is the case with fresh bottles of water as well.
Lettuce, spinach or other greens will sometimes look wilted if left in the fridge for too long. However, a cold water bath can revive these greens, making them perfectly edible. However, lettuce that is visibly decayed should be thrown away.
Surprisingly, potato chips will stay fresh for months after their expiration date, with proper storage of course. This is because they are usually highly processed. If they smell or taste stale, then obviously they need to be thrown out.
As long as your store-bought mayonnaise jar has been stored at the correct temperate it can actually be used 3 to 4 months after the expiration date. So if you finally decide to clean out your fridge you can hold back on throwing out your Mayonnaise jar for a few months longer.
Cheese is another thing that tends to get lost in the fridge only to be found a few weeks later or when a hungry guest drops by unexpected. Along as the cheese is stored at the correct temperature, cheese can be eaten up to 4 weeks after the expiration date, even if the cheese has been opened.