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Mom's Pantry

5,574 Views | 41 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by mike073
rilloaggie
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One of my favorite family traditions is cleaning out my mom's pantry and spice cabinet when I visit. I do this almost every year and have decided that there is some sort of rift in the space/time continuum that occurs in the pantry at my mom's house in Amarillo, TX. I regularly find things older than I am despite cleaning the place out the year before. Last year I threw away meat tenderizer that has moved to two different houses and that expired in 1988. I was born in 1987.

This year I decided to make chili since there is snow on the ground and we all wanted something warm to eat. She has a jar of Fiesta brand Chili Mix. I can't say for sure how old it is but there is the remnants of a "90" near the lid. I suspect it may be the most recent example of an expired jar of spices ending up in her pantry after I cleaned it out.

I am pretty sure the other two jars are expired too but according to her "they never really go bad" so I will let those go until next year and I'll toss them without letting her know!


Duncan Idaho
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Well they don't go bad, they just stop being good.

Don't know of they still do it but McCormick used change their labels every once in a while to encourage sales by giving people an easy way to know which ones should be thrown out and replaced
BlueMiles
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I have seen this phenomenon in my refrigerator, with bottles of salad dressing.
Emotional Support Cobra
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I have some stuff that is years-old and still good, and then a few things that turned to dust or got eaten by pests.

I got onto my mom about expired pantry as she had stuff with Shop-Rite labels from pre 1998 before they moved to Texas from New Jersey. Now everything, especially cans, is labeled with a sharpie and vetted every year.
Belton Ag
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Reminds me of one of my trips home from college to California when I stopped at my Great Aunt's and stayed the night. In the morning she says "I've got some cereal in the cabinet from when the kids were here last." I think it was Cheerios or something like that, but the expiration date on the box was 1985... and this was 1996 or 1997. After thinking about it I figured the "kids" she was talking about visiting was me and my cousin about 12 years before that.
Matsui
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Hilarious thread. Thanks for sharing.
Jetty
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Check out the Foodkeeper App. That's what food banks and such use for how long it's still ok to eat.
FIDO*98*
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I keep a Sharpie on my spice rack. Everything gets dates when it goes on the shelf
Keeper of The Spirits
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I stopped buying salts and spices in bulk other that kosher salt, table salt, and black pepper. Everything else I buy when I need it
Bruce Almighty
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I purge my spice cabinet every year. Spices are cheap, so I don't worry about throwing out that dried thyme that I purchased a month ago.
chipotle
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I like buying what I need at H-E-B. Don't have to buy the whole container.
schwack schwack
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Ugh. Don't get me started on the pantry, fridge & freezer at my parents and how indignant they get when I start to look thru them.

Did you know that you can keep pecans frozen for 10 years? Neither did I.
Btron
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My grandparents grew up during the depression. They had 4 refrigerators with freezers. Always full to the brim all year long, every year.
We never used dishes but would re-use styrofoam plates over and over. I almost threw one away one time. You would have thought I peed on top of their dinning room table.
Emotional Support Cobra
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My mom had a cocktail party the other night and she put out those "nice" clear plastic disposable party plates for people to eat cheese and crackers. When cleaning up, I secretly fished out two or three that guests had thrown in the trash, and two others got cracked and I had to throw those out and my mom was dying inside. She has been reusing those plastic disposable plates since about '03.
eric76
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Btron said:

My grandparents grew up during the depression. They had 4 refrigerators with freezers. Always full to the brim all year long, every year.
We never used dishes but would re-use styrofoam plates over and over. I almost threw one away one time. You would have thought I peed on top of their dinning room table.
It was tough for people growing up during the Great Depression.

One guy I know said his father would never throw away an envelope in case it might come in useful to him. I think that he opened them carefully so as not to tear the envelopes in any way so that he could reuse them if he needed.
eric76
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Frog_ said:

My mom had a cocktail party the other night and she put out those "nice" clear plastic disposable party plates for people to eat cheese and crackers. When cleaning up, I secretly fished out two or three that guests had thrown in the trash, and two others got cracked and I had to throw those out and my mom was dying inside. She has been reusing those plastic disposable plates since about '03.
We had those at Thanksgiving. Since nobody jumped in and started washing dishes, I did. I couldn't figure out why people keep handing me he disposable plates to wash and I just threw them in the trash and washed what wasn't disposable.

I wonder if I was expected to wash the disposable plates, too.
94chem
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Nobody over 60 should be allowed to purchase food at Sam's.
mike073
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That jar of cayenne pepper was packed on 07/26/06 - three years before the lower date. The top part of the lot number for tracking purposes. We have been using that lot tracking/ dating format since 2001. The other two were packed before that. I will replace them if you PM.
Gig 'em Aggies!

schmendeler
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Good bull. I wondered if we would see you on this thread.
jtp01
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We are packing our house for the movers now. We filled an entire trash can with expired spices, salad dressings, random boxes of pasta and other things that likely were never shuffled to the front as we bought new.

We are using this move as a means to purge our house of stuff we don't need/use. It's amazing how we have found boxes that were never unpacked from 5 years ago when we moved into this house.
mike073
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The lemon pepper was packed on February 24, 2000.
Gig 'em Aggies!

rilloaggie
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Mike, I appreciate the offer! I'm afraid that if these were replaced we'd just be having the same conversation in 20 years. I love my mom to death but she's a hamburger helper kind of chef! I think I make out a 99 on the chili mix so I'm guessing that last one was packed around 96, or when I was 11...
RK
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Mike.
mike073
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As someone else said, unless they become infested, spices do not go bad, but they do lose their flavor. After grinding, the flavor oil is released and will continue to do so over the life of the product. However it is a logarithmic curve - half goes away in an open to the air container in 6 months. (think pepper shaker) Then it slows down so it is not as noticeable. Keeping a container closed and cool raises the flavor half live to three years. Keeping it in a refrigerator or freezer extends the potency exponentially. Light will fade red, green and yellow spices and blends.

The rule is cool, dark and dry, as opposed to above the stove where it is bright, damp and warm.



Gig 'em Aggies!

mike073
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rillo - if we replace those she will be good for your kids when they go over for lunch when they are at A&M..
Gig 'em Aggies!

Federale01
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I had no idea location made a difference. I guess it makes sense but I have never thought about it. I always keep them close to the stove as that is where I use them. Thanks for the heads up.

Do whole spices, like nutmeg and clove also lose potency over time? Or do they stay fresh until you grind them?
mike073
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01 - Whole spice seeds, fruits and berries will last almost indefinitely if not ground. They have found black pepper inside mummies with some flavor intact. Think of it this way - the smaller the particle size, the more surface area is exposed to allow essential oils to escape. Leafy herbs are a little different - they will not last as long as whole seeds, but they will hold the flavor longer than when ground.

You know the white pepper is inside the black pepper. Right?

Gig 'em Aggies!

HHAG
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That's funny, I do the same thing at my dad's house in Amarillo. My mom passed away 10 years ago and he still has stuff she bought. "Never goes bad...".
toolshed
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If your mom is like my mother in law, she goes and digs the things you purged out of the trash after you "help" her out by cleaning up expired things.

My wife has helped her reluctant mom clean out things from 20, 30, 40+ years ago. When we leave, things make their way back into the house. It's a sickness...
2aggiesmom
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I wish all you helpful sons and daughters would talk to my two Aggie graduates ( 2005) and (2008). They both have a ton of stuff they want to keep but don't have room for. I am drowning in there clutter. Recently remodeled and really cleaned out tons of my stuff but their childhood treasures linger on. Lol
expresswrittenconsent
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2aggiesmom said:

I wish all you helpful sons and daughters would talk to my two Aggie graduates ( 2005) and (2008). They both have a ton of stuff they want to keep but don't have room for. I am drowning in there clutter. Recently remodeled and really cleaned out tons of my stuff but their childhood treasures linger on. Lol

You're enabling them. Nothing wrong with still being a fantastic and loving parent and telling your two 30+ adult children that:
1. You're bringing them their crap, or
2. They can come get it very soon, or
3. Its going to goodwill in 7 days.
rwtxag83
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Quote:

You know the white pepper is inside the black pepper. Right?


This is new information for me. Thanks.
Greater love hath no man than this....
rwtxag83
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BTW, we don't buy ANY spices unless we look at the Fiesta display first, and you don't have them available.

We use Fajita seasoning on all kinds of stuff. When we travel to other parts of the country to see friends we usually leave some with them, and they have all been hooked. We can't go visit without them saying 'Hey bro, can you grab me some of the Fajita seasoning on your way to the airport?' We like the Italian seasoning in our spaghetti sauce.

I used to run around with some folks in a circle of friends that included your brother Chris, but we live out in Helotes now. Haven't seen him in years. Hope he's doing well.
Greater love hath no man than this....
mike073
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So now you know who Uncle Chris is!
Gig 'em Aggies!

schmendeler
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He makes good seasoning
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