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Keep it or toss it?

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No one wants to waste food, especially in today’s economic climate. But no one wants food poisoning, either. Many’s the time I’ve stood before the fridge with an opened carton of chicken broth, wondering how long ago I opened it and whether the “use within 14 days of opening” is a suggestion or hard and fast rule.

There’s a pretty comprehensive Web site called StillTasty that can come to your help when the simple sniff test doesn’t work. It offers guidance on the shelf life of specific foods, as well as how you should store it, whether in pantry, fridge, or freezer. It’s nice that the site lets you do a simple search, or browse by category (Dairy & Eggs, Fruits, and Herbs & Spices, for example). And there’s a forum where you can ask specific questions. In the case of raw eggs in the shell, for example, they can be refrigerated for 3 to 5 weeks, and are good even past the “sell-by” date stamped on the carton (but should be tossed after the “use-by” date). Easier than remembering how to translate the code stamped on the carton.



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