Have you ever come across a green potato chip? Growing up, I used to avoid them like the plague. After all, green is the color most often associated with moldy, rotten food. This was the same excuse I’d give my mom to get out of eating my broccoli (it didn’t work). Now that I’m older, though no more interested in broccoli, I found myself wondering whether or not green potatoes are actually harmful. I’ve seen people eat green potato chips, but what about an entire potato with a green tinge?
So, I set out to discover the truth about how quickly some foods expire, what they look like when they do, and whether or not they are safe to eat. Ever scraped the mold off a piece of bread? Or maybe used some spices that were past their expiration date? If so, this list is for you. Truett Cathy once said that, “Food is essential to life, therefore make it good.” I’d like to edit that quote just a bit and say that, “Food is essential to life, therefore make sure it’s good.” The things we eat are responsible for giving us the energy to make it through each day, so let’s make sure everything we’re consuming is fresh, safe, and tasty. Without further ado, here are six common foods and how to tell whether or not they are okay to eat.
1. Green Potatoes
If you spot a green potato, there’s no reason to panic. The green that you’re seeing is actually chlorophyll. If it’s been a while since science class, chlorophyll is that thing in plants that helps them convert sunlight into energy. While that might sound harmless, its presence actually indicates a high concentration of something called “solanine.” This toxin is a natural defense system against predators that can mean bad news for humans as well.
While solanine is capable of hurting us, you’d have to eat a whole bunch of it to feel any effects. Regardless, it’s a good idea to go ahead and peel off any green skin you see.
2. Moldy Bread
There’s no worse feeling than going to make a sandwich and finding some unsightly mold on the surface of your bread. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve scraped it off and continued with my lunch many times, but that might not be the best way to go.
If you spot mold on your bread, throw out the loaf. Mold contains mycotoxins that, when ingested, lead to food poisoning.
Eggs are tricky because you can’t see inside that pesky shell. If you’re trying to determine if your eggs are safe to eat, try this handy test: Drop the egg in a bowl of cold water. If it sinks, it’s good to go. If it floats, get rid of it.
4. Canned Goods
Canned goods last forever, right? Wrong. Even though they have a long shelf life, cans of food do go bad eventually. Also, if a can is dented, that means air has escaped, making it that much easier for bacteria to get in.
5. Dry Spices
Dry spices don’t technically “expire,” but their flavor will significantly decrease over time. The majority of spices will remain fresh for as long as four years. If you spot dust in your spices, however, throw them out, as it might be a sign that insects have gotten into them.
6. Dry Goods
Granola, popcorn, and any other dry goods you keep in your pantry are best left to your nose’s discretion. If it smells a little weird, that’s because something is a little weird.
Want to learn more about what expiration dates really mean? Check out this video below.
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