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Eating Nuts After Best Before Date

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,

 

I have a question regarding nuts.  I have an assortment of nuts (almonds, planters mixed, pecans, cashews, etc.) that are about 1-3 years after their best before date.  Does anyone know if I can still eat these or should I throw all of them away?
 

Thanks for your help,

 

 

Michael

post #2 of 22

Keep in mind that nuts don't grow with a best before date on them. The only reason the ones you buy have one is that the distributors are legally bound to put one on the package. This is kinda like best before dates on frozen products or cans: those products really never expire, so the distributors put some kind of random "best before" date to please the lawmakers. 

 

We had a walnut tree when I grew up, and we kept the nuts for years in the cave without writing the year they were picked on them. 

 

So first things first: forget there's even a Best Before date printed on the packet. 

 

Now how do you know if a nut is good or not? You shell it, and eat it. Is it good? Great, you can eat it. Does it taste rancid? Then you're SOL. They won't make you sick, they just taste horrible. 

post #3 of 22

If the nuts were stored in a freezer they will be fine ,otherwise you'll find out real fast if they taste rancid.by just eating one.

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post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by berndy View Post

If the nuts were stored in a freezer they will be fine ,otherwise you'll find out real fast if they taste rancid.by just eating one.


+1.  One taste will tell you.

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post #5 of 22

Actually even smell will tell you.

post #6 of 22

For some foods, being old can be dangerous but for nuts they just taste bad. 

And some foods can kill you and there's no taste to warn you.  But my personal rule of thumb is things that are wet (meat, canned stuff, leftover cooked food, etc) might be dangerous when expired, but dry things (nuts, cereal, etc) just taste bad.  I guess there are exceptions, you can get some dangerous molds on dry stuff, but you usually smell it and see it.  I don;t know about ergot on rye.  But i think the really dangerous things like botulism need moisture to grow. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by siduri View Post

canned stuff (...) might be dangerous when expired

 

 

There's no reason for anything canned to be dangerous when expired. A can is either safe or not, and if it's safe it pretty much never expires. If it wasn't canned properly then it's probably not safe even if consumed way before the expiration date. 

 

So while you can get bad food in a can, the expiration date on a can is completely meaningless.

post #8 of 22

Sorry don't agree. Cans if kept in a warm or up and down temperature enviorment can go bad ,ferment and  blow or springer. In particular low acid foods like mushrooms,greenbeans etc. As far as nuts grown with date on them ? left there they will go bad. The manufacturers put a date for aa specific reason. They know their product and its tendencies better then we do, I would listen  to them. Also if you think it bad, DONT taste it . When in doubt ,THROW IT OUT  even a small taste could hurt you

as low acid breeds Botulism spores and thats kinda deadly.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #9 of 22

Technically rancid oils (and this applies to the natural oils in nuts) are considered carcinogenic.  However, it's easy to taste, so just don't eat them if they taste stale.

post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post

Sorry don't agree. Cans if kept in a warm or up and down temperature enviorment can go bad ,ferment and  blow or springer.

 

That's correct -and maybe I was too black and white when I said a can is either good or bad-, but my point was that it has strictly nothing to do with the expiration date. The expiration date on a can doesn't mean anything at all. It is there purely for legal reasons. I have had cans start bulging only a few weeks after buying them, years before the expiration date. 

 

This was explained to me by a family member who works in the food industry for a smaller company that sells all sorts of canned goods. Part of her job was to figure out the expiration dates, and that was a completely arbitrary process that is completely unrelated to any kind of statistical chance of the product going bad before, after or around that date. She said that if it wasn't for the law it would make more sense not to have any date on the can, but because of the law, they had to put some kind of date on there. 


Edited by French Fries - 6/10/12 at 1:21pm
post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for you responses.  You've all been very informative.  I had no idea that the best before dates didn't mean anything on nuts and the companies were legally bound to put them on.  I'll open the cans and start to eat a few but I have to be honest, I'm a little afraid but I'll give it ago.  Does this all apply to nuts that have oil and salt on them and also just raw nuts don't are natural like cashews, etc. 

 

Thanks.

post #12 of 22

Another point about dating. The soda maufacturers are now dating. Main reason being it makes the retailer purchase more often as they do not take back out of date from them ( Diet Colas  after about a year in the can losses all its atificial sweetness taste) even in the fridge. I ALWAYS WONDER WHERE IT GOES?

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #13 of 22

Even bottled water has an expiration date.

What can go bad with water ???

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post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by berndy View Post

Even bottled water has an expiration date.

What can go bad with water ???


ah, germs? plastic that has leached into the water? 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #15 of 22

i understand that contamination will make our water harmful,BUT water itself has no expiration date; it has been here since the beginning of our planet and we use the same water over and over .

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post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by French Fries View Post

 

That's correct -and maybe I was too black and white when I said a can is either good or bad-, but my point was that it has strictly nothing to do with the expiration date. The expiration date on a can doesn't mean anything at all. It is there purely for legal reasons. I have had cans start bulging only a few weeks after buying them, years before the expiration date. 

 

This was explained to me by a family member who works in the food industry for a smaller company that sells all sorts of canned goods. Part of her job was to figure out the expiration dates, and that was a completely arbitrary process that is completely unrelated to any kind of statistical chance of the product going bad before, after or around that date. She said that if it wasn't for the law it would make more sense not to have any date on the can, but because of the law, they had to put some kind of date on there. 

That's not completely true.  Different canned goods have best buy or shelf life dates due to many reasons.  If there are spices or herbs in the product then there are inherently micro counts in the canned good, especially in nuts which dont go thru anything more than a cook of the nut itself to roast it.  If its in a canned or retorted product depending upon whether the herb/spice/onion/garlic/tomato... was treated will depend upon how long it can last in a can.  If the canned good goes into the can raw and cooked in the can as part of the retort there is a VERY good chance that in 18-24 months the product will start to spoil.  If the product is cooked, cooled, canned and then retorted(recooked) then the shelf life will be much longer since its been thru a kill step, and then all the oxygen has been removed and a 2nd kill step has been put in process. 

 

The thing to remember is Garlic, Onion and all spices and herbs need to be treated somehow and Steam treatment isnt a very effective way of killing most of the harmful micro organisms that make us sick.  Right now, today I am on a wild goose chase for Organic spices and herbs that meet certain micro counts for topical applications.  There has been a Salmonella warning issued by the FDA and a recall of MANY Organic herbs, spices and dehydrated veggies because of the lack of treatment allowed to maintain the Organic status. And to think its only Tuesday...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by berndy View Post

i understand that contamination will make our water harmful,BUT water itself has no expiration date; it has been here since the beginning of our planet and we use the same water over and over .

Its not the water than goes bad, its the leeching of the plastic that makes the water bad.  Harmful chemicals thru heating and cooling will turn the water brown, make it have an off taste and aroma or just infuse carcinogens into the water itself.

 

 

 

Edit:  Didnt mean to derail the thread, and to answer some questions, eating nuts after the best buy date or past the manufacturers date can be worse than you think depending upon what is on the nuts.  If its just some Sea Salt then I wouldnt be as worried, just some rancid toppical or nut oils, they wont taste good and you will know generally from the smell.  If they have something like a BBQ, Cheese, or garlic/onion seasoning just throw it away.  Those all have high micro counts and depending upon who the nut company is will depend upon what type of treatment they allow on the seasoning that goes on the nuts.  I have and will always use my old restaurant expression, WHEN IN DOUBT THROW IT OUT!!!

Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefhow View Post

That's not completely true.  Different canned goods have best buy or shelf life dates due to many reasons.

 

It's worth pointing out that that the person who told me that worked for a company that prepared high end prepared foods, so fancy cans of cooked vegetable dishes, or curry pastes, etc. She told me those products never expire and you could safely eat them 20, 30 years after the best before date. 

post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by French Fries View Post

 

It's worth pointing out that that the person who told me that worked for a company that prepared high end prepared foods, so fancy cans of cooked vegetable dishes, or curry pastes, etc. She told me those products never expire and you could safely eat them 20, 30 years after the best before date. 

 

Give me your address and I will send you some cans from shelf life studies that failed because of high micro count garlic.  I have cases of them that we had to take back since we supplied the seasoning that had the garlic that caused the failure and spoilage.

Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
Reply
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefhow View Post

 

Give me your address and I will send you some cans from shelf life studies that failed because of high micro count garlic.  I have cases of them that we had to take back since we supplied the seasoning that had the garlic that caused the failure and spoilage.

So did you notice that all those cans were good up until the expiration date on the can, then went bad after that date? 

post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by French Fries View Post

So did you notice that all those cans were good up until the expiration date on the can, then went bad after that date? 


The most recent batch that I am speaking of didn't make it to the expiration date.  The problem was with the garlic, it had a high enough micro load that it caused the product to spoil in the can. 

Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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post #21 of 22

Ah I see - that was kind of my point (but I may have been sidetracked in some of my - wrong - statements): that those expiration dates don't mean much. 

post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by French Fries View Post

Ah I see - that was kind of my point (but I may have been sidetracked in some of my - wrong - statements): that those expiration dates don't mean much. 

Gotcha, I understood you as saying that they NEVER expire no matter what the expiration date is its not necessary.

Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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