Smell that makes your insides flip? Green and white fuzzy spots? Expiration date? Well, these are some pretty obvious signs you’d be crazy not to notice. However, there are more subtle ways to tell if your food has gone bad or is in the process of going bad. So, here are some tricks to help you determine whether you can still use it or the only smart thing to do with it would be to trash it.
1. Bad Mushrooms Are Dark and Slimy
Some mushrooms even start smelling bad and some don’t but get all slimy but shriveled instead. One thing is for sure, if they start spreading strange odors and get so dark you have to look at them twice to be completely sure they are indeed mushrooms, you definitely can’t use them! Fresh mushrooms are not icky to touch, they have that soft, earthy smell you can’t pick up unless you really stick your nose in them and, depending on the kind, their color can go anywhere from totally white to gray. So, make sure you remember the way their looked when you bought them and use them while they still look good.
2. Bad Eggs Float, Good Ones Don’t
Here’s one interesting trick to help you determine whether your eggs have gone bad without having to crack them open. All you need is a dish filled with ice-cold water. Make sure the level of water is at least two times higher than the egg and then gently lower it inside. Fresh eggs sink immediately, usable but slightly aged ones sink but bounce a little bit before settling on the bottom while old, spoiled eggs do not sink at all but keep floating on the surface instead.
3. Vine or Vinegar?
Vine can go bad too and, if you ever had the misfortune to try vine that tastes like vinegar or the one that has that sour, fizzy taste, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. Tasting the wine that has gone bad is definitely an unpleasant experience so here’s some tricks to tell if your bottle of Chardonnay, bubbly or whatever is drinkable prior to serving it. Observe the color – white wines and champagnes are bad when they get a very noticeable yellow or brown shade, while brown shades of your red one signalize that you might want to use it for sauces only. Dried out corks or the ones that look like they have been slightly pushed out are not a good sign either and the same goes for strange smells – if it smells sour, moldy, musky or like cardboard, don’t drink it.
4. Ground Beef Isn’t Red
If your ground beef has lost that pretty red shade, it might be better to toss it out – spoiled meat is not something you want to experiment with. Foul smell and the changed texture are usually the first two warning signs you shouldn’t not choose to overlook but, in case you are still not sure, gray shade ought to convince you your meat is good for the garbage.
5. Sticky or Slimy Meats
If your fish or chicken has developed that strong (not necessarily unpleasant) odor and is sticky or slimy as a bonus, you can rest assured it had gone bad or is in the process of going bad. I’d throw away any meat with these signs of spoilage but, in case you’re determined to try to salvage the meat and you know it hasn’t been in the fridge for long, try washing it first. If the meat looks and smells normal after this, go ahead and use it.
6. White Spots
Your bread or cheese don’t have to get all green and fuzzy to be bad – white spots are a good indicator that the rotting process has commenced too. Some say eating a bad cheese can’t hurt you because cheese is by definition milk gone bad. However, anything not produced in controlled environment can be potentially harmful so store bought moldy cheese and spoiled moldy cheese are definitely not the same thing. Old cheese tastes sour of bitter and there’s nothing you can do to save it, at least in my opinion. Some people use their cheese for pie when it turns a little sour but, although baking it certainly kills harmful microorganisms, it doesn’t really do much for the taste of food. My mom has tried this trick and, although the pie on its own was very good, the sour taste of cheese has definitely lowered the quality of the entire “product”. In any other situation the pie would have been gone by the end of the day, but this time, half of the sour cheese pie is all my family members could force down their throats.
7. It Has Been out of the Fridge
Did you know that it takes two hours of being exposed to room temperature for the bacteria to start growing on our food? So, if you don’t plan on eating anymore of that pizza, don’t wait for the movie to be over, put it in the fridge right away. Some foods get spoiled faster than others but you definitely don’t want to take your chances with anything that contains dairy and meat products.
And remember the popular rhyme so “when in doubt, throw it out”! Trying to use the half spoiled food isn’t a good saving strategy but an indicator you’ll get food poisoning sooner or later. How concerned are you with expiration dates and the looks of the food in your fridge?
Top Photo Credit: limonada