As a member of the Mormon church, I am encouraged to be self-reliant. We’re told we should have a 48 hour emergency kit, as well as a year’s worth of food storage. I like this idea, and have assembled a killer 48 hour kit. If there’s an emergency, I am packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice. On the other hand, storing a years worth of food is a little more complicated.
First let me say that I don’t actually have enough food to last a year. I do have quite a bit though, and while there’s a certain feeling of security in knowing its available . . . there’s also a dark side (insert scary organ music). To make this system work, you have to rotate the old items to the front, and I’ve been rather lax about that. In fact, I was poking around down in the basement the other day, and discovered that
a few,well some, O.K., a lot of my canned goods are past thier prime.
Now I’ve read the food safety guidelines, and know you don’t have to throw stuff out the day it expires. Unfortunately some of my cans have reached, er exceeded their expiration date. All right, all right, some of my food dates back to the Land Before Time! There, I said it. A Cro-Magnon family might easily have dined on my fruit cocktail.
I know, I know, I should get rid of this stuff, but hey, I spent a lot of money on it. Wouldn’t it be wasteful to just throw it away.? And on the practical side, in event of an emergency, expired food would be better than no food, right? Honestly, how bad could it be?
By way of experiment, I went to my storage room and retrieved a can of expired green beans. There were no bulges in the can or other tell-tail signs of botulism. I got the can opener, and with some trepidation began to crank open the can. Expecting any moment to be assaulted with the sulfurous smell of decaying food, I was pleasantly surprised. No oder at all, unless you count the smell of canned green beans.
They also looked just fine. I picked some up with a fork and examined them carefully. They were green and perfectly normal in appearance. Hmmm, I wonder how they taste? I slowly raised the fork to my lips . . . and . . . just kidding! I’m not insane. Just because the beans smelled, looked and possibly tasted O.K. doesn’t mean they weren’t harboring invisible food poisoning microbes. I have no time in my life for a potentially fatal, paralytic illness. No,The sensible thing to do is clear out all the scary stuff, and start using and replacing my food storage like I should have done in the first place.
But what to do with the old items? I just need to think outside of the box/can. I once saw a book about crafting with cat hair, and a woman on the Today Show made sculptures out of dryer lint. In light these shining examples, surely I can put expired food to good use. How about placing cases of chili under my bed in place of a bed frame ?
Hmm, I’m sure I’m missing an obvious solution. Aha! EBay! People will buy anything on eBay. I recently heard about a dietary fad that touts the benefits of fermented food. Maybe I should market to that group. Or collectors, people collect some pretty weird things, surely someone wants a case of 1920’s Campbell’s vegetable soup, How about antique dealers! Now there’s an idea – classic, no vintage food, “like fine wine it improves with age”. Suddenly, I’m not afraid anymore. In fact,I may be sitting on a gold mine. Eureka!
But wait, before I get too carried away, I feel I should do my duty to my fellow bloggers. That’s right, I’m giving you my friends, first dibs on this amazing product! What? You already have enough expired food? Oh, well, O.K. here’s another idea – I’ve got this bridge I could get you a deal on . . .