Homemade salad dressing
Creamy, mayo-based dressings are best judged by sight. If you can see the ingredients begin to separate, it’s time to say bye-bye. While vinaigrettes and other oil-based dressings generally last longer, these dressings will reveal their point of no return when the oil starts to smell rancid.
From red to tri-coloured mini, these versatile veggies are at their peak when the skin is firm and free from any markings. You’ll know their sweet, crunchy flavour is gone if you see wrinkly brown spots. Slice ’em up before they have a chance to go soft!
Broth or stock
For their rich flavour, beef and chicken broth are staples in many a cook’s kitchens. Still, maybe with the exception of a pot of soup few recipes call for an entire Tetra Pak of the stuff. Once you’ve opened it, rely on your sniffer to tell if it’s past its prime. Expired food, including broth, will have a distinct sour smell.
Who among us hasn’t found that one rotten onion lurking in the red mesh bag? Perhaps a produce item worth purchasing individually instead of pre-bagged? However you purchase them, store your onions in the pantry away from potatoes. When they are together, you get an expired food accelerant. Both release gases that spoil the other – think potatoes growing long sprouts and onions in a slimy, moulded heap.
While unsightly, sprouts on your taters aren’t a deal-breaker. They can easily be cut off with the rest of the potato remaining perfectly edible. Rely on the vegetable’s firmness (no soft spots), colour (uniform, with no green) and scent (earthy, fresh from the garden soil). If it smells funky, skip the home fries.
Whether for your morning coffee or on its own, milk is a refrigerator staple. It can also spoil well before the ‘best by’ date. You’ll know that’s the case if it pools in little flecks instead of dissolving in your coffee. Put those olfactory senses to their best use with a quick sniff before you pour.
Garlic is at its best when firm to the touch, with papery leaves intact. The cloves themselves should have a bit of moisture inside. If any areas have hollowed-out dark spots, or appear wrinkly and dry, it’s going bad and therefore time to toss.
This cruciferous green is healthiest when the stem is firm and the flowering head is rich in colour. It’s a cinch to prep, and might even pass muster with your most finicky eaters. As it begins to deteriorate, black spots start to appear at the base. Crowns lose their vibrant hue, taking on a yellowish tint. The earthy green scent will also take on a bitter smell, which belongs nowhere near your dinner plate.
If you’ve ever accidentally tasted a grape gone bad, you know it. Save your taste buds the agony by sniffing for freshness. Expired grapes will have a dirty, vinegar-like smell, usually accompanied by the odd brown, mushy grape here or there.