I know, I know… the subject of today’s post sounds pretty disgusting! But just bear with me here, because I promise it isn’t as bad as it sounds. :-) Today I’ll be sharing some useful tips for putting expired foods to good use! But before we get to those, I want to be very clear about what I mean when I say “expired.” (Spoiler alert: “expired” does not mean “rotten!”)
Defining “Expired” Foods
For the purpose of this post, I am using the term “expired” to describe a food that is past the expiration, use-by, or sell-by date. There is almost always a certain amount of time between a food’s expiration date and the date when it actually goes bad and becomes unusable. That in-between time is your window of opportunity to put that food item to good use!
So how do you know when a food has gone from “old but still usable” to downright rotten? Trust your senses of sight and smell! If the color or texture has changed dramatically, go ahead and throw it out. Likewise, if it smells bad or dramatically different from how it used to smell, throw it out.
Okay, so now that we’re all on the same page here, let’s get to the fun part! :-)
9 Useful Ways To Use Expired Foods
Use old mayonnaise to shine up your stainless steel appliances. It sounds strange, but the oil content in the mayo will really make your stainless steel sparkle! Check out more interesting uses for mayo at the link below.
2. Greek Yogurt
You can use past-its-prime Greek yogurt to make an exfoliating face mask! Greek yogurt is packed with lactic acid, which helps exfoliate dead skin cells to reveal brighter skin underneath.
In a small bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt and 1 tablespoon of honey. Apply the mixture to your face in an even layer. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then wash it off with warm water.
3. Ground Coffee
If your ground coffee has gotten stale, you can still put it to good use as a face scrub! Coffee is packed with antioxidants and has an astringent effect, a combination that can help nourish and tone your skin.
Just mix your stale ground coffee with enough milk to form a paste. Rub the coffee paste onto your skin for a minute or so. Then let the mixture sit for 20 minutes, and rinse clean.
Have a carton of milk that’s started to sour? Use it for baking! Add it to cakes, biscuits, waffles, and pancakes for a dose of added flavor. Slightly soured milk can be used as a substitute for buttermilk in a lot of baked goods, and they’ll turn out delicious!
You can read more about baking with expired milk at The Spruce Eats.
5. Wilted Herbs & Veggies
Have fresh herbs or veggies in your fridge that have started to look a little sad and wilted? Don’t toss them out! Store them in your freezer and use them later on to make homemade vegetable or chicken stock. And learn how easy it is to make your own homemade stocks at the link below!
6. Brown Sugar
I can’t even count how many times I’ve gone to grab my brown sugar, only to realize it had hardened into a brick. I used to think that made it unusable, but now I know better—you can use your blender to revive hard brown sugar!
Just pulse the brown sugar in your blender a few times until it softens up. You may need to add a few drops of water to help break up super-hard clumps.
Stale bread isn’t very pleasant to eat, but it makes great bread crumbs! Just pulse a few pieces of stale bread in your blender or food processor for easy homemade bread crumbs. Add a bit of salt and pepper or your favorite seasoning, and use in your favorite recipes for added crunch!
If you have some old eggs on hand, keep the shells! Eggshells are great for your garden, because they’re rich in calcium and other minerals. Just crush them up into tiny pieces and sprinkle them around your established plants. You can also sprinkle eggshells into the bottom of your holes during spring planting.
Who among us hasn’t waited a moment too long to use an avocado? While an overly-ripe avocado might not taste great, it can make a great moisturizing treatment for your hair!
Smash up the avocado in a bowl, then apply the mashed avocado to wet or dry hair. Let it sit for an hour, then wash it out with your normal shampoo and conditioner. Your hair will come out looking silky smooth and moisturized!
What’s your best tip for using less-than-fresh foods?