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What unused items are sitting in the back of your food pantry you can’t bring yourself to throw out?

After years I finally did a serious clean-out/scrub-down of my food pantry. It’s something I usually do every spring, but this time I threw out *everything* that I knew hadn’t been used in a long time. Over the years there were a few items I kept putting back during cleaning even though I knew they were expired and I’d probably never use again. Why? I think I had weird mental block about them.

I found a half empty box of Ortega taco shells, sealed in a jumbo ziplock bag (a habit I got into because I’m paranoid about bugs). We laughed when I checked the expiration date because we knew it would be old. But it was from 2007! Whaaaat was I thinking?!

I also found an opened bag of flour from god knows when (too afraid to check... also sealed in a ziplock), an half-empty can of baking powder that had solidified, a small can of half-used wasabi powder also solidified, two packets of Great Value onion soup mix from eons ago, and a plastic container filled with those salt and pepper packets you get from fast food places (many of them had yellowed paper).

The worst was a almost full jar of McCorimick coriander seeds I know I bought at my old NYC apartment, which means it could have been purchased in the 90’s. What. (the exp date on the bottom made no sense)

Out it all went... finally. And they weren’t even glamorous food items. I’m so ordinary. I’m a slob and a hoarder. Sharing my shame.

by Anonymousreply 50Last Sunday at 10:53 AM


by Anonymousreply 1Last Saturday at 6:01 AM

I'm not a hoarder or pack rat, but I have a similar problem with throwing stuff like that out.

It's not that I'm saving it exactly, it just seems like such a waste until it's for past the point of being usable that it feels like it okay to waste it.

Try cleaning out your medicine cabinet. I just did that one.

by Anonymousreply 2Last Saturday at 6:03 AM

I threw out 4 boxes of bone broth yesterday after finding, to my disappointment, that they'd expired over a year ago. If they had been in cans, rather than cartons, I might have tested one out to see if they were really bad or not, but I'm pretty wary about giving myself food poisoning.

What do you guys think about expiration dates?

With the fridge, I pretty much always assume everything in it has gone bad, if it wasn't purchased/opened within the last 2 weeks.

by Anonymousreply 3Last Saturday at 6:12 AM

Oh, please don’t ask, OP.

by Anonymousreply 4Last Saturday at 6:22 AM

I’d imagine some DL’ers are far worse than others. Do tell?

by Anonymousreply 5Last Saturday at 6:28 AM

Sometimes I don't throw things out because I think, "would I have not eaten this if I were in Auschwitz or Dachau?" I think I have a bag of really old coffee in my freezer that's there because of this reasoning.

But things get crowded and I have to toss something. Most recently it was some old, dried chickpeas, which I kept in a metal cookie container from TJ's. And also, some years-old Japanese bread crumbs.

I have some really crappy tuna fish in the fridge—Starkist, I think—but I apply the concentration camp logic every time I think of tossing it: "Would Mr. Rosenthal have loved to come upon this when he was in Auschwitz?" And it immobilizes me.

by Anonymousreply 6Last Saturday at 6:36 AM

Tangential: our family has a lake cottage in Ontario. At best, it's occupied two months out of the year.

A couple of summers ago, I went through the spice cabinet. We had stuff (nutmeg, cinnamon) that expired in the early 80s. The packaging was VERY dated but charming.

Same with the medicine cabinet -- Band-Aids, Q-Tips, Skin so Soft -- all dating to the 1980s.

It was like entering a time machine!

(And yes, I threw out the expired stuff.)

by Anonymousreply 7Last Saturday at 6:37 AM

I have an unopened bottle of jalapeno ketchup that's about five years old, and a couple packages of chocolate chips. I keep meaning to make chocolate chip cookies, but have yet to get around to it. But chocolate keeps practically forever, so I hang onto them.

by Anonymousreply 8Last Saturday at 6:41 AM

I have a bunch of these old Ocean Spray drink mix packets in various flavors that I can’t bring myself to toss even though they’re long expired. I hoarded up when they were discontinued and was using them sparingly to make them last but it’s to the point I should throw them out.

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by Anonymousreply 9Last Saturday at 6:53 AM

I think my mom had some odd Durkees spices in dated looking metal tins from the 60s into the 80s. I had I small can of Safeway Crown Colony allspice that I must have had for 15 years before I threw it away - I hadn’t lived in Safeway territory since 1998. It’s silly not to throw it out because it loses its potency after a few months but I kept it just in case I ever needed it again. I also had a tube of “umami” I bought at Trader Joe’s out of curiosity but I could never find a use for it. When it expired I opened it to see what it tasted like then threw it out.

by Anonymousreply 10Last Saturday at 7:00 AM

[quote]I also had a tube of “umami”

¿Cómo? ¿Quiene es mami?

by Anonymousreply 11Last Saturday at 7:05 AM

Oh, nothing much.

by Anonymousreply 12Last Saturday at 7:06 AM

Andy Warhol-inspired Campbell’s soup can and fig paste. And tons of flour. Probably the equivalent of five of those small bags.

by Anonymousreply 13Last Saturday at 7:19 AM

Ugh! I just look and there’s a dusty coffee mug filled with those free lollipops you get at banks, which I always took but never ate. I must have kept putting them in the mug and at some point shoved the whole thing back there. Must have been years ago because sugar is all oozing and seeped through the paper. I can’t believe the ants didn’t move in. Out!

by Anonymousreply 14Last Saturday at 7:38 AM

This has inspired me to clean my cupboards this weekend. Who knows what treasures I’ll find?

by Anonymousreply 15Last Saturday at 7:44 AM

YES! This expensive cake mix from Sur La Table- Its by Baked and is "Happy Birthday Confetti" and was around 15.00. It involves "egg whites" and "buttermilk" so I never took the time to make it.. I actually purchased buttermilk yesterday, but I realized that the mix expired in November of 2017!!!

by Anonymousreply 16Last Saturday at 7:47 AM


by Anonymousreply 17Last Saturday at 7:49 AM

R17 - I admit - I'm just like that aunt in the Geico commercial. I go through refrigerators and cupboards like that a couple times a year - drives my partner nuts, but the first time through I found a lot of stuff from 2007-2012.

That's just gross.

by Anonymousreply 18Last Saturday at 7:57 AM

Pointless DL threads

by Anonymousreply 19Last Saturday at 8:01 AM

We want to be underwhelmed.

by Anonymousreply 20Last Saturday at 8:12 AM

I have 2 cans of "foul mudammas," Egyptian fava beans, I got at an international grocer--probably five years ago. Are they still okay? Why don't I just eat them--I like them! I think OP is right and there is something psychological about it.

Shouldn't the Auschwitz rule be that you eat it right then? I never put a name to it, but when I think of my ancestors I hate to waste food.

by Anonymousreply 21Last Saturday at 8:19 AM

I had a box of bay leaves at our cottage that had a 19 cent purple-inked price sticker on it. Must have been 40 yrs or more. Also vanilla extract with unmistakable 70's font on the label.

by Anonymousreply 22Last Saturday at 8:22 AM

Bullion cubes galore! Solidified, oily and disgusting. Goodbye.

by Anonymousreply 23Last Saturday at 8:26 AM

This thread is making me laugh!

by Anonymousreply 24Last Saturday at 8:26 AM

Roughly twenty boxes containing various new fangled cooking devices, ranging from a bagel maker to a falafel ball presser. All of them are opened, used once or twice, then put back in their original boxes after they sat on the counter unused over a year. Thank good I put them back in their original packaging... for when I move one day. But I won’t. Who will dust them off and decide what to do with them once I die?

by Anonymousreply 25Last Saturday at 8:45 AM

R25 No one. They’ll eventually place your urn of ashes back there too, once it sits on the counter unused for over a year.

by Anonymousreply 26Last Saturday at 8:47 AM

I think the dry onion soup was ok to keep and use for dip! No shame!

by Anonymousreply 27Last Saturday at 8:58 AM

Lots and lots of unused boxes of sugar-free Jell-O. Very old. I think I was convinced it was the secret to loosing weight at one point.

by Anonymousreply 28Last Saturday at 9:13 AM

[quote] it was the secret to loosing weight

Oh, dear.

by Anonymousreply 29Last Saturday at 9:15 AM

Lots of cans of Campbell’s cream of chicken soup. It’ll get eaten!

by Anonymousreply 30Last Saturday at 9:23 AM

Spam! I have many cans stashed for an extreme emergency.

by Anonymousreply 31Last Saturday at 9:29 AM

I will *never* clear out the back of my food pantry. Too gargantuas of a task. Like cleaning. An old attic. There are so many things back there. God knows how old. I’ve officially become my grandmother.

The fridge is a different story.

by Anonymousreply 32Last Saturday at 10:54 AM

The Lindbergh baby.

by Anonymousreply 33Last Saturday at 10:56 AM

We used to tease my mom about never removing old food from the back of the pantry.

She’d always snap back, “If I smell something or it starts to crawl, I’ll throw it out. Otherwise shut up!”

by Anonymousreply 34Last Saturday at 11:01 AM

My neighbor Belva is gone, rest her soul. But I'll always have the can of Libby's canned pumpkin she gave me to remember her by.

by Anonymousreply 35Last Saturday at 11:07 AM

You want names or just descriptions?

by Anonymousreply 36Last Saturday at 11:12 AM


by Anonymousreply 37Last Saturday at 11:13 AM

Health Valley Low Sodium Vegetarian Chili

by Anonymousreply 38Last Saturday at 11:26 AM

All my Janet Jackson CDs

by Anonymousreply 39Last Saturday at 11:27 AM

A doorway to Narnia

by Anonymousreply 40Last Saturday at 11:34 AM

Many gifted food items, mostly Christmas gifts... mostly jarred preserves and homemade ground spices from people’s gardens. It lovely but stuff that I know I’ll never eat but don’t have the heart to throw out. And yes there’s a fruitcake back there.

by Anonymousreply 41Last Saturday at 11:40 AM

R27, even onion soup mix gets old--I had no shame and put it in some fresh sour cream and it ruined it. Too bad because the soup was an heirloom I'd had for 10 years.

by Anonymousreply 42Last Saturday at 11:48 AM

[quote] ranging from a bagel maker to a falafel ball presser.

[quote]Who will dust them off and decide what to do with them once I die?

You want us to worry about your ball presser?

Sorry, Miss, I’ve got problems of my own.

by Anonymousreply 43Last Saturday at 4:34 PM

Bunya Bunya nuts. They were $150 per pound, I didn’t use them, and they’re staying there until I climb the six foot ladder. Maybe they’ll increase in value as they age.

by Anonymousreply 44Last Saturday at 5:49 PM

I really do not want to go digging around back there.

by Anonymousreply 45Last Sunday at 6:47 AM

I keep useless objects of all kinds, but not food and pantry items. I have never-used cooking tools of every fucking kind. But no weird things in the back of my pantry. I surely have wine in my cellar that's gone off but that's sort of the nature of a wine cellar. I do systematically throw out wine that I know doesn't age well. But there are reds and some Chardonnays, Sémillons and Arintos that you never know until you open them.

by Anonymousreply 46Last Sunday at 6:57 AM

I just cleaned out my pantry as well and found three expired boxes of coconut Jello pudding mix. No memory of buying them. Why coconut, and why so many? The mind boggles.

by Anonymousreply 47Last Sunday at 7:58 AM

I have a can of something called "Tuno" that I accidentally bought at Sprouts. I thought I was buying wild caught tuna, but it's some kind of vegan product with soy. The thought of it disgusts me, but if shit hits the fan over the next few months and I run out of everything else, it's there as a last resort.

by Anonymousreply 48Last Sunday at 9:03 AM

My sister has a solid strategy for the apocalypse.

She has a survival box of canned goods, water, pasta etc. Each year, she donates the entire box to food drives, then replaces the items in the box.

It's simple and effective.

by Anonymousreply 49Last Sunday at 10:30 AM

[quote] Why coconut, and why so many? The mind boggles.

I love stories like this. Many times I’ve found things in my house and thought “what the fuck was I thinking when I bought this?”

by Anonymousreply 50Last Sunday at 10:53 AM
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