(AscendHealthy.com) – You can tell with just a glance (or sniff) when it’s time to toss items from your refrigerator like wilted lettuce, molding oranges, or someone’s science experiment with leftovers that are turning a strange shade of green. But did you know that certain pantry staples and other kitchen essentials also should be tossed out regularly? Discover 7 items you might need to toss from your kitchen.
1. Expired Cooking Oils
Canola oil, peanut oil, olive oil, palm oil, and other types of cooking oils may reside in your kitchen cabinet for months or even years. But even long-lasting cooking oils have expiration dates, so it’s important to regularly check them. In addition, toss out bottles of cooking oil that has chipped necks (remove the lid to check) or have a rancid odor. Re-tighten the lid and clean the bottle of any oil you plan to keep.
2. Outdated Condiments
Your refrigerator probably contains all types of condiments, including mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, soy sauce and maybe even sriracha. Those taste-enhancing condiments all come with expiration dates. If you previously transferred the condiment to a different plastic bottle, check to see if there’s an odor or if the sauce has separated. If so, toss it.
3. Plastic Containers
Plastic containers are so convenient for storing leftovers, meal prepping and storing snacks. There are certain signs that your plastic container needs to go. If you have plastic containers that you frequently put in the microwave, regularly check them for signs of cracking, deformation, or discoloration. Those changes in the container mean it’s time to toss it. The breakdown of the plastic could mean that chemicals might start leaching into your foods.
4. Expired Spices
Spices don’t get stale as quickly as a loaf of bread, but they still come with expiration dates. Plan to check the expiration dates on your spice bottles several times yearly. If you can’t locate an expiration date or previously transferred your spice into a different bottle, check the odor. A loss of scent means it’s time to toss it — or use it in a potpourri.
5. Damaged Cutting Boards
If you rely on your cutting board to cut up your fruits and vegetables by hand, check the board for scratches and cuts. A large number of scratches or cracks can turn into a place for bacteria to thrive — and that means it’s time to replace that cutting board.
6. Outdated Food
Kitchen cupboards and pantries often contain all types of foods that don’t need refrigeration, including packages of flour, boxes of cereal, cans of vegetables and containers of nuts. A few times each year, check the expiration date on all those kitchen staples. Toss items that are expired. In addition, move those with upcoming expiration dates to the front of the shelves.
7. Certain Foods After A Power Outage
Some foods should be tossed from your refrigerator and freezer after a power outage, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The guidelines are as follows:
- If 4 hours have passed without electricity, toss fish, meat, dairy, eggs, cut-up vegetables and fruits, and any leftover food from your refrigerator.
- If 48 hours have passed without electricity, the items in your freezer are probably not safe to refreeze. Your choices are to cook everything and store it or toss it.
- If a food smells odd or has changed color or texture, toss it.
By investing a short amount of time every 3-4 months, you can help keep the contents of your kitchen fresher and healthier. And by tossing out expired spices and stale foods like cereals or old flour, you might also enhance the flavor of your food. As a general rule of thumb, remember: When in doubt, toss it out.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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