Don’t Throw These Away: Foods That Last Beyond Their Expiration Date

Although some people throw products away after the “best by” date, they may not need to. The federal government does not regulate these printed dates, such as “best by,” “sell by,” and “expiration.” That’s why some foods remain fresh after these dates.

But which foods are still safe to eat? You may be surprised. Some animal products can last for weeks beyond the printed date, while other foods remain edible forever. If you want to save money and food, read which foods survive beyond the expiration date, and how you can tell when they go bad.

Salad Mixes

Bags of salad mix containing fresh spinach are seen on the shelf at a market.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Those plastic bags of salad mixes usually last beyond their expiration date. While unopened, these bags can remain fresh for up to ten days in the fridge. After opening the bag, use it within five days. Some greens, such as cabbage, remain edible for two months if they aren’t chopped.

To maximize the shelf life, line your salad mix bag with a paper towel. That will soak up moisture and prevent molding. Replace the towel every few days. When the leaves wilt or smell rotten, toss them.