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Who Needs Expiration Dates?

That pizza I’ve been making? I’ve got a little secret to share, one that may shock and amaze you.

The yeast I’m using is old. Way, way, way old. I bought it years ago, when I was baking bread regularly, but for the last few years my yeasty needs have been infrequent, to say the least. I love baking bread, but if I bake it, I eat it. Bit by bit, I’ll work my way through a loaf in a single day. This is not good. So, for the most part, I’ve restrained myself, making only occasional forays into challah, whole wheat fig & pecan bread, and whole wheat hamburger buns. But you know what? Every single yeast-based post on this blog has used the same package of SAF Instant yeast.

It expired in 2005.

For this I say, God bless my freezer. That one little package, bought not long after its manufacturing date of September 2003, has lived on my freezer door for all this time. It takes up so little space, I hardly even know it’s there. But when I get the hankering to bake something bread-like, it does the trick. If its ancient bones are creaking, it sure isn’t complaining. And as long as my dough keeps rising, I say, “Expiration dates be damned.”

What’s hiding in your freezer (or pantry) that’s technically past its prime, but still serving your needs?

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Tia

    wow that's impressive! I keep my yeast in the freezer door too, so it's good to know the stuff lasts kept like that 🙂

    I often notice that yogurt is good up to about 1 wk after the date printed on the pkg.

  2. Jesse

    Breastmilk! I have some year old milk in the bottom drawer that I'm saving for my kids's breakfast cereal/oatmeal if they get sick 🙂

  3. debbie koenig

    TIa, I've noticed that too with yogurt. Though sometimes I'm not sure it's *really* still good since it already smells so tangy, kwim?

    Jesse: ha! How long does breastmilk last?

  4. jesse

    It lasts a really long time. Conservative estimates put it at 5 months, but most of the researchers and pump companies say it's good up to 12 months– even longer if it's a deep freezer. I say it's good til it ain't– kinda like your yeast! I worked too hard to get it and it is too important to my kids' health to just chuck it.

  5. The Little Foodie

    I just bought some of that yeast. HA! I hope it leaves my freezer a little faster, though, because yeast and baking powder die so fast here (in Hawaii) no matter where I keep it.
    I do love this yeast, though. So much better than my Costco purchases in the past!

  6. Carrietracy

    I have a jar of expired honey. What's up with honey expiring? Didn't they find some in the pyramids that was still edible. I totally just ignore it. It's not even weird or crystallized. Just completely fine, golden, liquidy expired honey.

    PS – Glad to find the blog's back!

  7. debbie koenig

    Jesse, that's tres cool re: how long it lasts. That stuff really is miraculous.

    Little Foodie, I wonder if it would help to double-wrap the package in aluminum foil? Either way, if mine's still good 5 years after expiration, I hope yours will give you at least a year!

    Carrietracy, that expiration date is a scam! My understanding is that honey does not expire, period. It may crystallize, but it's still good.

  8. Alexandra

    I do a lot of baking so, this is good to know! I threw out half a bag of yeast this spring, thinking it needed to be fresh. With the new bag I bought, I'll divide it in two and stash half in the freezer.

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