Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Expired Strawberry Bread Thing

I'm a single, twenty-something living by myself. I go grocery shopping once or twice a month, and I have a habit of buying things that a single, twenty-something living by herself should not be buying. I mean, I try to be reasonable. I get the half-gallon of milk instead of the gallon. The six pack of eggs, instead of the dozen. Most of my "meat" is freezer food. Bread ... well, it's only 99 cents, so it's not like I need to feel bad if I don't use the whole thing.

But in any event, no matter how hard I try (which, admittedly, isn't very hard) I inevitably end up eating out way more than I end up eating in, and all my food tends to go bad. By the time I want some cereal, my milk's a week past the expiration date. I have a need for eggs maybe once every 2 or 3 months. And bread? Well, you probably don't want to know how long I keep a loaf around.

(Although this is why I don't buy french bread...)

Because of this, though, instead of buying new stuff every time that I see that my current stock has gone past its expiration date, I just go ahead and eat it anyway. Milk expired 2 weeks ago? As long as it smells okay, I'll drink it. That bread is 6 months old? I kept the twist tie on there pretty tightly, it's still sort of soft. Mountain Dew Girl came over for dinner one night and was horrified at the expiration date on my milk. She flat out refused to drink it! (I guess I should also mention that I had to cut some mold off the block of cheese I was using before I grated it, too.)

So when I saw that my package of strawberries (which I actually just purchased earlier this week!) were halfway toward molding, I decided I would bake some strawberry bread with it. But as I was pulling out all my ingredients, I realized that most of them were, well, expired.

It was almost laughable. The Jiffy mix expired back in August. The margarine said best before April. I had the option of two different half-used packages of eggs: one dated May and one June. (After some careful deliberation, I decided to use the June eggs. I mean, come on. I needed to be somewhat reasonable here.) Even my milk had expired 2 days ago. The only things that weren't expired seemed to be the spices (cinnamon and imitation vanilla) and the powdered sugar, although, honestly I couldn't actually find a date on that last one. Maybe powdered sugar never goes bad!

Anyway, so with my iffy ingredients (and a lot of substitutions and guesses) I began forging my strawberry bread. I was using a banana bread recipe on the back of the Jiffy box as a guideline, but I made some edits: I used powdered sugar instead of granulated (since I didn't have any of the latter), I used margarine instead of shortening, I added a splash of milk because I thought it was too dry, and added cinnamon and [imitation] vanilla. And, of course, a bunch of cut-up, almost-bad strawberries.

The batter tasted really good. I tried not to eat too much of it, since, well, 3 month old eggs and all. So I sprayed the pan with some cooking spray, dumped the mess in, and popped it in the oven. I was doubtful about the 55 minute cooking time it had suggested for the banana bread, so I put it down for 40 instead, checking on it every so often.

The smell was delicious, and 40 minutes was just about the perfect cooking time. It came out looking like a [somewhat] well-made dessert. But how was it going to taste?

It was delicious! I gobbled up that whole piece in a matter of seconds. I was actually going to put some butter on it, since I usually do that with muffins, but I didn't even get the chance. (I'll probably do that on my next piece, though.)

It was sweet, and kind of tasted like a fruit muffin. I probably could have tossed in some more of the almost-bad strawberries (I wasn't sure how much was going to be too much) but it really turned out well. An admirable treat, I'd say.

So there you have it, folks: The Expired Strawberry Bread Thing. So next time you see some expired ingredients in your cabinet, use the following approach to see if they're still usable:

1.) Did it expire recently? (For example, within the year six months?)
2.) Does it still smell okay?
3.) Then it's still good!

Another success for expired food!


  1. Looks great! Really understand the expiration dates. Maybe powdered milk would be better than "real" milk and well....there are powdered eggs too! When the Jiffy mix expires, well that is bordering on a problem. What could go bad in Jiffy Mix?

  2. You have a way of telling stories with a comedic twist :] I really enjoyed reading this entry. I love the idea of cooking/baking, but I never actually get the motivation to do so...therefore, I will continue to live vicariously through your baking (lol) and the food network! :D