When I return from grocery shopping, I use a sharpie marker and write the date on the outside of such items as eggs, salad dressings and mayonnaise. That way as my week progresses, I know what is the oldest and what really needs to get used up.
For instance, this week my eggs were dated two weeks old and when I looked in the carton, I had two left from this date. I boiled these two when I prepared dinner. My mayonnaise was getting a little dated also. So I made egg salad sandwiches for lunch.
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When I come home from the supermarket with 'staples' for my pantry shelves (cans, boxes, pkgs., etc.), I use a black permanent marker and record the date I purchased the item: Ex. 10/1/04.
I do something similar (mark just the month, with a code for the year). I also mark the use-by date, which from what I understand recently became required in English, not code, on many canned goods, below that, so I can see what I need to use up by when. (10/17/2004)
By Susan B
My new favorite thing to do is whenever I open a jar of something (spaghetti sauce, ketchup, jelly, mayo, etc.), I write the date on the top with a marker. An example would be the jug of salsa I recently purchased. I wrote "opened Feb. 24". This helps me to see several things: 1. How old is this item, 2. How fast or slow are we using the item, and 3. It helps me to decide if the larger size is really consumable in the time it can be safely stored (for instance, a large jar of applesauce).
Hope this helps you as well!
By Denise from Nebraska
This is a great idea. I wish all manufacturers' markings were easy to decipher, but until they are, this is a very good way to keep track of the age of food items. (03/23/2007)
I do this too! My husband was always complaining about not knowing how long a leftover had been in the fridge so I put a blank sticky label on the container and write the date on it. I also do it with condiments, lunch meat, etc. Great minds think alike! (03/23/2007)
I think this is a great idea! I was wondering tho, does anyone know how long certain things last. I mean like salsa, ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, salad dressings and other condiments? I periodically go through all the condiment bottles in the frig and pitch anything I think has been in there too long. It would be nice to know when I opened or just how long we should keep such items.
I just opened a jar of salsa last night when I made tacos. Now I'm wondering how long will it keep in the frig, already opened? (03/25/2007)
Now THIS is a fantastic tip! I never thought to do this, but I agree it is a great idea for things that you don't really use that often. Seeing that date staring at us as we move things around in the fridge might just encourage us to use it up in a recipe too. Thanks Denise. (08/01/2007)