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rice, pasta, couscous: expiration dates?

DJHinAZ's picture

Ok, so BF and I were going through our store of canned food and trail mix type stuff as we get ready to go camping in a couple of weeks (Zion NP! Yay!), and we ended up having to do a purge of some trail mix-type stuff and a couple of cans of green beans (hey, it's camping food, and an easy way to get veggies after a long day of hiking). BF has become ultra-paranoid about expiration dates since last year he got some strange undiagnosed illness that left him really tired most of the time and just feeling "unwell". He finally started feeling better (we have some suspicions of the culprits, but no absolute certainty), so now he's very careful about things (understandably). It started a discussion about whether things like rice, pasta, and couscous would go "bad". I argued that if the pasta and couscous were whole-wheat, they could potentially go rancid, but I didn't think rice and non-whole-wheat pasta and couscous would go bad and you could probably still cook them up 5 years later without problems.

I'm sure there are opinions here... I'd be very interested to hear them! Thanks in advance!

Plover's picture

(post #35732, reply #1 of 4)

I am here to tell you that rice can also go rancid - at least brown rice can.

With these things, I think a sniff test is more useful than an expiry date. If it still smells fresh, it will fine.

I have actually used slightly off flour and rice and such because that was what there was and I didn't feel like shopping - and it has never made me sick.

Gretchen's picture

(post #35732, reply #2 of 4)

I had some cous cous recently that I thought was "rancid". Canned goods are sort of "forever" food. I can't think that pasta or rice would go bad.  I bought some nice stone ground grits from a mill last week (and flour, but I know to do it with that) and they say to store refrigerated.  For other grits/polenta, I have vac sealed some.

Gretchen

Gretchen
pemnel's picture

(post #35732, reply #3 of 4)

I've never had any of those things go bad.  I've always figured that if it's dried food (and stays dry) it will keep for a long, long time.  I will say, however that when this stuff comes home and the original package gets opened, it goes into an air tight container.


Of course piece of mind is priceless and foods such as these are fairly cheap, so-when in doubt, throw it out!


 


Edited 3/24/2008 2:16 am ET by pemnel

Marcia's picture

(post #35732, reply #4 of 4)

White rice and pasta won't go bad, but the cooking times for the rice might alter if it's very old.

DD found some cream of wheat in a bag, cooked and enjoyed it. She then looked at the expiration date which was 2003. She's planning to replace it, but it was fine. If it had been whole wheat, it would have been rancid for sure.