Tuesday, April 18, 2017

More Cleanup . . .

I'm on vacation for two weeks even though I had two weeks of unexpected leave with both the kidney stone and then my torn retina.  I really, really needed this time, however, and my boss was agreeable.  One of my besties is here for a couple of weeks taking her vacation, too, so that's great!  For the past couple of days we've been hanging out at home. watching various television shows, and going through my cookbooks.

As I continue on my new food journey, I wanted to look at the cookbooks I kept in the last purge.  Gotta tell you - a nice stack of books just went to my local Little Free Library.  I'm looking at recipes with a new eye now.  I did find some wonderful ones to try - lots of little sticky flags on various pages  :-)

I also decided that I needed to deal with my spice cabinet - it escaped the last go-round with the food cabinets.  So - I pulled everything out.  I have no earthly idea how all this stuff fit in that little cabinet . . .

As with the food cupboards, I found a lot of stuff that was expired, and, unfortunately, a lot of stuff that had salt in it!  Spice mixes often have salt - something that had never occurred to me before.

And I guess that stuff does actually wear out/expire . . . These are red pepper flakes.  I don't use them, but have them on hand.

The one on the left I'm sure was my mom's . . . (she's been gone 13 years next month).  The one on the right doesn't expire until 2018.  Quite a color difference!

I went through every bottle and jar - these made the cut because they don't have salt in them - but they have some possibly questionable ingredients in them for someone watching their oxalate.  Again, I don't have to watch my oxalate as closely as most other people who make kidney stones.  Salt is the biggie for me.  I'll be talking to my Health Coach about these.  Crossing my fingers that they will still be OK for me to use!

I have a question for you cooks out there - if a jar of spice has never been opened (i.e., it's still sealed under the lid), is the expiration date still a true expiration date?  

All of these are old - the Dill Weed has a 2006 expiration date and the Cinnamon Sticks don't even have an expiration date - but all of them are still sealed.  Thoughts?

Similar question for extracts - do they really expire/go bad??

Yes - that's a glass bottle with a metal lid.  You know that was my mom's.  :-)  They all have been opened, but they all still smell OK.

So - yeah, the spice cupboard is now set up for success!  The top shelf has all the questionable ingredients that I will be asking about in Jill Harris's Kidney Stone Prevention Course

Looks kinda empty, doesn't it?  I had a lot of spice blends, and, as mentioned, they nearly all had salt/sodium in them.  I'm doing well with limiting my salt.  I'm struggling, however, to get enough calcium and enough potassium in each day.  I'm certainly better than I was, but I'm still learning this new balancing act - and getting enough calcium has proved the most problematic because when I drink too much milk (Lactaid) or too much calcium-enriched orange juice, I have intestinal distress and have to run for the bathroom.  I'm sparing you the details.  You can imagine . . .

I can hardly wait for my course to start tomorrow!!  I know I'm going to learn so much every week - I already have a list of questions!  :-)


Michelle said...

No, the spices and extracts don't "go bad," they may just lose some flavor. I have some that are much older than yours and still use them!

calicokitty6 said...

I had an appointment with my diabetes doctor today. My potassium is a bit low. Since bananas and orange juice are not good options for me (glucose spikes through the roof), I asked what would help. He told me broccoli was a good choice.

We watch salt intake as well. Hubby has celiac disease and McCormick is the only spices that are safe for him. I can't use mixes since some have gluten/wheat in them from processing. It's easy to make my own from individual seasonings/spices.

A :-) said...

Michelle - I knew you would know :-)

Ely said...

Yeah, both spices and herbs lose flavor over time though the spices last longer. Are you going to use them any time soon? May be worth tossing anyways and starting with new stuff from a local ethnic market or Penzeys.

Extracts don't generally go bad as long as there is some alcohol (think of aged bottles of rum, whiskey, etc). That said, the flavor does change and who knows what else could be going on with the flavoring, like with that strawberry. But then, if they're sitting unopened for years...

I would definitely check that vanilla though and make sure the screw top hasn't corroded. You don't want to take a chance and get gunk in the extract whenever you open it next.

Linda said...

I'm sure your coach will tell you that dark leafy greens are a great source of calcium. I think spinach is high in oxalates, but there are plenty of others to choose from: kale, arugula, mustard, collards, turnip, broccoli, bok choy, etc. https://www.ars.usda.gov/plains-area/gfnd/gfhnrc/docs/news-2013/dark-green-leafy-vegetables/

BTW, I usually catch up using a reader, so I'm not sure when you updated the blog background but I'm loving it. It reminds me of a painting. :-)