7 hidden dangers in your fridge

Ever wonder how long you can keep that piece of cheese before it goes bad? Is that soft tomato OK to eat? The answer may surprise you

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    Fruits & Vegetables

    Now here are some foods that don’t have to be in perfect condition for you to enjoy them. Produce is the easiest to tell if it is starting to rot, because it won’t look good enough to eat!  Squishy, slimy, or stinky produce needs to go in the garbage. However, greens that are wilted can still be used in soups and stews; they have simply become a little dehydrated and started the aging process. To avoid having to throw out expensive fruits and vegetables, grocery shop more often. Buying enough for 3-5 days at a time will help ensure you don’t lose money. 
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    Moldy foods can be tricky and are sometimes a matter of preference.  If cutting a green fuzzy corner off a block of cheese doesn’t gross you out too much, then you can save and eat the rest. However, mold can also be dangerous, depending on how much and what food it appears on. If mold is covering the majority of the surface of the food, be safe and throw it out.  Any meat in your refrigerator that has any sign of mold should go in the trash right away.  Watch out for mold on bread, jams, yogurt, nuts, and most pre-cooked leftovers. With these foods, it is better to say goodbye than to get sick.
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    Freezer Burn

    Freezer burn does not make foods unsafe, but it does change the taste and quality of the food. Having food in the freezer too long makes the water molecules extract and freeze, which can make it taste dry and lose flavor and color, even when thawed. Everything from freezer-burned meat to ice cream can be safely eaten.  The freezer burned sections of the meat can be trimmed off before or after cooking.  Ice cream from the top of the tub, which can have heavy freezer burn, can be scraped off and the remaining ice cream should taste fine.
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    Wondering whether you should throw away ‘fishy smelling’ fish can be irritating, because of the expensive price tag in most grocery stores. Fresh raw fish has a very short shelf life, lasting only 1-2 days in the fridge.  Cooked fish leftover from a night at your favorite restaurant should last 3-4 days, but make sure you heat it thoroughly before you finish it. If you can’t remember how long it’s been since you bought it, a sure sign that your fish has gone bad is a strong smelly odor in your refrigerator. Fish should smell like fish, but should not be overpowering.
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    If the sale at the grocery store allows you to buy a lot of eggs at a time, go for it! The term ‘rotten egg’ has led people to believe that eggs are inedible much faster than they really are. Eggs last up to five weeks after purchase.
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    Glass of Milk

    Milk is one of the more straightforward foods to tell if it is past its prime. If it smells sour, then toss it. Still not sure of the smell?  The consistency should give a clue-any lumps or flakes means it needs to go. Cream, cottage cheese, and sour cream can be a little tricky, but generally stay safe for about 10 days past the date stamped on the label.  Yogurt can still be eaten a few days past the expiration date, but loses its flavor and nutritional value as it gets older, so it is probably worth throwing out. Cheese and butter last the longest, but it is best to finish them before they are four weeks old.
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    Poultry grilled chicken

    The best way to judge if the meat in your refrigerator is safe, is to check the expiration date. Even meat that looks, smells, and tastes fine could be dangerous.  Steaks and other red meats should not be consumed more than four days past the date on the package. Frozen meat lasts longer, but never thaw and re-freeze it. Use common sense. If meat is slimy, smells funny, or has a strange color, it should definitely be thrown away.
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