Here’s the first thing you should know, says the author, J. Kenji López-Alt:
Expiration dates are not expiration dates, he notes:
Completely voluntary: The food product dating under the U.S. Department of Agriculture is completely voluntary for all products, with the exception of baby food.
Best guess: Food product dating has nothing to do with food safety. It is simply the manufacturer’s best guess as to when its product will no longer be at peak quality.
Conservative dates: In addition, the manufacturers tend to be conservative with their dating. That’s why products that expired two months ago—even fresh products like eggs—are often still fine. (To determine the freshness of anything, give it the sniff test. If there is no off odor and the product looks normal, it’s fine.)
One of the ways to extend the shelf life of all food is too keep groceries in cool, dark cupboards or pantries with the doors closed to shut out light.
Similarly, keep the refrigerator door open for the minimal time necessary to remove what you want. Browsing for minutes on end will raise the temperature, which will shorten the shelf life of perishable items.
If your refrigerator is so packed you can’t see items, it’s time to clean it out.
Here are tips from The Container Store on how to organize your refrigerator.
Read the full article on expiration dates in the New York Times.
It will tell you, among other things:
 Classico Riserva pasta sauce (photo © Classico).
 Cartons of eggs (photo by Rick Payette is licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0).