Expiration Dates

The world continues to spin in chaotic confusion, but I’ve decided it was time to shed some light on one small, dark corner of it. The refrigerator. 

Our refrigerator is largely unremarkable. It’s big. It’s cold. That’s about all I ask of it. Except, now that we’re all home more than ever, or maybe it’s just because the boys are getting older, I’ve noticed what’s inside the refrigerator is changing.

Last weekend, I was doing the weekly, admittedly wasteful, purge of the fridge. Out went four half-empty juice boxes, a bit of spoiled milk, a couple condiments, and some past-its-prime take-out. I reached for one more Styrofoam container and made the age-old mistake of taking a peek. 

The shocking site (and smell) has raised some concerns about expiration dates. During a global pandemic, Heaven forbid the Amazon Prime subscription fail to renew, or the Netflix streaming service expire prematurely. I was driving blissfully unaware of an outdated license for about a year or so when the DMV went dark due to Covid. Don’t tell my mother, but more than one zucchini sat on my countertop for longer than appropriate for breadmaking. 

But back to that small container from the depths of my fridge.

The contents.

They moved.

When I married Wade, I knew to expect an overflow of red meat in the crisper drawer versus a stockpile of spinach. With children came baby bottles, then the juice boxes, but now this. I’d somehow forgotten about the inevitable possibility of keeping plump, wiggly nightcrawlers far too close to my sourdough bread starter. Then again, there’s a pandemic going on. What’s a mom of little wild things to do?

I Googled it. 

Then I went down one virtual rabbit hole after another and ended up researching Twinkies. Despite all the myths that they could withstand a nuclear attack, and the experiment of a science teacher in Maine who kept one on his desk in near mint condition for thirty years, the actual recommended shelf life of a Twinkie is only twenty-five days. So, dear friends, consider me the columnist/blogger who poses questions instead of providing answers. 

What’s the acceptable expiration date on nightcrawlers? 

Oh, and fun fact: honey actually never spoils. A jar of honey was found in a 3,000-year-old Egyptian tomb and was still completely edible. Amazing! 

Just another reason honey bees are cooler than worms. 

Author: Neena

Neena is a Kentucky wife, mother, and beekeeper. Her first novel, THE BIRD AND THE BEES, is a Christian contemporary romance available now. Visit her at wordslikehoney.com.