As some of you may know, my last visit to my parents' place resulted in the discovery of teabags that had expired over ten years earlier. I'm not talking about one or two teabags; this was several full(-ish) boxes. And tea is good for at least two years before it even nominally expires. In addition, I discovered that an entire cabinet of dry goods had been transformed into a breeding ground for various moths, with sub-communities in the crackers, sun-dried tomatoes, rice, and several varieties of pasta.
My current visit was only three days long, and I am now departing with a Tupperware full of homemade trail mix that contains:
Hazelnuts (frozen, sell by 11/2005)
Pecans (frozen, use by 9/2008)
White chocolate chips (one of nine identical bags, nearly frozen in the garage)
Dried cranberries (see above, re: white chocolate chips)
plus the remains of the trail mix I brought with me: fresh peanuts, almonds, dried cranberries and dark chocolate chips.
I decided against including:
Almonds (frozen, best by 12/2009)
Walnuts (frozen, not yet expired!)
Pine nuts (frozen, best by 3/2008)
More almonds (frozen, boiled, skinned, then re-frozen; no date visible)
Yet more almonds (slivered, frozen, best by 9/2008)
More pecans (use by 9/25/2009)
Still more pecans (use by 10/2009)
Crystallized ginger (best by 08/15/09)
More crystallized ginger (bearing the cryptic inscription 29731)
More dark chocolate chips (still good!)
Golden raisins (01/29/10; so close!)
Dried white peaches (best by 7/16/08)
Pitted prunes (not yet expired!)
Dried bing cherries (use by 1/2009)
Dried montgomery cherries (three identical bags, nearly frozen in the garage)
Dried apricots (inexplicably dated both 5/2009 and 4/2010)
Under the most generous interpretations of these numbers, our fruits and nuts (and ginger) expired a grand total of 158 months ago. Granted, 51 months of that was the hazelnuts, but that's still a serious amount of expireditude.
I can't wait to get back to my kitchen, where nothing can be much more than 3 years old. Except the appliances. And the cooks.