Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Food labels and storage

Last night my neighbor Jan asked if I had any corn starch. I did, but it was waaaay beyond shelf life, maybe 10 years or so, so she declined and went to the store. Corn starch is inert and has no viable anything in it. But that shelf was high and I was on the step stool, so I checked out what else had expired. Most of it. Like 2010. But what was the most gross was the powdered milk. It was brown! Yuk! Ever the librarian, I looked it up, and learned it's a known chemical reaction called The Maillard reaction which is responsible for the color change. "It’s the same process that gives crusty bread its golden hue and imparts flavor to roasted coffee beans. In the case of milk, the lactose molecules react with amino acids, leading to the formation of brown compounds. " It's why milk turns brown when heating at higher temps. 

Powdered milk is safe for long term storage, however, mine was probably over 10 years. And the top cabinet next to the stove is NOT cool which is best for storage. You can also freeze it. With long storage, the vitamins decrease some, but the other essential nutrients—such as protein, carbohydrates, and minerals—remain relatively stable for years. Co-Pilot generated the answer to my question about why powdered milk turned brown with age.

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