A Food & Travel Blog

Confess Your Condiment Crime & Win a Beerenberg Prize Package!

08/03/2013 | By

I’ve had my head in the fridge this week, doing a rare bit of refrigerator archaeology.  Diving around on the less-frequented shelves I discovered things in jars that I certainly don’t recall buying and which are now possibly a danger to public health – just how long do anchovies last, anyway?   In fact, I’m wondering if some of these condiments are even manufactured any more.

But I know I’m not alone.  Apparently Beerenberg has been looking into this and has discovered the dirty underbelly of our fridges.  Their research* has shown that Australia’s No 1 Condiment Crime is keeping condiments well past their use by date – with more than a quarter of Australians with out of date condiments in their kitchens holding onto them for more than a year beyond their “Best By” cut-off.  (I’ve got to be frank – my crimes were well over that one year mark. *blush*) Apparently crime number 2 is the purchase of interestingly obscure condiments that languish passed over and forgotten.  It seems that 60% of Australians have condiments in their kitchen they’ve never even opened. (I’ll be putting my hand up for that one, too.)

In an effort to freshen up Australian fridges and liven up the selection of condiments that you do have on hand Beerenberg are offering my readers the chance to win a delicious selection selection of their products.  All you have to do is to put your hand on your heart and ‘fess up to the oldest or strangest thing you have found in your fridge or pantry.  No need to be ashamed here – we’re all in good company.  Sally Paech, Beerenberg’s Marketing manager, says she has seen it all!  “We’ve seen ice-cream flavoured with tomato sauce, a spice collection which is more than 40 years old, and a personal favourite of mine is the lad who has confessed to having ‘Spreadable Bat Breath’ in his pantry.”

The prize pack up for grabs contains these gorgeous Beerenberg products:

–       1 x Caramelised Onion
–       1 x Balsamic Beetroot Relish
–       1 x Tomato Sauce
–       1 x Blueberry Jam
–       1 x Chilli Jam
–       1 x Taka Tala Dressing
To be in the running to win this generous prize package all you need to do is leave a comment at the end of this post, sharing your shame and telling us what is the oldest/weirdest thing you have in your fridge or pantry.  This competition is open to Australian residents only (sorry to my international readers) and will be open until 12 noon (CST) Monday 18 March 2013 when I will draw the winner at random.  Winners will be announced on this page and notified by email.  If the winner does not contact me within 48 hours I will conduct a redraw.

*Beerenberg commissioned Cint International to undertake its research and the findings are based on responses to ten questions asked of more than 300 Australian grocery buyers.


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  1. Kimberley @ Fruit Salad & Mixed Veg

    Does a freezer count?
    We have frozen prawn heads and legs in our freezer. We peeled the prawns and did not want to make the wheelie bin smell bad. So, we decided we would store them in the freezer until bin day. Now it’s been a month or so and we keep forgetting to take them out on bin day.

  2. InTolerant Chef

    Well it’s not my fault- honest! I bought since horseradish cream to smear and seal on a beef roast, for a dinner party- only to find out as I was putting it away that it was 2 YEARS past the useby date!! I only bought it that morning though…. Thank goodness none of the guests keeled over with poisoning. Yuck!

  3. Mick G

    I can’t guarantee the age but I did once find a mouldy jar of cream cheese and it had been well over a year since I had bought any

  4. pelligate

    I have 20 year old Miso paste – brought as a home made gift from Japan. I can’t bear to throw it out BUT I’m too afraid to use it!

  5. cath

    I’m a condiment collector I can’t help myself
    I have dozens of used jars on every shelf
    Some the used date was so long ago
    The labels worn off,They’re really no go
    But i keep them anyway just in case
    I might need them one day when i need to make paste.

  6. Kim

    It stands to reason, if I bought it, I didn’t think it was weird, at the time. However, I will confess: that bottle of orange flower water at the back of the cupboard has been there for so long, that I’m scared to open it in case I hear a tiny voice from inside, calling for help…

  7. Liz

    I too have the ‘how long can you keep anchovies’ question. Don’t know why I bought a huge jar since I’m the only one that eats anchovies. In the freezer a chicken head saved for fox bait!

  8. Hotly Spiced

    Well…I am guilty as charged. I was cleaning out my fridge a little while ago and I found broken glass at the back of the vegetable crispers. I have no idea how it got there or where it came from. I took everything out from the shelves above it and found no evidence of anything broken. I still wonder where all that broken glass came from and how it got into my fridge xx

  9. Karlene

    Nothing too unusual but the quantity of condiments is the killer….most have only been used once. Sesame oil, dressings, BBQ sauce, oyster sauce, brandy butter, a fete bought lemon butter and passionfruit butter…the list goes on. This should be my kick in the butt to clear them out I guess. Oh, but I might use them. LOL

  10. karina w

    I am 35 and I can’t drive or cook. My fiance is going to suffer. I only cook steamed vegetables and rice for dinner.

  11. Di

    A jar of Horlicks in the pantry, it’s been there since it first came out on the market and has settled and is harder than a rock. Nan gave it to me, and now she’s no longer with us, I just can’t throw it out.

  12. Ernie

    I have a roll of toilet paper in the pantry. Faded, yellowed and disintegrating! Why it is there I do not know, but thanks for making me go look, I might actually throw it out now!!!!

  13. Tandy

    I’m a bit obsessive and clear out my condiment fridge on a regular basis 🙂

  14. Sonya N

    I have a jar of caramelised onion chutney which sounds really lovely but I remember it being really acidic and horrible, not sweet and decadent as the name suggests. I’ve kept it in my fridge for the past 3 years, “just in case”. In case of what I wonder? In case I decide I want a bout of food poisoning??

  15. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef

    My father-in-law went to the fridge and said, “Maureen, there’s nothing in there to eat.”

    That’s because the week before he came I tossed everything out. I knew he’d eat stuff without looking and I didn’t want to kill him.

    So I’m sure this means I can’t win but once a long time ago I pulled a plastic bag out of the crisper drawer that was so demolished I couldn’t tell what it once was. gross

  16. Vija

    Still sitting in my shelf is a chilli connection that I bought years and years ago. One big jar of the most fiery chilli that I have ever tasted. I like a bit of spice but this was so hot it would boil water. It’s still sitting there on the fridge shelf, and I peek at it every now and again, but think I am doing the right thing by ignoring it for the most part because no fauna and flora would be safe if I emptied the jar contents anywhere, so that I could do the right thing and recycle the jar. Its a chilli standout !

  17. Judi

    I had black beans and palm sugar in my pantry, along with out of date condiments I disposed of ruthlessly,some had a use by date of 2003 !

  18. Angela Reeder

    I own a jar of pickled onions that has resided in my fridge for seven years. They’re pickled right? They won’t go off right?

  19. Louise Miller

    An alternative crime – certain condiments in my fridge never make it to a meal (they are probably lucky to make it as far as the fridge). My children eat them by the spoonful straight from the jar! (caramelised onion, blue cheese dressing, lemon curd) Sophisticated tastes that I can’t afford!

  20. Tom

    We moved from Sydney to Adelaide in Jan and in the process of cleaning out our pantry and fridge I found:
    – a pack of FruChocs that were 3 years past the used by date (how did I not know they were there?!)
    – a tub of yoghurt 8 months past the used by date (I found out it grows mould, then dries up)
    – what used to be 300g of butternut pumpkin I remember losing about 2 years ago.

    And just now, I threw away a pack of Crown Mints that went out of date in April 2010.

    Damn you for making me confess this! 🙂

  21. Anna

    Beerenberg condiments don’t stand a chance at my house and are always gone well before the use by date. However I have just found some Hoi Sin from 2009 – goodbye Hoi Sin!

  22. Lizzy (Good Things)

    I’m always amazed by how many jars of Hoisin and Fish sauce we find!

  23. Julia R

    I could write a book on out-of-date condiments in my house – how embarrassing. My husband loved all sorts of sauces but he died suddenly 4 years ago and I could not bring myself to waste them. One example is raspberry vinaigrette bought in Tassie in 2000. Still looks lovely.

  24. LittlePoppet

    I lived with my Nanna for a while after my parents moved. One day we were making sausage rolls and I was getting mixed herbs out the pantry and I happened to come across a jar of peppercorns from 1985! A year before I was born! What the..?!?! Not to mention the ‘red’ food colouring I tried to use once….I don’t know when that was from, but it was that old that I used what was left and it didn’t even colour the icing!

  25. Fran @ G'day Soufflé

    My mother passed away 15 years ago and she had kept all her old Schilling spice tins from the 1950’s- I still have them in my pantry (still has a few dried spices inside)! These are now collector’s items selling on eBay- can’t bear to throw them out!

  26. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    Hehe this isn’t an entry but until recently, my mother had stuff from last century! I threw it out because I didn’t want my parents getting sick from really strange, old salad dressings etc that I bought when I was living at home.

  27. Chris

    When my daughter was younger she had a rather terrible habit of collecting her poop!

    I had 3 children under 3.5 at the time, and I had them all down for naps and went to the the fridge for some milk for a well deserved cuppa.

    I noticed in there a heinz baby basics bowl, and I thought that was a bit odd as the girls were too old for them at that point, and my son was only an infant and we were not using them yet.

    I opened the lid to find another little collection of her poop.

    To this day I have no idea why or how she got it in there!

    Thankfully this phase only lasted a few weeks and we found poop in all sorts of places during that time!

    So yes, poop is definately something I never thought I would find stored in my fridge, and certainly worse than any out of date items I may have found!

  28. janine gardiner

    I have a tin of Strawberry Quik in my cupboard which expired in 2008, but it still smells alright to me, and what if i’m hankering after a strawberry milk one day , which I obviosly havent for the last five years but you never know.

  29. cityhippyfarmgirl

    Love all these confessions!! You could make a book about them all.

    I once stayed at an old ladies house that had leftover takeaway fish and chips wrapped up in newspaper in the freezer- dated 5 years previously.

    And for me, I had a placenta in an ice cream container in my freezer up until very recently 🙂

  30. celia

    I’m not telling…nor entering…but I do have to laugh at some of these comments! Maybe it would just be easier if they took the expiry date off products? I suspect a lot of them are just made up anyway.. 😉

  31. Jessie Hay

    A tiny sample jar of Beerenberg tomato ketchup expiry Oct 2010- and it is about to go in the bin lol. I have no idea why it hasn’t been used and why it has been kept all this time!

  32. Anna @ The Littlest Anchovy

    I found a creature once. It may have been some left over stir fry…it may have been some forgotten ham. It definitely would not have been cake – that would never live long enough to morph into the creature that I found. It may have been breathing and I swear that it winked at me. I think it had a soul.

  33. karina

    Rice. I am too lazy to cook it everytime so I make a big batch for the week and store it in the freezer.

  34. Jonell Galloway

    I’m so moved that you included The Rambling Epicure on your list of favorite blogs and sites. I so appreciate the mention, which only comes thanks to our team — including you, Amanda — of dedicated, serious food writers and artists. Thank you.

  35. Flossyfewclothes

    I have to say the most “unusual” thing I’ve ever found was not in the fridge..but in the (chest) freezer, soon after my marriage break-up I was cleaning it out and I came across Mr Wrong’s top denture! He used to carry them in his top pocket and one day they had disappeared I of course got the blame….he obviously had been searching for his personality at sometime or other and they had dropped in there…..lol

  36. Kevin Kelly

    My Dads Ashes in a special place in the pantry with his special brand of beer in a six pack beside him, he is never going to go thirsty

  37. Val C.

    Some pig’s trotters I was given as a present and have no intention of using in a blue fit!

  38. Hannah

    Mustard and dill aioli from 2009. Straight to the bin. Terrible thing is that is still smells ok and it probably would have been eaten, had the use-by date not been checked!

  39. rebecca scarinci

    a 5kg jar of nutella……….its my private stash at the moment because I sit there at night watching movies with it between my legs and spoon in hand

  40. Amanda McInerney

    Can you please email me with your postal address asap & these goodies will be on their way to you!