Sunday, May 5, 2019

Prepping Lesson Learned

I had half a head of lettuce in my fridge that needed to be used up, so I made myself a salad to go with supper.  There was no Ranch Dressing in the fridge so I raided my pantry closet, knowing there were three bottles of it on the shelf.

When I opened the dressing bottle, the contents smelled odd.  When I looked closely, I saw the color was darker than it should be.  The second bottle was the same as was the third.  They went in the trash.

The expiration date on all three bottles was Feb 2017.  Ordinarily I don't pay much attention to expiration dates or 'Best if used by' dates.  Many commercially canned foods are good long after those dates.  Apparently Ranch Dressing isn't one of them.

I don't know if the room where they were stored was too warm or if it was because so many foods like that are now packaged in plastic rather than glass.  I have had the same problem with ketchup in plastic bottles.  I also had one jar of mayo that tasted off, but I think that was because I bought the cheaper store brand.

I know there are dry mixes for ranch dressing.  I may try that.  I don't use much dressing, so it makes more sense to use a mix rather than try to keep bottles of it on hand.

I also found this recipe that looks good, so I may try it before buying the commercial mix.


1/2 cup nonfat dry powdered milk
2 tablespoons dry parsley flakes
1 teaspoon dill weed
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon onion flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon brown sugar

Mix all ingredients. Store in an airtight container. To make dressing, mix 1 heaping tablespoon into 1 cup buttermilk that's been mixed with 1 cup mayonnaise. Stir until well blended. Store covered in refrigerator until ready to use. Wait at least 30 minutes for flavors to combine.


1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 heaping tablespoon Ranch Dressing Mix

Stir all ingredients together and refrigerate for 2 or more hours before serving to allow flavors to blend.

Buttermilk is not something  have on hand, but  found powdered buttermilk in the grocery store next to the non-fat instant powdered milk and I bought one.  I may get a couple more. I'll let you know how it all works out.


  1. Since the missus was under the weather recently, I saw a few things that I normally don't. I threw out SEVEN open bottles of ranch dressing in the fridge and I'm still working out the slimy ham that she forgot to freeze when she got down. I hate to see the wasted ham, but I understand it, but I REALLY don't understand the dressing. - lol

    1. Gorges...I have been known to open a jar of something when there was a half used up one in the fridge. I just chalk it up to a 'Senior Moment.'

      That's my story and I'm sticking to it. :)

  2. The word is out! We all tend to waste food. I certainly am guilty. I find containers of mysterious unedibles shoved toward the back of my refrigerator;favorite hiding spot is the back half of the top shelf. What can I say? I am short...

    I love it when you share recipes! I am putting them to use. I can't wait to make the dehydrated scalloped potato mixes in the fall when our potatoes are dug. Maybe I won't end up with so many sprouted potatoes before spring.

    We had rain move in about 2:00 this afternoon. The forecast is for rain through Thursday. Guess I'll be forced to do more spring cleaning rather than gardening. Take care and keep preparing...CW

    1. CW...I will admit to finding containers of stuff in the back of my fridge that look like science experiments gone wrong! My excuse is.....well, I guess I really don't have an excuse. :) It usually is something like tuna noodle hot-dish that I have eaten on for a couple of days and am tired of. I just today saw a video where someone had dehydrated leftover spaghetti and it re-hydrated pretty well. I might try it just for the fun of it.

      I haven't tried this recipe for ranch dressing/dip mix, so I make no promises. It looks good, though. The scalloped potato mix is really good. It turned out better in the crock pot than in the oven. I think that's because I slice the potatoes about 1/8 inch thick so they don't get too mushy when blanching.

      It was nice enough here today so I had open windows this afternoon. We are due for rain later in the week, too. The only good thing I can say about spring cleaning is that my apartment is small and I have help!! Hope you can get in your garden soon.

  3. 2 years maybe pushing it. My wife loves to look at the labels, says EXPIRED as she tosses it out. I have to watch her like a hawk. I know she means well. Its getting hard to find most items in glass any more.

    1. Rob...I don't know for sure if the plastic containers have anything to do with it. I do know that I am eating my home canned food from 2012 and 2013 with no problems. I am also using store bought food in cans that are well past their expiration dates and have found nothing bad as yet. If I had a can that was rusted or the top was bulging out, I would toss that. Just the other night I made spaghetti using spaghetti sauce from a can that was dated 2016, and it was just fine. I'm not suggesting that anyone else eat food that has an outdated expiration date. That's just what I do.

  4. Funny you should mention mayonnaise in plastic jars. I was thinking the other day along the lines of 'who ever would think the glass mayo jar would ever go away'. Same with the old fashioned metal coffee can.
    Have you ever thought of recanning the salad dressing? Do you think that is even possible at home? My mind is just wandering.
    I too don't usually adhere to the best buy dates but this post is a good reminder to pay attention.
    Cheers, SJ

    1. SJ...I haven't tried recanning mayo. I read a post some time back on the 'Rural Revolution' blog where she had tried recanning mayo and it was a dismal failure. Somewhere I have a recipe for making your own mayo from scratch and I may have to find it and give it a try. It might make sense, in a pinch, to make up just what you need.

      I recan all sorts of stuff - mustard, ketchup, pickles, olives, bbq sauce, cheese sauce. I can buy those things cheaper in gallon jars or #10 cans. Plus I get the bonus of gallon jars for storing things like sugar, oatmeal, cornmeal, etc. I have one that is about half full of Tootsie Pops and hard candies. Little treats will be important, I think. Bad thing is, I have to hide that jar from myself so I don't dig into it. :)

      I hate that so much is now packaged in plastic. I once used the old glass mayo jars for all sorts of things - buttons, small sewing supplies, cotton balls, Q-Tips. And the metal coffee cans had lots of uses as well. Ranch dressing and ketchup are the only foods I have had a problem with so far - both in plastic. I will no longer stock salad dressings, but will go with the Ranch dry mix, and I have an awesome recipe for a French/Western style salad dressing. Once made up, it keeps in the fridge for a long time.

      I am not so sure that progress is always a good thing. :)

    2. I'm not a fan of plastic packaging. And I like a can with a top that needs a can opener, not a pop top.
      Thanks to another reader's comments about making mayo. That's on my to do list as well.
      I made a yummy dish in my instant pot this week - pork steaks were on sale. I put three in my IP and added green salsa verde and cooked it for an hour. Fork tender. Each steak was good for two dinners. Put most in the freezer for future dinners.
      Cheers, SJ

    3. SJ...I'm not fond of pop tops either. I understand why companies have gone to them, however. No too long ago I saw a video of some older teens who could not figure out how to use a hand held can opener. I hope it was satire, but I'm not so sure. :)

      Making mayo is on my list, too. That will require thinking ahead, something I'm not always very good at, but I like the idea.

      Your dinner sounds wonderful! I'm doing venison steak in the crock pot tomorrow. Doubt there will be any left for future dinners, though. :)

  5. I have just gotten to the point where I love olive oil an balsamic vinegar with fresh ground pepper on my salad. Mayo is easy to make with a stick blender, too.

    1. Tewshooz...Seems like keeping things simple is the way to go. I mostly store the basics, but had bought the ranch dressing on sale. Now I know better. I haven't tried making mayo yet, but I think that's a better solution than to store foods that can easiy go bad, even in the jar.

  6. I just got through cleaning out one cabinet, wiping everything down with baking soda water. There were bottles with dates from 2012, those were emptied and tossed into the recycling. Some stuff went into the composting barrel.

    Most items get broken into portions, sealed and dated. I dislike forgetting about ingredients then having to toss them out.


    1. Red...I hate tossing out food, too. But then I dislike waste in any form. I guess we learn something new nearly every day, and having to to all that dressing was my lesson on what not to include in my food storage. It has made me rethink some other of my choices and to find alternatives, like making my own mixes or what to store for ingredients. Live and learn. :)