I'm making gingerbread. I want to use some crystallized ginger (not in syrup) that was opened and expired 7/09. It's a little dry, but not mold and still tastes fine. Okay to use?
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It's probably essentially fine, since it's been preserved with a sugar syrup to make it crystallized (think similar to a canned jam), especially if you've stored it in the fridge all this time. It could still mold though and that's something I try not to mess with because mold starts unseen. Verdict: I wouldn't use it because it's over a year past the expiration date and I personally don't like to risk things that far from expiration dates.
Should be fine. May not be as potent as it was when new; you may want to taste a tiny piece and see.
If you rehydrate it in the wet ingredients you probably will be fine.It keeps a long time,and is one of those ingredients who's sell by date is relative.Chrystalized ginger stays potent much better than ground. You'll be fine.
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I've periodically tried to make sense of expiration dates. Some are real, and some are not. I can't think what would make crystallized ginger go bad in a way that it would be unsafe. Dry, yes. But if it's getting dry, that would indicate less of a mold risk than if it were moist. And even if moist--I'd keep jams in my refrigerator for a long, long time, and not worry about mold until I saw it. So rehydrate it as CHeeb suggests, or powder it, if it's really dry. Or just chop it finely, and expect it to rehydrate in the gingerbread. If anyone can point to some data, I'd love to see it.
I haven't kept it in the fridge, but my gut tells me that it's just fine. (Hopefully, it won't tell me anything bad later). I'm gonna go with it. Thanks for the super speedy replies.
I acquired some from my mother in laws kitchen. It was about 10 years old! Not as intense as new, but tasty. The sugar is a preservative and will prevent critters from growing.
The date you saw probably was based on how long it would stay moist and chewy, not to some kind of spoilage. Dates can be "best by/before" or "dead by" (for lack of a technical term) -- in this case, it will live forever, but dry out. Crystallized ginger does not need refrigeration.
Sometimes dried fruit looks as if it is moldy (white crusty stuff), but that is sugar from the fruit that has migrated to the surface as it continues to dry out, where it crystallizes.
The gingerbread came out great. I think that the old stuff was fine. Unfortunately, one guest at the dinner party didn't like gingerbread. What can you do? And thanks for all the great answers...including 10 year old ginger. Wow!