Should I eat the caramel wafers?
September 16, 2008 1:14 PM   Subscribe

Caramel wafers one year after 'best by'. Should I eat them?

These are from Trader Joe's, and the label says 'no preservatives'. They still look and smell like when I first got them.
posted by of strange foe to Food & Drink (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Eat a little bit and see if you vomit. It works for the animals!
posted by smackfu at 1:19 PM on September 16, 2008

No, they're full of sugar which is delicious to you, me, and bacteria.
posted by sondrialiac at 1:21 PM on September 16, 2008

Thirding the "no".
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 1:21 PM on September 16, 2008

Absolutely not, you should send them to me instead.

They're almost certainly fine. They are full of sugar but they don't have enough water in them for microbes to thrive. Probably the biggest risk of spoilage is mold, which you'll be able to see.
posted by aubilenon at 1:22 PM on September 16, 2008

Only eat it if it's wafer thin.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 1:26 PM on September 16, 2008

I'd eat them. They may be stale, but that's about it.

Wet (and sufficiently dilute) sugar is delicious to bacteria. I can't help but wonder if sondrialiac keeps granulated sugar in the refrigerator. Most people don't, without ill effects.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:32 PM on September 16, 2008

posted by zeoslap at 1:32 PM on September 16, 2008

I don't know how much water they contain - I recall the taste being moist, like something soaked in honey.
posted by of strange foe at 1:33 PM on September 16, 2008

If they were sealed for that time, and look and smell fine, then I'd feel fine eating them.

I'm also under the impression that if they were expected to spoil, the label would say "use by" instead of "best by". I don't know much about it, but I'm guessing that they may have been sealed then irradiated, so preservatives would not seem to be necessary, until after the seal is broken.
posted by -harlequin- at 1:34 PM on September 16, 2008

My vote is to eat it.

Think about it this way: you're going to die. There is absolutely nothing that you can do to change this fact. Now, imagine the possibilities of your final moments:

"Oh how I have succumbed to you, foul cancer!"
"Damn you, old age!"
"O bus, I yield to your steel might!"
"Caramel wafer? Seriously?"

One of these things is not like the other, therefore, take the risk, bask in the temporary deliciousness of life and enjoy the possibility off the norm last words.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 1:40 PM on September 16, 2008 [5 favorites]

They probably won't kill you, but they're probably not at their peak of deliciousness either. If you won't have them again until you return to Scotland, I'd say eat 'em. If you can pick up another package for three bucks at Trader Joe's, I'd say throw 'em away.
posted by box at 1:48 PM on September 16, 2008

I'd eat them.
posted by kimdog at 1:52 PM on September 16, 2008

We're talking about cookies, right? Not raw hamburger held between your thighs on a cross-country Greyhound trip? Eat them. They're probably stale, but hell, they're cookies.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:58 PM on September 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Eat them WITH GREAT GUSTO. I feel this is the correct answer. If they're a little stale, crush them up and sprinkle them on vanilla ice cream.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:01 PM on September 16, 2008

Seconding Greg Nog's wise words.
posted by desuetude at 2:18 PM on September 16, 2008

Eat them, I bet they're even more fucking amazing one year down the line.
posted by fire&wings at 2:25 PM on September 16, 2008

I am usually in the FUCK NO DON'T EAT IT camp, but I would totally eat the wafers.

If it says "best by" rather than "use by" I reckon you'll still be alive tomorrow.
posted by hot soup girl at 2:53 PM on September 16, 2008

I am almost OCD about not eating stuff past its due date, and I'd still eat these.
posted by desjardins at 4:17 PM on September 16, 2008

It's not just that sugary things don't have enough water in for bacteria to live - honey is about 16% water for example - it's that high levels of sugar are actively anti-bacterial. The high sugar content will kill any living ng cells that happen upon it - water diffuses from the cell into the sugar solution by osmosis - and this either kills the cell or forces it into a dormant state. It's the same principle that makes salt a preservative. It's also why you don't get botulism (at least not often) from eating honey, even though there are generally plenty of clostridium botulinum spores present.

The same should apply to the caramel in your wafers.

And yeah, I'd definitely eat them.
posted by xchmp at 4:54 PM on September 16, 2008

It sounds like they may be stroopwafels, in which case I'd say the cracker part would get moldy and/or stale (as above) before the syrup went bad.
posted by rhizome at 5:06 PM on September 16, 2008

Yeah, I was going to mention the high-sugar=preservative qualities myself.

I bet they'll taste a little stale but won't hurt you.
posted by Stewriffic at 5:08 PM on September 16, 2008

I ate a bit this afternoon and I'm still here! Might need that vanilla ice cream Greg Nog suggested to help with the taste next time though.
posted by of strange foe at 9:18 PM on September 16, 2008

When you've finished them, you can have some of my 13-year-old toothpaste to freshen up with.
posted by gimonca at 9:23 PM on September 16, 2008

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