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ArtificialGrape
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Posted: 5/25/2009 2:37:51 AM
I recently picked up a case of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese at Costco, and the best by date is about 8 months out.

I know it's overprocessed junk, but it's also pretty popular in the house. Anybody have any knowledge or experience with how long before the sauce packet in mac and cheese, Hamburger Helper, etc. goes funky?

Thanks.
SirSqueeboo
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Posted: 5/25/2009 4:04:57 AM
I've eaten a two year old box without illness or death.
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river_rat
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Posted: 5/25/2009 4:25:49 AM
I would say as long as the macaroni is in good shape it would still be good. That could be a long time if stored in dry conditions.
ericmm00
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Posted: 5/25/2009 5:46:40 AM
[Last Edit: 5/25/2009 5:49:08 AM by ericmm00]
I worked in a grocery store in 2003 and we were having a sale on hamburger helper products and there was a coupon out at the same time that made the item free when used together. My buddy worked in the cashiers office and grabbed all the coupons he could find and we reused them and stocked up on about 150 boxes. I still have maybe 15 left. I ate one back in January w/ some deer meat and it was fine. They were never stored anywhere special. Just kept them in the cubbord. I never thought about stocking up back then. We were just poor college students that knew a deal when we saw one.
Pacodutaco
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Posted: 5/25/2009 8:53:52 AM
It is funny to see this post. I fixed a 2 year old box of Kraft Mac-n-Cheese last night for dinner and I am still here this morning. It was the last box I had from a 10-pack I bought at Sam's Club years ago. It took me 2 years to eat up 10 boxes of the stuff.
MikeK5117
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Posted: 5/25/2009 8:59:41 AM
I can't imagine the cheese powder going bad in the sealed bag - I might check it for rancid after 5 or more years. Likely the macaroni may pick up the taste of the cardboard box over time - that is likely the least optimal factor in the whole package. Pasta should keep forever stored cool and dry but it will get stale unless stored in an O2 purged environment.

Just add extra hot sauce and you will be good to go.
KillyMcGee
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Posted: 5/25/2009 10:54:12 AM
Found Kraft mac and cheese at local place on sale for 20 cents a box, so I picked up a case. They are getting further and further out of date and we keep eating them. No idea on how old but more than a couple years I'd guess.
ArtificialGrape
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Posted: 5/25/2009 11:19:39 AM
Thanks for all the feedback. Sounds like they're good to go, particularly for a 12 month rotation.
LadyMacBeth
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Posted: 5/25/2009 12:43:29 PM
I have a case of off brand mac&cheese dated 3/18/08 it is still god but the paaper packs of powdered cheese is now
theconsistancy of soap, I soak it in boiling water sperately until soft. I imagine kraft with the foil packs would last longer.

I also just opened a velveta block dated march 07 still eatable.
uncool
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Posted: 5/25/2009 2:35:52 PM
Originally Posted By LadyMacBeth:
I have a case of off brand mac&cheese dated 3/18/08 it is still god but the paaper packs of powdered cheese is now
theconsistancy of soap, I soak it in boiling water sperately until soft. I imagine kraft with the foil packs would last longer.

I also just opened a velveta block dated march 07 still eatable.


velveta may be edible but sure not eatable.......loved it as a kid.....tried it a few years back.....yuk.....cant believe I ever thought it was good
Lifesaver
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Posted: 5/25/2009 2:59:42 PM
I would think the determining factor here would be the type of cheese in the package. Some of the newer ones use a foil pouch of squeezable cheese. Others use packets of cheese powder. If kept in a dry environment, as previously mentioned, I think these would last longer than the ones with the squeezable cheese. We have Hamburger Helper meals that are over three years old. We eat them regularly without any ill effects. The same for mac and cheese. Ours have the powdered cheese in them, though, not the squeezable stuff. I would also think temperature control would affect longevity, obviously. I cannot see the squeezable cheese packets tolerating high temperatures well. I've seen what happens to MRE cheese at high temps. It ain't pretty.
biere
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Posted: 5/25/2009 5:08:06 PM
I have some of the dry cheese powder left over from 3 or 4 years ago and possably more. It generally works best to mix it up with some milk or water and get it turned into a liquid before putting it on the macaroni but I do this with brand new dry cheese mixes as well.

The macaroni was taken out of the box and put into canning jars and kept in a cool and dark place. The macaroni is fine and to some extent it might need a bit more cook time but it is not different than freshly bought pasta.

I can't decide what I think about the liquid cheese in some of the mac and cheese stuff. I like it and buy it now and then but I don't really want to get into trying to store it for some reason.

These days I buy the big bags of pasta and a velveeta cheese block and save money in most cases compared to buying the mac and cheese boxes.

If you do some looking around you can find different versions of cheese to try out and see what works best for you. I found some powdered cheese at one point locally but it is no longer carried by that store anymore and I need to just run some searches on the net most likely.
jagchaser
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Posted: 5/26/2009 10:31:10 AM
I have been buying it by the cases. I take 2 boxes and put them in a foodsaver bag. The foodsaver sucks most of the air out and smashes the boxes way down. I figure they will last awhile.
"Now boys.........you're fixin to let them teenage hormones get you in a world of trouble"
speedracer422
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Posted: 5/26/2009 10:55:18 AM
I buy the Velveeta shells and cheese by the 5 pack box at Sam's. I've been doing this for some time now as i eat them fairly regularly and never buy the "old school" powdered cheese ones as i never have milk on hand (don't drink it).

I cleaned up my one cupboard a few months ago and found a walmart brand box of generic shells and cheese (squeezable foil pack of velveeta like substance). the expiration date was 07 iirc, anyway, it was fine, but the cheese stuff had started to separate; probably should have kneeded it first.


Fwiw,


Speed


"You'll rue the day you take on the extreme Speed" Acman, TN, OHV campout 2007
slugcatcher
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Posted: 5/26/2009 8:16:51 PM
I've tried it two months past expiration(2 different boxes). The mac was good to go. The cheese sauce wasn't that great. It just wasn't the same. It wasn't bad or nasty. It just didn't taste like it should. I guess "flat" would be the best way to describe it. I didn't notice the exp date until after I made the 2nd box so it wasn't in my head.
Spun
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Posted: 5/26/2009 10:30:29 PM
My wife and daughter enjoy the mac and cheese. Wal-mart usually runs sales where they get down to $.45 and you can coupon them down farther. Needless to say I have quite a few. They store pretty well. Like has been said. Mice and humidity are the enemy.

I prefer the velveeta boxed mac and chesse for some reason though...