Hello everyone, everything good?
I’m Marcella Coser, collaborator of the blog and, as promised in the post about how to label food, today we are going to talk about how to determine expiration dates of our dear sweets.
First important point to know is the purpose of the expiration date. It is a beacon that shows how long that food is safe for consumption. This, considering contamination by decomposition, organoleptic characteristics and also quantity of nutrients.
The foods are perishable by nature, so many factors can influence the expiration date. Among them are the characteristics of the ingredients, the methods of preparation and storage, the quality of the raw materials, etc. In fact, the Anvisa provided a complete guide on how to set the shelf life of food, but for now I will give a summary of the guidelines!
As I mentioned in the post about labels, tests are carried out in the industry to validate the period in which the products remain suitable for consumption. For caretakers, the process is similar.
It is also important to know exactly how the product should be stored: if it is in a refrigerator, freezer, if it can be kept out of the original packaging, anyway. These definitions are fundamental. Here in the Dani Noce website, for example, you can find information on how to freeze cakes and how to freeze party sweets.
Once that is done, you will start testing your own product. To do this, establish a testing protocol. According to him, you will keep the samples properly packaged and stored (as determined). Gradually remove the “portions” for each test (the test deadline must be defined in your protocol).
Let’s say I take a sample a week to test the organoleptic characteristics of the product. That is, taste, texture, appearance and odor. I bet you’ve heard someone say that with confectionery you can’t escape the recipe, in fact when we talk about expiration date, this rule is universal! It is super important that you write down the correct amounts and preparation method, because that way your preparations will be standardized.
I still say more: for you to know from how many days your cookie starts to get dry, for example, you need to taste it, right? Cool, and how will you know if that sad moment came without comparing it with a fresh cake, fresh out of the oven? Well, with your standardized magic formula, you will be able to produce cookies always the same and use the youngsters as a standard to know when this recipe is no longer cool to sell, considering the oeganoleptic properties, ok?
In addition to samples for sensory analysis, it is important to carry out microbiological and physical-chemical analyzes. The term will also depend on your protocol.
Finally, to define your testing protocol, look for products similar to yours to understand how they behave over time. Oh, and if you have a compound product, like a pie with a filling, always consider the shortest shelf life as official.
I hope you enjoyed, until next time!