Culinary Fun Fact: True or False Never use canned goods that are past their “best by” date.”

“The “best by” date printed on canned foods is not a hard-and-fast “expiration” date: It refers strictly to the manufacturer’s recommendation for peak quality, not safety concerns. In theory, as long as cans are in good shape and have been stored under the right conditions (in a dry place between 40 and 70 degrees), their contents should remain safe to use indefinitely.

That said, natural chemicals in foods continually react with the metal in cans, and over time, canned food’s taste, texture, and nutritional value will gradually deteriorate.

Dates aside, cans with a compromised seal (punctured, rusted through, or deeply dented along any seam) should never be used. And discard immediately.

Culinary Fun Fact: Emulsifiers – Vinaigrette

Oil and vinegar do not mix. The only way to combine them is to whisk them together so strenuously that the vinegar breaks down into tiny droplets. The two fluids are then effectively one homogeneous mixture, called an emulsion.

To enable an emulsion to stay stable, add an ingredient that acts as an emulsifier, in this case mustard. Emulsifiers form a barrier around the droplets in an emulsion, keeping them from recombining and separating out. The mustard might not be enough to affect the flavor of the dressing, but it can have a serious impact on the chemistry of the mixture.