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physics
jwg

A bit of archeology

I was looking on our spice shelf and picked up a half full 1 lb. box of Arm and Hammer Pure Baking Soda and I wondered how old it was.

On the bottom was stamped Expiration Date 01-28-91. We did wonder how Baking Soda can expire.

Since it is at least 15 years old and is half full, it should last until about 2020! Actually I suspect it will last longer since I don't recall that it has been used recently.

Then rsc pointed out that there was another box in the pantry closet. And sure enough there was a 2 lb. box that was opened but seems nearly full.

Arm and HammerI saw no expiration date on it although it the .73 price was stamped on the bottom. Then I saw printed in the side of the box A Pure and Natural Product for over 125 years.

A quick trip back to the kitchen to examine the other box. This box has printed on the side The Standard for Purity and Quality for over 135 years.

Thus one can conclude that box is ~ 25 years old.

The Web site says the company is 155 years old and here is an early logo.

And with this box as spare I'd say we have an additional 60 years supply and thus we are supplied until 2080! Using the 155 years old info, if they update these slogans frequently then these boxes could be even older and thus our supplies will last even longer. If it takes 20 years to use 1/2 lb. then we have ~100 years supply left.


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Um, how often do you clean your cabinets?

That would be telling. Our kjitchen cabinets are mostly open shelves anyway.

That said, at the time that jwg and I met, I had a Chemex® coffee pot, and I used to use baking soda to clean it once in a while, so in those days I was using it faster.

I did actually use baking powder in something recently -- probably gingerbread -- and I remember that actually getting a measured amount out of that half-full box was something of a chore, as its contents were pretty much solid.

> We did wonder how Baking Soda can expire.

Over time, the oxygen in the air will react with the sodium bicarbonate¹ of the baking soda and reduce its ability to react with the acidic ingredients in whatever you're using it with.
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¹   Or is it sodium carbonate? I get the chemistry backwards between baking soda and powder all the time.

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