I’ve been having problems with milk lately. Most grocery stores (Albertsons, Safeway) offer a substantial discount if you buy two gallons of milk. I use a lot of milk because I eat two bowls of cereal every morning for breakfast, so I probably consume milk at the same rate as a small family. Thus, I usually win the race with the expiration date. Recently however, the second gallon of milk has been going bad only a couple of days after opening, up to 5 days before the expiration date. At first I thought it was just a bad batch of milk; then it seemed to only happen with milk purchased at Safeway. But after a string of early sourings from Albertsons, I reopened my search for the true culprit, and that search took me to the back of my refrigerator. There I discovered that our thermostat was set to the warmest temperature, probably accidentally altered when I threw a loaf of bread back there. After a day at a higher setting, the fridge is noticeably cooler and hopefully this will result in extended milk freshness.
To be honest, I’m a bit embarrassed that it took me so long to figure this out. Apparently I wasn’t able to extrapolate the wise words of Barry Bonds, “You need to clean out your closets before you start trying to clean mine!” from winter coat storage areas to low temperature food storage devices.