Let’s get this straight – you want to use oil that is about 6 months past its use-by date? There are not too many foods that you would consider using past their prime, though enough peanut oil to fry a turkey would be a wrench to dispose of, right?

Let’s agree on something else – the last thing you want to do is use bad tasting oil. It will make your turkey taste bad and there will be no fixing it. Sweet potatoes will become the centerpiece of your feast, grumbling will break out among your guests, and you won’t live it down for years. Not exactly the recipe for evoking gratitude, is it?

Now that we’re on the same page, we’ll give you our answer – maybe. (Who didn’t see that coming?)

The folks in the oil business are remarkably consistent in their statements that cooking oil can be kept for one year. Noting that you are in Georgia (the American South), we wonder whether your oil has really been kept in a cool place all this time (not in the garage? did you not have a hot summer?)

If you have been honest with us (and yourself), open the oil and give it a good whiff. If there is not a hint of a bad smell, we suggest you heat a cup or two of the oil to 360°F to 375°F (180#176;C to 190°C), toss in a few cubes of some bland white bread, and fry until golden brown. Scoop them out, drain them on a paper towel and let them cool, eat a couple yourself and give others to the fussiest eaters available. If there is universal consensus that there is not a hint of an off flavor, we think your oil is OK.

Our guess is that you can use it, though you should be sure to perform your test a day or two in advance, so that you can definitely get to the store to get replacement oil (and also to be sure that all the nearby stores have not run out of oil – many, many people (especially in the South) fry their Thanksgiving turkeys.)

Do not send us this same question next year….