I received a gift from my land lady today...some freshly baked cookies for the holidays! I was coincidentally doing a lot of thinking this week on whether or not alcohol evaporates when baked and after a lot of research I learned that alcohol will not dissolve in a hot oven. I read 10-15 articles but here is one excerpt that gets the point across:
"The longer you cook, the more alcohol cooks out, but you have to cook food for about 3 hours to fully erase all traces of alcohol. A study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Nutrient Data lab confirmed this and added that food baked or simmered in alcohol for 15 minutes still retains 40 percent of the alcohol. After an hour of cooking, 25 percent of the alcohol remains, and even after two and a half hours there's still 5 percent of it. In fact, some cooking methods are less effective at removing alcohol than simply letting food stand out overnight uncovered." Source: https://www.foodnetwork.com/how-to/packages/food-network-essentials/cooking-wine-does-alcohol-burn-off#:~:text=The%20longer%20you%20cook%2C%20the,40%20percent%20of%20the%20alcohol.
I can ask what the ingredients were in these cookies and I will do that. But let's assume that she used vanilla extract and that means that technically...these cookies have alcohol in them. What is the permissibility of throwing this bag of cookies away?
Now that I know they're alcoholic (even if they don't taste as such) I can't give them to someone else. That would mean I knowingly shared alcohol with another person (whether a kafir or not).
Subhan Allah this gets more complicated now. Today I also walked past a homeless person who asked me for money. I was worried he'd buy drugs so instead I went out and bought him a non halal chicken burrito instead. We have no Halal restaurants where I live, but I didn't want to risk ignoring someone in need. As I sat there, waiting for that burrito to be made, I wondered if I was sinning but eventually I thought of it as the lesser of two evils. Perhaps I should have bought him something vegetarian instead but I also worried he was malnourished and chicken seemed like a better option for his health. Is it permissible in that example to provide someone with non-halal food? If not, what's the best thing I could have done as a believer?
Jazak Allah Khair.