Food Storage Rule of Thumb

There is nothing worse than getting that favorite recipe out and the last thing you take out of the refrigerator is bad. No longer can you start to cook. Now you must stop everything, go to the store and get the item, return and start all over. Or worse yet, put all the preparations away and call for take-out. No longer. If you pay attention to the valuable information on this page, you can know ahead of time exactly how long it will be fresh in the refrigerator. No, the milk cannot be used two weeks later. Smell it … that will tell you. No, the mold on the sliced cheese can’t just be removed and used. Pay close attention so your next meal won’t get ruined.

Meat, Poultry &
Seafood
ITEM unopened-FRIDGE opened-FRIDGE FREEZER
Meats
Bacon 2 weeks 1 week 1 month
Chicken 2 days 6 months
Cold
Cuts
2 weeks 5 days 2 months
Fish
Fillets
2 days 2 days 6 months
Ground
Meat
2 days 2 days 4 months
Hot
Dogs
2 weeks 1 week 2 months
Pork 3 days 6 months
Raw
Shrimp
2 days 6 months
Shellfish
in shell
2 days
Shellfish
shucked
1 day 3 months
Steaks 3 days 6 months

 

Produce unopened-FRIDGE opened-FRIDGE FREEZER
Apples 3 weeks
Artichokes 1 week
Avocado (ripe) 4 days
Bell Peppers 1-2 weeks
Berries 4-5 days
Broccoli 1 week
Carrots 3 weeks
Cauliflower 1 week
Celery 2 weeks
Citrus Fruit 2 weeks
Chard 3 days
Corn 1-2 days
Cucumbers 1 week
Eggplant 5-7 days
Leafy Herbs 3 days (store stem down in glass of water)
Lemons / Limes 3 weeks
Lettuce 5-7 days
Melon 5 days 3 days
Mushrooms 1 week
Onions/Garlic 2 mo (store out of refrigerator in dark cool spot)
Potatoes 3 weeks (store out of refrigerator in dark
cool spot)
Raspberries 3 days
Strawberries 3 days
Squash & Marrows 1 month (not refrigerated kept in a cool dark place)
Tomatoes 5 days
Zucchini 3 days

 

Dairy & Eggs unopened-FRIDGE opened-FRIDGE FREEZER
Butter 4 months 6 months
Margarine 6 months
Cream Cheese 2 months
Hard Cheese 4 months
Block Cheddar 1-6 months 1 month
Eggs 5 weeks 1 day covered
Heavy Cream 1 month 3 weeks
Milk 1 week 3 months
Cottage Cheese 1 week
Sour Cream 1 week
Soft Cheese (brie) 2 weeks 1 week
Tofu 3 weeks
Yogurt 2 weeks

 

Pantry RM
temp unopened
RM
temp opened
Fridge
Opened
Brown
Rice
1 year 6 months
Coffee
Beans
1 year 2 weeks
Dried
Pasta
2 years
Honey 1 year 6 months
Ketchup 1 year 6 months
Maple
Syrup
1 year 1 year
Mayonnaise 3 months 2 months
Mustard 1 year 2 months
Nut
Butters
9 months 3 months
Olive
Oil
1 year 6 months
Salsa
(jar)
1 year 1 month
Soy
Sauce
3 years 1 year
Vinegar 2 years 1 year
White
Rice
2 years 1 year
Wild
Rice
2 years 1 year

 

Some Additional Great Food Tips:

  • Wash produce just before using. Washing ahead of time will cause them to get soggy.
  • Fruits and vegetables ripen best at room temperature. Once ripe store in refrigerator.
  • Remove all bands from produce when arriving at home.
  • Many fruits and vegetables emit ethylene gas as they ripen. This hastens the ripening of other produce items. Keep ethylene emitting produce away from: apples, apricots cantaloupe, avocados, figs, melons bananas, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums and tomatoes.
  • Cherries, grapes, figs and berries need to be refrigerated immediately.

Thaw Meat Safely

  • The safest way to defrost meat is in the refrigerator. Use a plate or bowl under the meat to avoid spilling any drippings into the refrigerator. Place on bottom shelf for same reason. This can take up to 24 hrs. to thaw in the refrigerator.

Whole cuts of meat recently thawed will usually remain good for 3-4 days depending on how quickly you froze that meat. If you froze the meat on the use by date – use it immediately. Are you following the logic here?

If you need to thaw meat faster, there are two options.

  • Submerged in cool water within an air tight plastic bag, changing the water every 15-30 minutes.
  • In the Microwave by removing all store wrappings put into a microwave safe dish on “thaw’ setting. Check often while thawing to make sure you don’t cook. Cook promptly after thawing.

FOOD Safety is key.

BE CAREFUL. Keep a clean workspace. ESPECIALLY when preparing with raw meats and fish. Contamination is something to watch out for. A couple of drops of raw chicken splashing on your salad COULD put people in the hospital with salmonella poisoning. TRUTH.