[CnD] Recommended Food Storage Times Cold and Dry

cathy harris catharris at bellsouth.net
Wed Aug 3 18:18:49 GMT 2011

Thought this might be interesting to you all. A friend sent it to me.

Recommended Food Storage Times Cold and Dry
Refrigerated and Frozen Foods

Americans lose money every day because of improper storage of food. The
recommended storage time of food depends on what kind of food it is and the
length of time
and temperature the food is stored, before and after you purchase it.
Properly storing food
results in improved nutritional quality, reduced waste from spoilage,
decreased risk in
foodborne illness when eaten, and fresher, better tasting food. Food that is
held past the
recommended storage time may still be safe, but the quality may have begun
to deteriorate.
The tables below give the recommended storage times for maintaining good
quality. Always
start with high quality food. Refrigerator temperature should be kept below
40°F and freezer
temperature below 0°F. Some food may not freeze well, resulting in changes
in appearance,
texture, color, or moisture, but they may still be safely frozen. Remember
to rotate your foods
using the FIRST IN, FIRST OUT rule.

Dairy Products

Food Product Refrigerator Storage Freezer Storage
Butter or margarine 1-3 months 6-9 months
Buttermilk 1-2 weeks Freezes poorly
Cheese spread, opened 2 weeks Freezes poorly
Condensed milk, opened 3-5 days 1 month
Cottage or farmer's cheese 1 week Freezes poorly
Cream, half and half 3-4 days 4 months
Cream cheese 2 weeks Freezes poorly
Evaporated milk, opened 3-5 days Freezes poorly
Fluid milk 5-7 days after sell-by date 1-3 months
Hard cheese 6 months(unopened),
3-4 weeks (opened)
6 months
Ice cream and sherbet Do not refrigerate 2 months
Nonfat Dry Milk (NFDM) 5-6 months 10-12 months
Processed cheese 3-4 weeks 4 months
Pudding 2 days after opening Freezes poorly
Reconstituted NFDM 3-5 days Freezes poorly
Sour cream 7-21 days Freezes poorly
Whipped cream 2-3 hours 1 month
Whipping cream 10 days 2 months
Yogurt 1 week after sell-by date 1-2 months

Some foods may have open dates on the package to assist the consumer in
storage. The most commonly used open dates are the sell-by date, use-by
date, expiration
date, or pack date. The sell-by date is the last recommended day of sale,
but it allows for
home storage and use. Breads and baked goods commonly have sell-by dates.
Use-by dates
recommend how long the food will retain top quality after you buy it.
Packaged foods often
have use-by dates. An expiration date indicates the last day the food should
be eaten,
commonly found on egg cartons. Canned or packaged foods may have pack dates
indicate the date of processing or the food may have a coded date that only
the manufacturer
understands. These dates offer no safety or quality information.


Food Product Refrigerator Storage Freezer Storage
Fresh in shell 3-5 weeks Freeze poorly
Raw yolks, whites 2-4 days 1 year
Liquid pasteurized eggs, egg
10 days (unopened)
3 days (opened)
1 year (unopened)
Freeze poorly
Hard cooked 1 week Freeze poorly
Meat Products
Food Product Refrigerator Storage Freezer Storage
Roasts and steaks 3-5 days 6-12 months
Chops 3-5 days 4-6 months
Ground and stew meats 1-2 days 3-4 months
Bacon 1 week 1 month
Canned ham 6-9 months (unopened)
3-5 months (opened)
Freezes poorly
1-2 months
Corned beef, in pouch 5-7 days 1 month, drained
Ham, slices (fully cooked) 3-4 days 1-2 months
Ham, half (fully cooked) 3-5 days 1-2 months
Ham, whole (fully cooked) 1 week 1-2 months
Hotdogs 2 weeks (unopened)
1 week (opened)
1-2 months
1-2 months
Sausage 1-2 days 1-2 months
Smoked breakfast links, patties 7 days 1-2 months
Organ meats 1-2 days 3-4 months
Lunch meats 2 weeks (unopened)
3-5 days (opened)
1-2 months
1-2 months
Vacuum-packed dinners with
USDA seal
2 weeks (unopened) Do not freeze
Cooked meats, casseroles, soups,
3-4 days 2-3 months
Gravy and meat broth 1-2 days 2-3 months


Poultry Products

Food Product Refrigerator Storage Freezer Storage
Chicken or turkey, whole 1-2 days 1 year
Chicken or turkey, pieces 1-2 days 9 months
Ground poultry and giblets 1-2 days 3-4 months
Duck, goose, game birds 1-2 days 9 months
Fried or boiled chicken 3-4 days 4 months
Cooked poultry casseroles 3-4 days 4-6 months
Cooked poultry with broth or gravy 1-2 days 6 months
Nuggets or patties 1-2 days 1-3 months

Fish and Shellfish

Food Product Refrigerator Storage Freezer Storage
Lean Fish - cod, flounder,
haddock, halibut, pollack, ocean
perch, rock fish, sea trout, sole
1-2 days 6 months
Fatty fish - bluefish, mackerel,
mullet, salmon, smelt, swordfish,
1-2 days 2-3 months
Cooked fish 3-4 days 4-6 months
Smoked fish, vacuum packaged 14 days or date on package 2 months
Surimi 2 weeks 9 months
Breaded fish Do not refrigerate 3 months
Shrimp 1-2 days 3-6 months
Scallops 1-2 days 3-6 months
Crayfish 1-2 days 3-6 months
Squid 1-2 days 3-6 months
Clams 1-2 days (shucked)
2-3 days (live)
3-6 months
2-3 months
Mussels 1-2 days (shucked)
2-3 days (live)
3-6 months
2-3 months
Oysters 1-2 days (shucked)
2-3 days (live)
3-6 months
2-3 months
Lobster 1-2 days (live) 2-3 months
Crab 1-2 days (in shell) 2-3 months
Cooked shellfish 3-4 days 3 months



Food Product Refrigerator Storage Freezer Storage
Apples 1 month 8-12 months
Apricots 3-5 days 8-12 months
Avocados 5 days 8-12 months
Bananas 5 days at room temperature Freeze poorly
Berries 2-3 days 8-12 months
Cherries 2-3 days 8-12 months
Cranberries 1 week 8-12 months
Grapes 5 days 10-12 months
Guavas 1-2 days 8-12 months
Kiwis 6-8 days 4-6 months
Lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit 2 weeks 4-6 months
Mangos Ripen at room temperature 8-12 months
Melons 1 week 8-12 months
Nectarines 5 days 8-12 months
Papayas Ripen at room temperature 8-12 months
Peaches 2-3 days 8-12 months
Pears 5 days 8-12 months
Pineapples 5-7 days 4-6 months
Plantains Ripen at room temperature 8-12 months
Plums 5 days 8-12 months
Rhubarb 1 week 8-12 months
Canned fruits 2-4 days (opened) 2-3 months
Frozen juice concentrate Do not refrigerate 2 years
Frozen juice reconstituted 6 days 6-12 months

Power Outages

Without power a full upright chest freezer or refrigerator freezer, will
keep food frozen
about two days, if you do not open the lid. If the freezer is only
half-full, it will keep for
one day. If the power will be off for an extended period, transport food to
where there is electricity or use block or dry ice. Handle dry ice according
instructions. Do not touch or breathe fumes.
Without power, a refrigerator will keep food cool for four to six hours,
depending on the
kitchen temperature. Use block or dry ice to keep food cold for long
When the electricity returns, if ice crystals are present in food or the
food feels
refrigerator-cold, it can be refrozen, but there may be a loss of quality in
color, texture,
flavor, and nutrient content. Any thawed food that has risen above room
and remained there for two hours or more should be discarded. Foods with a
color or odors should be discarded.


Food Product Refrigerator Storage Freezer Storage
Artichokes 2-3 days Freeze poorly
Asparagus 2-3 days 8-12 months
Beets 2 weeks 8-12 months
Broccoli 3-5 days 8-12 months
Brussels sprouts 3-5 days 8-12 months
Cabbage 1 week 8-12 months
Carrots 2 weeks 8-12 months
Cauliflower 1 week 8-12 months
Celery 1 week 8-12 months
Corn, in husks 1-2 days 8-12 months
Cucumbers 1 week 8-12 months
Eggplant 2-3 days 8-12 months
Green beans 1-2 weeks 8-12 months
Greens 3-5 days 8-12 months
Jicama 2-3 weeks 8-12 months
Kohlrabi 1 week 8-12 months
Lettuce and salad greens 3-5 days Freeze poorly
Lima beans 3-5 days 8-12 months
Mushrooms 1-2 days 8-12 months
Okra 3-5 days 8-12 months
Onions, green 3-5 days Freeze poorly
Parsley 2-3 days 3-4 months
Peas 3-5 days 8-12 months
Peppers 1 week 8-12 months
Radishes 2 weeks Freeze poorly
Squash, winter Store in a dry place 8-12 months
Squash, summer 3-5 days 8-12 months
Tomatillos 1 week 8-12 months
Tomatoes 1 week 8-12 months
Yuca 1-2 days 8-12 months
Zucchini 3-5 days 8-12 months
Frozen vegetables Do not refrigerate 8 months
Canned vegetables 1-4 days (opened) 2-3 months


Baked Products
Refrigerated storage of breads promotes staleness. Store breads at room
for 3 to 7 days unless otherwise indicated.

Food Product Refrigerator Storage Freezer Storage
Bread, yeast Room temperature 4-6 months
Biscuits Room temperature 2-3 months
Muffins Room temperature 2-3 months
Quick breads Room temperature 2-3 months
Pancakes and waffles Room temperature 1-2 months
Rolls, yeast Room temperature 2-3 months
Refrigerated biscuits Use-by date Do not freeze

Cakes and Cookies

Food Product Refrigerator Storage Freezer Storage
Angel 1-3 days at room temperature 2 months
Chiffon and sponge 1-3 days at room temperature 2 months
Cheesecake 3-7 days 2-3 months
Fruitcake 6-8 months 1 year
Pound 3-5 days at room temperature 6 months
Iced layer cake 1-3 days at room temperature 6 months
Baked cookies 5-7 days at room temperature 4-6 months
Unbaked cookie dough Use-by date 2 months

Pastries and Pies

Food Product Refrigerator Storage Freezer Storage
Danish and doughnuts 1-3 days at room temperature 3 months
Chiffon pie 2-3 days 1 month
Fruit pie 2-3 days 1 year
Mincemeat pie 2-3 days 4-8 months
Pumpkin pie 2-3 days 1 month
Unbaked fruit pie Do not refrigerate 8 months


Baby Food

Food Product Refrigerator Storage Freezer Storage
Expressed breast milk 3-5 days 3 months
Formula mixed with water 2 days DO NOT FREEZE
Strained fruits and vegetables 2-3 days 6-8 months
Strained meat and eggs 1 day 1-2 months
Strained meat and vegetable
1-2 days 1-2 months
Homemade baby foods 1-2 days 1-2 months


Food Product Refrigerator Storage Freezer Storage
Fresh Pasta 1 week 1 month
Mayonnaise 2 months Freeze poorly
Nuts 6 months 1 year
Sandwiches 1-2 days 1 week
Tofu 1 week 1 month
Coffee and tea 4-6 weeks 1 year
Peanut butter 6-8 months 6-8 months
Catsup, chili, cocktail sauce 6 months (opened) Freeze poorly
Mustard 6-8 months 8-12 months
Coconut, shredded, opened 8 months 1 year
Honey, jams, jellies, syrup 6-8 months (opened) Freeze poorly
Bottled salad dressing 3 months Freeze poorly
Vegetable shortening 6-9 months Freeze poorly

Canned Goods

Food Product Shelf Life
High acid canned foods and juices including tomatoes, grapefruit,
apple products, mixed fruit, berries, pickles, sauerkraut, and
vinegar-based products
1 year
Low acid canned foods including meat and poultry products,
vegetable soups (not tomato), all vegetables
2-5 years
Home-canned products - all types 1 year


Dry Good Shelf Storage

Staples Shelf Life
Baking powder and soda 18 months
Barley 2 years
Bread crumbs 6 months
Bulgar 5-6 months
Cereal, ready-to-eat 2-3 months (opened)
6-12 months (unopened)
Cereal, ready-to-cook 6 months
Chocolate, baking 6-12 months
Cornstarch 18 months
Flour, bleached 6-8 months
Flour, whole wheat 6-8 months
Honey and syrup 1 year
Noodles, egg 6 months
Noodles, plain 1-2 years
Olive oil 6 months
Pasta 2 years
Rice 2 years
Rice, brown or wild 6 months
Sugar, brown 4 months
Sugar, granulated 2 years +
Sugar, powdered 18 months
Pasta 2 years
Wheat germ 8-12 months (unopened)
Yeast, dry Expiration date


-Arizona Department of Health Services (2005), Safe Food Storage Times and
-National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (2002), Be
Cool-Chill Out! Refrigerate Promptly.
-United States Department of Agriculture (2001), Cold Storage Chart.

Clip art Microsoft® 2007.

Sandra Bastin, PhD, RD, LD, CCE
Extension Food and Nutrition Specialist

May 1998; Revised July 2007

Copyright © 2007 for materials developed by University of Kentucky
Cooperative Extension. This publication may be reproduced in portions or its
entirety for educational or nonprofit purposes only. Permitted users shall
give credit to the author(s) and include this copyright notice.

Educational programs of Kentucky Cooperative Extension serve all people
regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, or national


More information about the Cookinginthedark mailing list