Storage Life of Frozen Food, Storage Chart

The chart below shows how long different food items can be stored under different conditions. When freezing food, most can be stored in the freezer longer than suggested below and still be safe to eat but the quality and texture of the food will be affected. Food items that are going to be stored for any period of time should be purchased before the “sell by” or “expiration” date.

Different foods require different preparation methods depending on how it will be stored. Some common preparation methods are shown in the chart below.

Storage Chart – Meats (Fresh)

To Refrigerate: Meat should be stored tightly wrapped to prevent it from drying out. Whenever possible, leave the meat wrapped in its original package. If it is necessary to rewrap, wrap tightly in plastic wrap or foil. To Freeze: Remove the meat from the original package and rewrap tightly, using moisture proof heavyweight plastic wrap, foil, freezer bags, or freezer paper.

Food Item

Refrigerator
Storage

Freezer
Storage

Roasts, Beef & Pork

3 to 5 days

6 to 12 months

Steaks, Beef

3 to 5 days

6 to 12 months

Chops, Pork & Lamb

3 to 5 days

4 to 8 months

Ground & Stew Meat

1 to 2 days

3 to 4 months

Sausage, Pork

1 to 2 days

1 to 2 months

Variety Meats

1 to 2 days

3 to 4 months

Meat Substitute – Tofu

4 to 5 days

6 to 8 weeks

 

Storage Chart – Meats (Processed)

To Refrigerate: Meat should be stored in its original package. Once it has been opened, it is necessary to rewrap tightly in plastic wrap or foil. It can also be placed in an airtight bag or container. To Freeze: Leave the meat in the original package and overwrap tightly, using moisture proof heavyweight plastic wrap, foil, freezer bags, or freezer paper.

Food Item

Refrigerator
Storage

Freezer
Storage

Ham, Whole

7 days

1 to 2 months

Ham, Half or Slices

3 to 5 days

1 to 2 months

Ham, Canned-Opened

3 to 5 days

1 to 2 months

Ham, Canned-Unopened

6 to 9 months

Bacon

7 days

1 to 2 months

Frankfurters-Opened

7 days

1 to 2 months

Frankfurters-Unopened

14 days

1 to 2 months

Luncheon Meats- Opened

3 to 5 days

1 to 2 months

Luncheon Meats- Unopened

14 days

1 to 2 months

Sausage, Smoked

7 days

1 to 2 months

Sausage, Semi-dry & Dry

2 to 3 weeks

1 to 2 months

Summer Sausage-Opened

3 weeks

1 to 2 months

Summer Sausage-Unopened

3 months

Pepperoni, Sliced

2 to 3 weeks

Corn Beef in Pickling Juice

5 to 7 days

1 month

 

Storage Chart – Meats (Cooked)

To Refrigerate: When refrigerating meat that has been cooked by itself or in a dish with other ingredients, be sure it is stored in a well sealed container so that it does not absorb any odors. If the meat is not combined with other ingredients it can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or foil. To Freeze: Prepare the meat or dish in the same manner as for refrigerating, but be sure you use a container or wrap that is freezer safe to protect the food properly.

Food Item

Refrigerator
Storage

Freezer
Storage

Casseroles, Meat & Gravy

3 to 4 days

2 to 3 months

Soups & Stews

3 to 4 days

2 to 3 months

Broth

1 to 2 days

2 to 3 months

 

Storage Chart – Poultry (Fresh)

To Refrigerate: If the raw juices are leaking from the original package, it should be removed and the chicken placed in a bowl and covered with wax paper, foil or rewrapped tightly in plastic before placing in the refrigerator. The meat should be stored in the coldest section of the refrigerator. To Freeze: Remove it from the original package and rewrap tightly, using moisture proof heavyweight plastic wrap, foil, freezer bags, or freezer paper.

Food Item

Refrigerator
Storage

Freezer
Storage

Chicken & Turkey, Whole

1 to 2 days

1 year

Chicken & Turkey, Pieces

1 to 2 days

9 months

Ground Turkey

1 to 2 days

3 to 4 months

Giblets

1 to 2 days

3 to 4 months

Duck & Goose

1 to 2 days

6 months

 

Storage Chart – Poultry (Cooked)

To Refrigerate: When refrigerating poultry meat that has been cooked by itself or in a dish with other ingredients, be sure it is stored in a well sealed container so that it does not absorb any odors. If the meat is not combined with other ingredients it can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or foil. To Freeze: Prepare the poultry meat or dish in the same manner as for refrigerating, but be sure you use a container or wrap that is freezer safe to protect the food properly.

Food Item

Refrigerator
Storage

Freezer
Storage

Casseroles, Meat & Gravy

3 to 4 days

3 to 6 months

Pieces (without Broth)

3 to 4 days

2 to 4 months

Fried Chicken

3 to 4 days

3 to 4 months

Chicken Nuggets

1 to 2 days

1 to 3 months

 

Storage Chart – Fish and Shellfish

To Refrigerate: Rinse the fish with cold salt water and pat dry with a paper towel. Wrap it with wax paper or plastic wrap and place it in a self sealing bag. Have a pan of ice ready and place the bag on the bed of ice. Place the pan of ice with the fish in the refrigerator. To Freeze: Clean the fish by rinsing with cold salt water. Place the fish in a double plastic bag or a milk carton and fill it with cold water. Be sure the fish is completely covered and seal the container. Place in the freezer.

Food Item

Refrigerator
Storage

Freezer
Storage

Steaks, fillets, & Shucked Seafood

1 to 2 days

3 to 4 months

Seafood in the Shell

1 to 2 days

3 to 6 months

Cooked Fish

3 to 4 days

4 to 6 months

Smoked Fish

2 weeks

2 months

 

Storage Chart – Vegetables

Storage times are refrigerated times unless otherwise indicated.

Food Item

Preparation Method

Refrigerator
Storage

Commercially Frozen Store in original package

1 year – In Freezer

Canned Vegetables
(Opened)
Store in airtight container. Do not store in the opened can.

3 days

Artichokes Sprinkle with a little water and place in an airtight plastic bag.

1 week

Asparagus Do not wash asparagus before storing. Wash it just before using. To store, wrap in a paper towel and place in a plastic bag that is not airtight, or place upright in a jar or glass containing 1/2 inch of cold water.

3 to 5 days

Beans, Lima Beans should be shelled and store in a perforated plastic bag.

3 to 6 days

Beans, Snap Leave beans whole and unwashed. Store in a perforated plastic bag in warmest area of the refrigerator.

3 to 6 days

Beets Leave roots and trim stems to 1 to 2 inches in length. Brush off dirt but do not wash. Allow to dry in shady area. Place in a plastic bag with a moist paper towel. Check weekly.

4 to 8 weeks

Broccoli Store in a perforated plastic bag.

5 to 7 days

Brussel Sprouts Trim damaged leaves and store in a perforated bag.

2 to 3 weeks

Cabbage Remove any loose leaves from the outer surface and place the cabbage head in a plastic bag.

4 to 8 weeks

Carrots Trim tops, leaving 1/2 to 1 inch in length and clean dirt from roots if necessary. Wrap them in a paper towel and place in a plastic bag or place in a perforated plastic bag.

1 to 3 months

Cauliflower Do not wash. Place in a perforated plastic bag.

10 to 14 days

Celery Wrap a damp paper towel around the celery and then wrap with aluminum foil.

3 to 4 weeks

Corn, Sweet Store with husks on

3 days

Cucumber Wrap with plastic wrap.

10 to 12 days

Endive Wash leaves thoroughly, shake to remove excess moisture, and gather leaves together and tie. Place tied head in a plastic bag. Disgard outer leaves as they wilt but inner leaves will still be good and crisp.

2 to 3 weeks

Fennel Store in a plastic bag.

6 or 7 days

Kale Remove as much moisture as possible by blotting with a paper towel. Store in a loosely sealed or perforated plastic bag.

7 to 10 days

Kohlrabi Trim roots and stems and place in a loosely sealed or perforated plastic bag.

2 to3 weeks

Leeks Remove excess moisture by blotting with a paper towel. Place in a plastic bag or wrap with plastic.

1 to 2 weeks

Lettuce, head Do not wash before using. Remove the core and outside damaged leaves. Wrap with a damp paper towel and place in a plastic bag.

10 to 12 days

Lettuce, leaf Wash leaves and dry in a salad spinner or by shaking off excess water. Layer leaves between paper towels and place in a plastic bag.

10 to 12 days

Mushrooms Place in a single layer on a shallow tray or plate. Cover loosely with a damp paper towel or place them in a paper bag, leaving the bag open.

2 to 3 days

Okra Store in a plastic bag and place in the warmest area of the refrigerator.

5 to 7 days

Onions Be sure onions are dry and then store in a mesh bag or a basket. Storage area must have good air circulation.

1 to 3 months
(refrigerate or cool, dry area)

Parsnips Be sure leaves have been trimmed and store parsnips in a perforated plastic bag.

1 to 2 months

Peas Store unshelled peas in a perforated plastic bag. Shelled peas can be stored in a regular plastic bag.

5 to 6 days

Peppers Do not wash. Wrap in a paper towel or place in a paper bag. Do no use a plastic bag. Store in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator.

1 to 2 weeks

Potatoes, Sweet Place in a well ventilated box or basket and store in a cool (55° to 60° F), moist area with good ventilation. Do not refrigerate. If potatoes are harvested from your garden, they must be cured by setting in a warm, dark place for about one week before storing them. This will help toughen the skins and sweeten the potato.

2 to 4 months
(do not refrigerate)

Potatoes, White Place in a well ventilated box or basket and store in a dark, cool (around 40°F works best), moist area with good ventilation. Do not refrigerate and do not store in plastic bags. If potatoes are harvested from your garden, they must be cured by setting in a warm, dark place for about one week before storing them. This will help toughen the skins and store longer.

2 to 4 months
(do not refrigerate)

Radishes Trim off leaves and place in a loosely sealed or perforated plastic bag. Wash radishes and trim roots just before using.

2 to 3 weeks

Spinach Remove damaged leaves, wash thoroughly with cold water and drain well. Using a salad spinner also works well to dry. Wrap with paper towels and store in a plastic bag.

2 to 3 days

Squash, Summer Store in a perforated plastic bag. Do not wash until ready to use.

1 week

Squash, Winter Store, whole, in a cool, dry place. Do not wash until ready to use. If cut, store wrapped in plastic and refrigerate for up to 1 week. If whole squash is properly cured in the sun (at 70° to 80° F) for 10 days, it will extend storage time.

2 to 3 months
(do not refrigerate)

Swiss Chard Store unwashed in a open or perforated plastic bag. If leaves are damp, pat dry with a paper towel before placing in the plastic bag.

2 to 4 days

Tomatoes, Ripe Store with stems down at room temperature.

5 to 7 days
(do not refrigerate)

Tomatoes, Green Wrap individually in newspaper and store with stems down at room temperature. Can also be placed in a deep box in 1 or 2 layers, unwrapped. Allow for adaquate air circulation. Avoid exposure to temperatures below 50° F. Check weekly for ripeness.

2 to 5 weeks
(do not refrigerate)

Turnips Leave unwashed and trim leaves off. Store in a perforated bag.

1 to 3 weeks

Storage Chart – Fruit

Storage times are refrigerated times unless otherwise indicated.

Food Item

Preparation Method

Refrigerator
Storage

Commerically Frozen
(Unopened)
Store in original package.

1 year – In Freezer

Canned Fruits (Opened) Store in airtight container. Do not store in the opened can.

3 days

Apples For best results, place apples in a perforated plastic bag, sprinkle with water and store in the coldest area of the refrigerator. Keep apples away from other fruits and vegetables because they give off a gas called ethylene that speeds up ripening.

1 to 2 months

Avocados Store unripened avocados at room temperature. When the fruit feels slightly soft, it is ripe. Ripe avocados can the be stored in the refrigerator.

2 to3 days
(after ripened)

Bananas It is best to store bananas at room temperature. They can be refrigerated without damageing the fruit but refrigeration will turn the skins black.

2 to3 days
(after ripened)

Berries Do not wash. Refrigerate as soon as possible after picking. Spread out in a thin layer on a tray or plate. Do not cover and place in the refrigerator. Wash gently just before using.

2 to 3 days

Cranberries Place in an airtight bag or keep in their original package. Clean just before use.

3 to 4 weeks

Grapefruit Can be stored at room temperature but will stay fresh longer if stored in the refrigerator.

2 to 3 weeks

Grapes Store in a perforated bag or in a bowl. Extend storage time by placing in a sealed bag and keep in the salad crisper drawer of the refrigerator.

1 to 2 weeks

Kiwi Fruit Place ripe fruit in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Can store at room temperature for 2 to 3 days

6 to 8 days

Lemons Can be stored at room temperature but will stay fresh longer if stored uncovered in the refrigerator. Keep fruit from touching each other.

2 to 5 weeks

Limes Place in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator.

1 to 3 weeks

Melons Ripen at room temperature and then refrigerate. Wrap with plastic or place in a plastic bag to keep its smell from affecting other foods stored in the refrigerator.

6 to 8 days

Oranges Can be stored at room temperature but will stay fresh longer if stored in the refrigerator. Place in a plastic bag and refrigerate.

2 to 3 weeks

Peaches Ripen at room temperature. To speed ripening, place in a loosely closed paper bag. They are ripe when they yield to slight pressure and have a sweet smell. Refrigerate when ripe.

2 to 3 days

Pears Ripen at room temperature and then store in coldest part of the refrigerator.

10 to 14 days

Pineapple Store at room temperature for 1 to 2 days and then refrigerate.

3 to 5 days

Plums Store in the refrigerator

2 to 3 days

Rhubarb Cut leaves from stalks and store in a plastic bag or wrapped in plastic.

1 to 2 weeks

Tangerines Store in the refrigerator.

1 week

Watermelon Uncut watermelon can be stored at room temperature for a few days but cut sections should be wrapped with plastic wrap and refrigerated as soon as possible.

6 to 8 days

Storage Chart – Convenience Foods

Convenience foods are prepared foods ready to cook or ready to eat without further preparation.

Food Item

Refrigerator
Storage

Freezer
Storage

Prepared Salads (Store Prepared or Homemade)

3 to 5 days

Do Not Freeze

Deli Stuffed Chicken Breasts or Chops

1 days

Do Not Freeze

Deli Cooked Meats

3 to 4 days

Do Not Freeze

Frozen Dinners

Keep Frozen

3 to 4 months

Vacuum-Packed Dinners (with USDA seal)

2 weeks

Do Not Freeze

 

Storage Chart – Canned and Bottled

The storage times below are the length of time the foods should be stored after they have been opened.

Food Item

Refrigerator
Storage

Freezer
Storage

Baby Food

1 to 2 days

Do Not Freeze

Fish or Seafood, (such as tuna and salmon)

2 to 3 days

Do Not Freeze

Meat

2 days

Do Not Freeze

Gravy or Broth

2 days

Do Not Freeze

Mayonaise – Commercially Prepared

2 months

Do Not Freeze

Salad Dressings

3 months

Do Not Freeze

Ketchup, Mustard, Pickles, & Relishes

4 to 6 months

Do Not Freeze

 

Storage Chart – Dairy and Eggs

Food Item

Refrigerator
Storage

Freezer
Storage

Butter & Margarine

2 to 3 months

6 to 8 months

Cheese, Fresh

1 to 2 days

Do Not Freeze

Cheese, Soft

3 to 4 days

1 month

Cheese, Hard or Semi-hard

2 to 3 weeks

3 to 6 months

Cheese Spread & Dips

1 to 2 weeks

1 month

Milk & Cream

1 week

3 weeks

Ice Cream

Do not Refrigerate

1 to 2 months

Whipped Topping (Non-Dairy) – Carton

10 to 14 days

1 year

Yogurt

1 week

5 to 6 weeks

Eggs in the Shell

4 to 5 weeks

Do Not Freeze

Eggs, Raw Whites

2 to 4 days

6 to 9 months

Eggs, Raw Yolks

2 to 4 days

3 to 6 months

Eggs, Hard Boiled

1 week

Do Not Freeze

Egg Dish, Cooked

3 to 4 days

Do Not Freeze

 

Storage Chart – Baked Goods

To Refrigerate: Baked goods should be stored tightly wrapped to prevent them from drying out. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, foil, or in self sealing plastic bags. To Freeze: Freeze baked goods while they are as fresh as possible. Wrap tightly, using moisture proof heavyweight plastic wrap, foil, or freezer bags.

Food Item

Refrigerator
Storage

Freezer
Storage

Bread

1 week

3 months

Cakes, with Cream Filled, Whipped Topping, or Cream Cheese Frosting

4 to 5 days

3 months

Pies, Custard

2 to 3 days

Do Not Freeze

Pies, Fruit

3 to 4 days

6 to 8 months

Cookie Dough

4 to 5 days

2 to 3 months

Cookies, Baked

1 week
(Room Temperature)

3 months

Cookies, Containing Cream Cheese or Cream Frosting

3 to 5 days

3 months

 

Storage Chart – Pantry Items

To Store on the Shelf: All items need to be stored in an airtight container. If the items have not been opened, they can be stored in their original contaners, otherwise a clear, clean container with a airtight cover should be used. A clear container will allow you to see what the container contains. Pantry items should be stored in a dry enviornment, away from direct sunlight. Storage times below are for whether the item is unopened or opened. If there is a difference between unopened and opend, it is indicated.

Food Item

Shelf Storage

Baking Powder

18 months – unopened
6 months – opened

Baking Soda

2 years – unopened
6 months – opened

Biscuit Mix

12 to 18 months

Bread

3 to 5 days

Bread Crumbs

6 months

Brownie Mix

1 year

Cake Mixes

1 year

Candy – Commerically Made

1 year

Canned Fruit and Vegetables

1 year

Cereal

6 to 12 months – unopened
2 to 3 months – opened

Chili Powder

2 years

Chocolate, Semi-sweet

1 to 2 years

Chocolate, Syrup

2 years
Refrigerate after opening

Chocolate, Unsweetened

18 months

Cocoa

Indefinitely – unopened
1 year – opened

Coconut

1 year – unopened

Coffee, Ground

2 years – unopened
2 weeks – opened

Coffee, Instant

1 year – unopened
2 weeks – opened

Coffee Creamer, Powder

6 months

Cornmeal

1 year

Cornstarch

18 months

Crackers

6 months

Extracts

6 months

Fish, Canned

12 to 18 months

Flour

6 to 8 months

Formula (Infant)

12 to 18 months – unopened
2 weeks – opened

Gelatin / Pudding

12 to 18 months

Herbs & Spices

6 to 12 months

Honey

1 year

Jams, Jellies, Preserves

1 Year – unopened
6 months – opened (refrigerated)

Juice, Canned-Citrus

6 months

Juice, Canned-Noncitrus

1 year

Marshmallow Creme

4 months

Marshmallows

3 months

Mayonnaise, commercial

4 months – unopened, on shelf
2 months – opened, refrigerated

Meats & Poultry, Canned

12 to 18 months

Milk, Canned

1 year

Milk, Nonfat Dry

6 months

Molasses

1 year – unopened
6 months – opened

Nuts

8 months

Olives

1 year

Pancake Mixes

6 months

Paprika

8 months

Pasta / Noodles, Dried

2 years

Peanut Butter

6 to 9 months

Peppers, Canned or Pickled

1 year

Pickles

1 year

Popcorn, Unpopped

1 to 2 years

Potatoes, Instant

18 months

Rice, White

2 years

Salad Dressing

10 months – unopened
3 months – opened, refrigerated

Salt

Store Indefinitely

Sauces, Condiments, Relishes

1 year – unopened

Shortening

8 months – unopened
6 months – opened

Sodas

3 months – unopened

Stuffing Mix

6 months

Sugar, Brown

4 months

Sugar, Confectioners

18 months

Sugar, Granulated

2 years

Sugar, Substitutes

2 to 3 years

Syrups

1 year

Tea, Bags

18 months

Tea, Instant

3 years

Tea, Loose

2 years

Tomato Sauce or Paste

12 to 18 months

Vinegar – Do not store in a metal container. Store in its original container or in a glass container.

Store Indefinitely

source: www.hormel.com

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