Food Storage Guide: How Long Should You Keep Food?

Is it safe to keep or time to toss? Make sure the food you're eating is safe with our handy guide.

Food accounts for a good chunk of the monthly household budget. Unfortunately, we still make mistakes when it comes to buying and storing food items properly. Make sure you’re eating safe food with our handy guide:

 


Leftovers: Cooked Meat and Soups with Veggies or Meat
Store: Place in shallow, covered containers and refrigerate. If freezing, place in freezer-safe plastic containers.
Shelf life: 3 to 4 days in refrigerator; 2 to 6 months in freezer

 



 

Beef

Store: Keep beef in its original packaging or repackage; the package must be secure and airtight. Label accordingly, noting down the date of purchase.
Shelf life: It is best to cook beef within 3 to 5 days. If you are going to keep it for later, wrap the packaging in aluminum foil or freezer-grade plastic wrap, or keep in a freezer-friendly plastic container in the freezer.

 

Steaks: 3 to 5 days in refrigerator; 6 to 12 months in freezer
Roasts: 3 to 5 days in refrigerator; 4 to 12 months in freezer
Ground: 1 to 2 days in refrigerator; 3 to 4 months in freezer

 

 

Chicken

 
Store: Store as soon as you get home, making sure it doesn’t sit in room temperature for more than 15
minutes. Keep chicken in its original packaging or repackage; the package must be secure and airtight. Label accordingly, noting down the date of purchase.
Shelf life: It is best to cook chicken within 2 to 3 days. If you are going to keep it for later, wrap the package in aluminum foil or freezer-grade plastic wrap, or keep in freezer-friendly plastic container in the freezer.
Whole: 1 to 2 days in refrigerator; 1 year in freezer
Pieces: 1 to 2 days in refrigerator; 9 months in freezer

 

 

 

Fish
Store: Clean fish, removing gills and scales. Dry with paper towels, then wrap in plastic wrap, wax paper, or aluminum foil. Store in the chiller. If you are going to keep it for more than two days, it is best to freeze it. Clean, dry, wrap in aluminum foil, then wrap again in freezer paper before placing in the freezer.

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Shelf life:
Lean fish: 1 to 2 days in refrigerator; 6 months in freezer
Fatty fish: 1 to 2 days in refrigerator; 2 to 3 months in freezer
Cooked fish: 3 to 4 days in refrigerator; 4 to 6 months in freezer
Smoked fish: 14 days in refrigerator; 2 months in freezer

 

ALSO READ:

Tip of the Week: Why You Should Label Your Freezer Items

 

Proper Food Storage: Throw-it, Keep-it Guide

 

Text and tips by Jing Lejano were published as part of the "Shop and Store" feature in the August 2014 issue of Yummy magazine

 

Chicken image from Pixabay.com

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