Shelf-life of perishable goods




Product
Refrigerator
1-5 ◦ C
Freezer
- 18 ◦ C
Comments
DAIRY PRODUCTS
Butter
2-3 months
12 months
Freeze in original carton, overwrap in plastic freezer bag.
Cheese:
cottage, ricotta
cream cheese

5-7 days
2 weeks

1 month
1 month
Freezing changes texture of soft cheeses.
Becomes crumbly when frozen; can be used in cooking when creaminess is not important.
Natural, aged cheeses
(cheddar, Swiss, brick, gouda, mozzarella, etc.):
large pieces, packaged or wax coated
slices or opened packages
Parmesan, Romano, (grated)
Pasteurized process cheese



2-3 months
2-3 weeks
12 months
3-4 weeks



6-8 months
6-8 months

6-8 months
Natural and processed cheeses can be frozen. Defrost in refrigerator; cheese will be less likely to crumble. Use soon after thawing.
Yogurt
1 month
NR
Yogurt will separate if frozen.
EGGS AND EGG PRODUCTS
Eggs, fresh yolks or whites
4 days
12 months
To freeze, break eggs out of shell; stir until yolk is well blended with white or other yolks. Add small amount of salt, sugar or corn syrup to improve keeping quality.
Eggs, in shell, fresh
3 weeks
NR

Eggs, in shell, hard-cooked
1 week
NR
Decorated Easter eggs: If you intend to eat them, keep refrigerated. If eggs are at room temperature for more than 2 hours, do not eat them.
MEATS
Fresh
Bratwurst, fresh
precooked
1-2 days
5-7 days
2-3 months
2-3 months
Meats may be left in the supermarket packaging for refrigerator storage or for very brief freezer storage. For frozen storage beyond two weeks, rewrap in moisture- and vaporproof wrap or freezer bags.
Chops, lamb
pork, veal
2-4 days
2-4 days
6-9 months
4-6 months
Ground beef, stew meat, ground pork, turkey, veal, lamb
1-2 days
3-4 months
Roasts, beef
lamb
veal or pork
2-4 days
2-4 days
2-4 days
6-12 months
6-9 months
4-8 months
Sausage: pork, beef, turkey
1-2 days
1-2 months
Steaks, beef
2-4 days
6-12 months
Variety meats
(tongue, liver, brains, heart, kidneys)
1-2 days
3-4 months
Cooked
Canned meat, opened
2-3 days
NR

Cooked meat and meat dishes
3-4 days
2-3 months
Quickly refrigerate all cooked meats and leftovers. Use as soon as possible. Cut large roasts into halves to cool in refrigerator. Fats tend to separate in homemade gravies, stews and sauces but usually recombine when heated.
Gravy and meat broth
1-2 days
2-3 months
Cool leftover gravy and broth quickly, in shallow containers, in the refrigerator.
Processed and Cured
Bacon
5-7 days
1 month
Keep packaged meats in original package. For best quality, use within one week of "sell by" date.
Corned beef: drained and wrapped
in pouch with pickling juice
5-7 days
5-7 days
1 month
NR

Frankfurters (hotdogs)
3-5 days*
1-2 months
Frozen, cured meats lose quality rapidly; use as soon as possible.
Ham, canned, unopened
half
whole
8-12 months
3-5 days
7 days
NR
1-2 months
1-2 months
Small pieces of canned ham (opened) may be frozen for 4-6 weeks.
Luncheon meats
3-5 days*
1-2 months

Sausage, smoked
dry and semidry sausage
7 days
2-3 weeks
1-2 months
1-2 months
*Storage time after vacuum-sealed package is opened. Unopened package may be kept two weeks or according to date on package.
POULTRY
Fresh
Chicken and turkey, whole
1-2 days
12 months

Chicken, pieces
1-2 days
9 months
Turkey, pieces
1-2 days
6 months
Cooked
Canned poultry, opened
1-2 days
NR
Quick-cool meat and broth separately in shallow containers. Add ice cubes to concentrated broth to speed cooling and to aid fat removal.
Cooked poultry dishes
3-4 days
4-6 months
Fried chicken
3-4 days
4 months
Pieces, covered with broth
not in broth
1-2 days
3-4 days
6 months
1 month
 SEAFOOD
Seafood
Canned fish, seafood, opened
3-4 days
NR

Clams, oysters (shucked) and scallops
1-2 days
3-4 months
Store in coldest part of refrigerator. Do not use if liquid is frothy.
Cooked fish
3-4 days
4-6 months

Crab
1-2 days
2 months
Lobster, shelled or not
1-2 days
6-12 months
Fillets, fatty: mullet, ocean perch, sea perch, sea trout, striped bass
1-2 days
2-3 months
Fillets, lean: cod, flounder, haddock
1-2 days
4-6 months
Fresh water fish, cleaned
1-2 days
6-9 months
Salmon steaks
1-2 days
2 months
Shrimp
1-2 days
6-12 months
Smoked fish
14 days or date on vacuum package
2 months in vacuum package
NR: Not recommended.

This table is adapted from Refrigerator/Freezer - Approximate Storage Times, Karen Penner, Kansas State University Extension Service and USDA publications. 




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