• 57°

Toi Degree: How long will items last in freezer, or refrigerator?

Have you ever wondered how long your frozen food will last? Or, can you eat a canned good after the expiration? Maybe even which method of storage is the best? Well, if you have ever wondered about any of these things, keep reading for more information on food storage.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), proper home food storage helps maintain safety and food quality by keeping flavor, color, texture and nutrients in food.

Pantry items:  Many staples and canned foods have a relatively long shelf life. However, foods stored for longer than recommended times or beyond the date on the package may change quality, color, and flavor.

Refrigerated foods:  Refrigerators should be kept at a temperature of 40°F (4°C) or below. At that temperature, bacterial growth is slowed and quality is maintained. Time limits will keep refrigerated food from spoiling or causing someone to become ill. Because product dates are not a guide for the safe use of a product, here are a few tips to follow:

• Purchase the product before “sell-by” or expiration date.

• Follow handling recommendations on product.

• Keep meat and poultry in their package until just before using.

• If freezing meat and poultry in its original package longer than two months, cover these packages with heavy-duty foil, plastic wrap, or freezer paper. Or, place the package inside a freezer bag.

“Best if Used By” on the package labeling if the date is simply related to optimal quality, not safety. If the products have changed noticeably in color, consistency, or texture, consumers may want to avoid eating them.

“Use By” date-labels you see on packaged foods relate to the quality of the product, but predicting when food will no longer be of adequate quality for consumption is not an exact science.

Freezers should be kept at 0°F (-18°C) or lower. Because freezing keeps food safe indefinitely, the following recommended freezer storage times are for quality (flavor, color, texture, etc.) only. It is also very important to purchase thermometers for both your refrigerator/freezer. You can find them in the housewares section of department, appliance, culinary, and grocery stores. Buy two! Place one in your refrigerator and one in your freezer.

Place the thermometer in the front of the refrigerator/freezer in an easy-to-read location.

Check temperature regularly — at least once a week.

If the freezer compartment isn’t a separate freezer compartment but is inside the refrigerator, it may be impossible to obtain a 0ºF temperature. One sign of this will be soft ice cream. Plan to use food within a few weeks.

For more information on storage times, visit –

  https://food.unl.edu/free-resource/food-storage#meatpoultryfisheggs

• https://food.unl.edu/free-resource/food-storage#milkdairyproducts

• https://food.unl.edu/free-resource/food-storage#fruit

• https://food.unl.edu/free-resource/food-storage#vegetables

• https://food.unl.edu/free-resource/food-storage#condiments

• https://food.unl.edu/free-resource/food-storage#bakedgoods

• https://www.foodsafety.gov/food-safety-charts/cold-food-storage-charts

Toi N. Degree is Associate Family & Consumer Education Agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension.  Call her at 704-216-8970 or email her at toi_degree@ncsu.edu.

About Post Lifestyles

Visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalPostLifestyle/ and Twitter @postlifestlyes for more content

email author More by Post

Comments

Crime

Man jailed for shooting at Davie detectives in Rowan County, given $560,000 bond

BREAKING NEWS

County Commissioner Craig Pierce pleads guilty to driving while intoxicated

BREAKING NEWS

Overdose call turns into homicide investigation on Ted Lane

Crime

Court judgement requires occupants to vacate Gheen Road home, site of two murders

Crime

Blotter: Oct. 17

Nation/World

Bill Clinton back home after hospitalization from infection

Local

Early voting creeps along as county holds first municipal voting on Sunday

News

5 killed in single-vehicle crash in Raleigh

News

Knightdale police officer dies in crash on Interstate 540

Granite Quarry

Granite Fest makes a comeback with music, vendors and fun for kids

Education

State budget process could mean big gains or loss of funding for schools

Business

Biz Roundup: Downtown Salisbury vying for $25,000 cash prize

Kannapolis

Kannapolis native serves as a member of U.S. Navy’s ‘Silent Service’

Local

Snyder promoted to deputy city clerk

Crime

Woman arrested for flashing rear end at Sheriff’s Office after previous charges overturned

Lifestyle

Hall wins bronze medal in SilverArts

Clubs

Harold B. Jarrett American Legion Post 342 holds 75th anniversary celebration

Business

Salisbury-based Integro Technologies acquired by Kaman Distribution Group

Lifestyle

World War II veteran, longtime Rowan County farmer, celebrates 100th birthday

Local

Rowan commissioners will discuss body cameras for bailiffs, arrowhead donation, plumbing fix for lead levels

Business

Downtown move gives Salisbury Eyecare and Eyewear chance to expand offerings, add new doctor

Nation/World

Clinton recovering from infection 

Crime

Teen charged in shooting at Mount Tabor High School held without bond

Nation/World

Marine officer receives reprimand for Afghanistan criticism