We’ve all been there: That minute you want to placed the kibosh ~ above all her take-out, however haven’t to be to the grocery store in a while. You try to scrounge up the ingredient you do have actually into something tasty and healthy, just like the chefs on Chopped. The point is, if friend haven’t been maintaining an eye on expiration dates, the pasta sauce and also parmesan cheese hiding in the back of your refrigerator might not be your best bet — and also that sell-by date could not call the whole story.

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While sell-by dates do offer a function — to educate stores exactly how long to screen food item — once a customer purchases the product, it’s approximately them come determine just how long it lasts. And also the problem there: consuming perishable foods after they spoil leader to one of the many prevalent situations of food poisoning, cautions Joe Kivett, co-author the The Food safety and security Book: What You nothing Know might Kill You.

To help you steer clean of any sickness, we talked to food experts to discover out specifically how lengthy you have the right to keep your favorite kitchen staples.

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Food Safety: exactly how Long her Favorite foods Really Last


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Photo: Twenty20


1. Eggs

Typical Shelf Life: Three to 5 weeks for fresh and around seven days for cooked

Thankfully, because that omelet lovers and healthy bakers, eggs generally last a month in the refrigerator. Pay fist to sell-by and expiration dates, but if your carton doesn’t have actually one of those, look for a three-digit stamp instead. This means the day in which the eggs were washed, graded and also packed and also it’s required for USDA Grade eggs (while clearly sell-by and expiration days aren’t). “This date shows up as a three-digit password representing the day of the year, start with 001 (January 1) and also ending through 365 (December 31),” Kivett explains.

Remember come refrigerate eggs in their original package in the coldest component of the refrigerator. Have actually a bunch of tough boiled egg in your refrigerator from enjoy the meal prep Sunday or a batch that egg muffins? They’ll last around a mainly from when you cook them, as soon as stored in the fridge.

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2. Milk

Typical shelf life: About a week previous the sell-by date

The general dominion of thumb for cow’s milk is refrigerating it for no much more than five to 7 days previous the sell-by date. But the real vital is storing the properly. “Keep milk towards the earlier of your fridge — never ever on the door, due to the fact that the temperature changes when you open and also close it,” claims Eliza Savage, registered dietitian at Middleberg Nutrition. “With dairy milk, girlfriend will understand it’s gone poor by a tart smell, yellowish tint or adjust in texture in the direction of thick and clumpy,” she says. The very same goes because that lactose-free milk.

Nut milks commonly last seven to 10 days once opened. Store unopened almond milk in the fridge to maximize shelf life, and toss at least one mainly after the day on the box. Amidor even suggests tossing soy or seed milks prior to the use-by day (keep one eye out for alters in odor or texture), together that day signifies exactly how long the closed container lasts.

3. Cheese

Typical shelf life: Six weeks because that regular; three weeks for grated

“Hard cheese will certainly last the longest, complied with by semi-hard cheeses, such as cheddar, swiss and also gouda,” defines Savage. “Sliced cheese or shredded cheese will certainly mold or expire quicker, together there is a larger surface area because that the bacteria and also air to be exposed to.” great news: Most hard cheeses will certainly last six weeks longer than the published date, Savage says. But shredded difficult cheese, as soon as opened, have the right to only critical for about three weeks. In general, if you watch mold, toss it.

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4. Meat

Typical shelf life: Two days for fish and poultry, around five because that red meat and two weeks for unopened processed meats; 2 months come a year in the freezer

The U.S. Room of Health and also Human Services has very particular recommendations for storing various species of meat. (Check out foodsafety.gov for details.) Fish, prefer cod, flounder and also tilapia, lasts just one or 2 days in the fridge, but around six month in the freezer. (Pro tip: create the date you’re freezing them top top the package, for this reason you understand when come toss.)

When it pertains to raw poultry, it’ll just last in the fridge for a day or two, however up to a year if you store it in the freezer. Together for cooking poultry, save it in the fridge for three to 5 days, and also use your finest judgement to recognize whether or no it’s tho good.

Raw red meat and pork has actually a longer shelf life. Save these cuts up to 5 days in the fridge, or in the freezer anywhere from 4 months to a year. Cooking red meat lasts 3 to four days in the cold.

Processed meats are a various ball game. Cold cuts commonly last two weeks if castle unopened. (This isn’t always the same for the new slices you get at the deli stand — subtract a few days to be safe.) hot dogs space only good for a day or therefore in the fridge, yet can critical up to 2 months in the freezer.

5. Produce

Typical shelf life: About a week

When it comes to fruits and also veggies, exactly how long they’ll continue to be edible counts on the type. “Some produce is best stored in ~ room temperature, choose garlic, potatoes and also onions, which have the right to last a couple of weeks or more. At the same time others, like tomatoes and avocados, have about a week-long shelf-life when kept at room temperature,” describes Toby Amidor, MS, RD writer of The healthy and balanced Meal prepare Cookbook: Easy and also Wholesome Meals to Cook, Prep, Grab and Go. “You can likewise store whole fruit favor melons at room temperature, but once you part them open, keep them in the fridge.”

Other fruits and vegetables — including apples, potatoes, ripe bananas and also tomatoes — save a naturally developing plant hormone called ethylene gas. In general, fruit that save this invisible and odorless gas (harmless to humans) proceed to ripen also after being picked. Yet if you save them near the produce that’s perceptible to this gas (specifically, bananas, carrots, lettuce, pears and strawberries) it could reason them come spoil quicker. Keep your fruits and also veggies in separate containers or drawers, and also you’re great to go.

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6. Frozen produce

Typical shelf life: Six to 10 month in the freezer

While the still for sure to munch ~ above frozen vegetables after 10 months, you’ll could sacrifice flavor and texture. “Frozen vegetable will continue to be fresher longer and preserve your taste if they are stored in freezer-safe containers in ~ 32 levels or less,” Savage says. Frozen fruits usually last all over from six to ripe months if maintained constantly cold.

7. Bread

Typical shelf life: One week after the best-by day (two weeks in the fridge)

The biggest predictor in determining the shelf life of bread is even if it is it’s commercially created or small fresh. “Commercial bread will certainly last as long as long as seven days previous the ‘best by’ date when stored on the shelf, as lengthy as 14 days once stored in the refrigerator, and also three months when frozen,” says Kivett. “Bakery bread might last only two days past the ‘best by’ day when save on computer on the shelf.” yet you can expand that by placing the in the freezer, too.

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8. Condiments

Typical shelf life: Anywhere from two months to two years

Amidor suggests keeping mustard in the refrigerator for 12 months, ketchup for about six, barbecue sauce because that four and opened commercial mayo for about two months. For those stored in ~ room temperature, toss Worcestershire sauce ~ 12 months, baking powder after 18 months (if sealed) and also un-opened vinegar and also maple syrup after 2 years. “Once opened, these last up to 12 months,” Amidor says.

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