How many times have you pulled some chicken (or strawberries or a casserole) out of the freezer only to end up worrying that you shouldn’t eat it because it’s been in there for too long?
Well, worry no more — a handy-dandy chart from FoodSafety.gov spells out exactly how long you can keep various foods in the freezer.
Print out this cheat sheet and stick it on the freezer so you’ll know just how long you can hold on to Aunt Margaret’s family recipe for Mississippi Mud Pie. And don’t forget to stick a label on food before you freeze it so you know exactly how long it’s been in there.
Recommended Freezing Times May Surprise You
Some of these suggested storage times are surprising. A baked, frosted cake, for example, should be stored for just one month. No wonder all those saved slices of wedding cake taste pretty bad when couples eat them on their one-year anniversaries!
You may also be surprised to hear that some of these foods can be frozen at all. Eggs, for example. While some sources say you can keep them for up to a year, Freezer Labels’ chart recommends just a month. And FoodSafety.gov says that the whites can be frozen for a year but advises against freezing the yolks. The only reason given is that they “do not freeze well.”
Just note that the key to freezing raw eggs is to remove them from their shells first.
Meanwhile, recommended freezing times for meat and fish also seem to vary widely. While you could freeze a lean fish for up to six months, it’s recommended that you keep fatty fish like salmon in the freezer for just two to three months.
And while steaks or pork roasts may be kept for up to a year, ground meat like turkey or beef is best kept for just three to four months.
Additional Tips For Smart Food Storage
- Food should always be frozen at the peak of its ripeness/freshness.
- Some types of food do not freeze well, such as eggs in shell or potatoes.
- Liquids expand in cold temps, so it’s important to leave enough room in the container when freezing beverages, etc
You might also want to check out this video, which will provide you with some other frozen food storage ideas for freezing fresh herbs:
Here’s to no more freezer mysteries!