The history of food storage and preservation dates back to ancient civilizations, when people used methods such as drying, salting, and fermentation to preserve food for long periods of time. In more recent history, advances in food storage technology have allowed for the development of refrigeration, freezing, and canning, which have made it easier to store and preserve food for longer periods of time.
Proper food storage is important for both food safety and nutrition. Storing food at the proper temperature and in the correct container can help prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and other pathogens, which can cause foodborne illness. Proper food storage can also help preserve the quality and nutrients of the food, ensuring that it is safe and nutritious to eat.
There are a number of guidelines to follow when it comes to food storage:
- Store perishable food in the refrigerator at a temperature of 40°F (4°C) or below.
- Store frozen food in the freezer at a temperature of 0°F (-18°C) or below.
- Use airtight containers to store food, as this can help prevent contamination and extend the shelf life of the food.
- Label and date food when you store it, so you know when it should be used.
- Follow the “first in, first out” principle when storing food, which means using the oldest items first to prevent waste.
If shopping for your groceries, at times, is not stressful enough, think about all the food you throw away weekly. Putting away your refrigerated or freezer meats to maximize their freshness may come in close second. So why not learn about some cold food storage guidelines for meats, to optimally keep your perishables fresh and more importantly safe to enjoy. Such as what foods can and should not be frozen plus the maximum duration to store your food safely. Some of these food storage tips might even surprise you.
|Food Item||Refrigerator (40°F)||Freezer (0°F)|
|Eggs Fresh, in shell||3 Weeks||Not Recommended|
|Raw yolks, whites||2-4 Days||1 year|
|Hardcooked eggs||1 Week||Not Recommended|
|Liquid pasteurized eggs or egg substitute — opened||3 Days||Not Recommended|
|Liquid pasteurized eggs or egg substitute — unopened||10 Days||1 year|
|Commercial, refrigerate after opening||2 Months||Not Recommended|
|Store-made or homemade egg, chicken, tuna, ham, macaroni salads||3-5 Days||Not Recommended|
|Pre-stuffed pork & lamb chops, chicken breasts stuffed with dressing||1 Day||Not Recommended|
|Store-cooked convenience meals||1-2 Days||Not Recommended|
|Commercial brand vacuum-packed dinners with USDA seal||2 Weeks, unopened||Not Recommended|
|Vegetable or meat-added||3-4 Days||2-3 Months|
|Hotdogs — opened package||1 Week||1-2 months|
|Hotdogs — unopened package||2 Weeks||1-2 months|
|Lunch meats — opened||3-5 Days||1-2 months|
|Lunch meats — unopened||2 Weeks||1-2 months|
|Bacon||7 Days||1 Month|
|Sausage, raw from pork, beef, turkey||1-2 Days||1-2 Months|
|Smoked breakfast links, patties||7 Days||1-2 Months|
|Hard sausage — pepperoni, jerky sticks||2-3 Weeks||1-2 Months|
|Ham, fully cooked — whole||7 Days||1-2 Months|
|Ham, fully cooked — half||3-5 Days||1-2 Months|
|Ham, fully cooked — slices||3-4 Days||1-2 Months|
|Hamburger and stew meats||1-2 Days||3-4 Months|
|Ground veal, pork, lamb and mixtures of them||1-2 Days||3-4 Months|
|Steaks, beef||3-5 Days||6-12 Months|
|Chops, pork||3-5 Days||4-6 Months|
|Chops, lamb||3-5 Days||6-9 Months|
|Roasts, beef||3-5 Days||6-12 Months|
|Roasts, lamb||3-5 Days||6-9 Months|
|Roasts, pork and veal||3-5 Days||4-6 Months|
|Cooked meat and meat dishes||3-4 Days||2-3 Months|
|Gravy and meat broth||1-2 Days||2-3 Months|
|Chicken or turkey, whole||1-2 Days||1 Year|
|Chicken or turkey pieces||1-2 Days||9 Months|
|Ground turkey||1-2 Days||3-4 Months|
|Fried chicken||3-4 Days||4 Months|
|Cooked poultry dishes||3-4 Days||4-6 Months|