Safe Storage Times

Frozen food can be kept nearly indefinitely at 0°F or colder. Nonetheless, the longer the food stays frozen, the more nutrients you lose and the greater the likelihood that ice crystals will form and decrease the overall color, taste, or textural quality of the product. One great way to deter this is by simple rotation. Diligently arrange your freezer shelves so that the oldest item is in front and newly preserved items are in the back.

Keep in mind that the amount of time foods can be safely kept frozen decreases with temperature fluctuation in your freezer, including the variations caused by opening the door to put food in or take it out. The longer you leave the door open, the greater the temperature will change and the more it will affect the food stored inside.

Here’s a quick overview of suggested storage times on various common pantry items. More information about storage will typically be noted in the recipes you’re using for freezing. Longer lists are also available online at many preserving websites.

FREEZER TIMES

Food Time
Bacon and sausage 1–2.months
Banana (peeled and dipped in lemon juice) 4–6.months
Bread, pastries, and cakes 3 months
Butter 1 year
Casseroles 2–3.months
Cheese, aged/hard 6–8.months
Cherries, grapes, melons, and berries 8–12.months
Cookies (baked) up to 1 year
Egg whites (unshelled) 1 year
Fish, cooked 4–6.months
Fish, fatty fillet 2–3.months
Fish, lean fillet 4–6.months
Frozen dinners 3 months
Gravy 2 months
Ham 6 weeks
Hot dogs 6 weeks
Leftovers of spaghetti, chili, rice, beans, etc. about 4.months
Lunch meat 6 weeks
Meat, cooked 3 months
Meat, ground 3 months
Meat, uncooked 4–12.months
Poultry, cooked 4 months
Poultry, cut 9 months
Poultry, whole 1 year
Shrimp 6–12.months
Soups 2–3.months
Tofu 5 months
Vegetables 8–12.months
Wild game, uncooked 8–12.months
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