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.
|Bacon and sausage||1–2.months|
|Banana (peeled and dipped in lemon juice)||4–6.months|
|Bread, pastries, and cakes||3 months|
|Cherries, grapes, melons, and berries||8–12.months|
|Cookies (baked)||up to 1 year|
|Egg whites (unshelled)||1 year|
|Fish, fatty fillet||2–3.months|
|Fish, lean fillet||4–6.months|
|Frozen dinners||3 months|
|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|
|Poultry, cooked||4 months|
|Poultry, cut||9 months|
|Poultry, whole||1 year|
|Wild game, uncooked||8–12.months|