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Find out how long you can safely store foods in the refrigerator and freezer.

Cold storage safety. How long will it keep? Find out.

 

Reviewed 9/2/2020

Cold storage safety

Find out how long you can safely store foods in the refrigerator and freezer.

EGGS

IN THE REFRIGERATOR, fresh eggs, still in the shell, can be stored for 3 to 5 weeks. Raw yolks and whites can be stored for 2 to 4 days. Hard-cooked eggs can be stored for 1 week.

DO NOT FREEZE FRESH EGGS IN THE SHELL OR HARD-COOKED EGGS. Raw yolks and whites can be frozen for 12 months.

MILK

IN THE REFRIGERATOR, milk can be stored for 1 week.

IN THE FREEZER, milk can be stored for 3 months.

MAYONNAISE (COMMERCIAL)

IN THE REFRIGERATOR, mayonnaise can be stored for 2 months.

DO NOT FREEZE MAYONNAISE.

YOGURT

IN THE REFRIGERATOR, yogurt can be stored for 1 to 2 weeks.

IN THE FREEZER, yogurt can be stored for 1 to 2 months.

MARGARINE

IN THE REFRIGERATOR, margarine can be stored for 6 months.

IN THE FREEZER, margarine can be stored for 12 months.

BUTTER

IN THE REFRIGERATOR, butter can be stored for 1 to 2 months.

IN THE FREEZER, butter can be stored for 6 to 9 months.

SOUPS AND STEWS

IN THE REFRIGERATOR, soups and stews can be stored for 3 to 4 days.

IN THE FREEZER, soups and stews can be stored for 2 to 3 months.

GROUND MEATS (BEEF, TURKEY AND LAMB)

IN THE REFRIGERATOR, ground meats can be stored for 1 to 2 days.

IN THE FREEZER, ground meats can be stored for 3 to 4 months.

MEAT LEFTOVERS (COOKED MEATS AND MEAT CASSEROLES)

IN THE REFRIGERATOR, meat leftovers can be stored for 3 to 4 days.

IN THE FREEZER, meat leftovers can be stored for 2 to 3 months.

FRESH MEATS (BEEF, VEAL OR LAMB)

IN THE REFRIGERATOR, steaks, chops and roasts can be stored for 3 to 5 days.

IN THE FREEZER, steaks can be stored for 6 to 12 months. Chops can be stored for 4 to 6 months. Roasts can be stored for 4 to 12 months.

LUNCH MEATS

IN THE REFRIGERATOR, opened packages can be stored for 3 to 5 days. Unopened packages can be stored for 2 weeks.

IN THE FREEZER, opened packages can be stored for 1 to 2 months. Unopened packages can be stored for 1 to 2 months.

POULTRY

IN THE REFRIGERATOR, fresh, whole poultry can be stored 1 to 2 days. Fresh pieces of poultry can be stored for 1 to 2 days. Cooked poultry can be stored 3 to 4 days.

IN THE FREEZER, fresh, whole poultry can be stored 12 months. Fresh pieces of poultry can be stored 9 months. Cooked poultry can be stored 4 to 6 months.

FISH

IN THE REFRIGERATOR, fresh, lean fish (like cod) can be stored 1 to 2 days. Fresh, fatty fish (like salmon) can be stored 1 to 2 days. Cooked fish can be stored 3 to 4 days.

IN THE FREEZER, fresh, lean fish can be stored 6 months. Fresh, fatty fish can be stored 2 to 3 months. Cooked fish can be stored 4 to 6 months.

LEARN MORE ABOUT FOOD SAFETY

Visit the Food Safety topic center

Sources: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

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