This is the age-old argument in most households that applies to freezers and refrigerators: “Is this still good?”.
Now, I may have made plenty of reasons why that burrito from last week may still be good to eat for lunch today, but it doesn’t mean I should…
Having a general idea of a timeline for how long you can store food; especially in your freezer, will help you when it comes to planning a food storage plan and keeping your family healthy and safety.
Our family uses freezing food as one way we do long and short-term prepping. We have a small chest freezer in our garage that we rely on to keep our stored items cold and safe.
The only downside to this is relying too much on electricity to keep our food storage good. The electrical grid is weak and could get knocked out at any time. And many of us could be without the power needed to keep it frozen or cold.
If left untouched, food in your freezer can keep up to 8 hours before the temperature becomes unsafe. Because you might end up losing most of your frozen and refrigerated food if an extended blackout occurs, you may think that you shouldn’t keep plenty of food frozen in the meantime. In fact, it’s a good idea to do that.
The keys here are to wrap and package these foods before you stick them in the freezer, put a date on each of them as a reminder, and then eat them before they go bad. Even when frozen, food will lose some of its quality, so make sure you consume it before that happens.
Here are some general guidelines on how long different foods can stay frozen and still be healthy to eat. None of these are guarantees.
Meat. One month for bacon, two months for hot dogs and ham, four months for raw hamburger and chicken, nine months for lamb, and up to a year for steaks and pork roasts.
Seafood. Two months for canned seafood, three months for shellfish and fatty fish, six months for shrimp, scallops and lean fish, 10 months for crab, and up to a year for lobster.
Fruits and vegetables. The general consensus is one year for vegetables and non-citrus fruits. Nuts and citrus fruits would be three months each.
Desserts and Breads. Two months for baked pies, three months for pancakes, cheesecake, baked bread and cookie dough, eight months for baked cookies and baked fruit pies, and up to a year for baked muffins.
Eggs and Dairy. One month for raw eggs and cottage cheese, two months for ice cream and yogurt, six months for cheese, nine months for butter, and up to a year for margarine.