Keep Food Safe – Guide to Refrigerator Storage Periods

When storing foods in your refrigerator, use foil, plastic bags and wraps, or airtight containers. Clean refrigerators regularly to reduce food odors. Remove spoiled foods immediately so decay cannot pass to other foods. Maintain refrigerator temperature at 40ºF or below and check the temperature regularly with a refrigerator thermometer. Use foods quickly. Don't depend on maximum storage periods. If you have any doubt about the food, throw it out.

FRESH MEATS

(WRAPPED IN PLASTIC)

LENGTH

(IN DAYS)

Roasts, Steaks, Chopspork, lamb, veal

3 - 5

Ground meat

1 - 2

Stew Meat

1 - 2

Pork Sausage

1 - 2

 

COOKED MEATS

LENGTH

(IN DAYS)

All Meat Dishes

3 - 4

Gravy and Broth

1 - 2

 

POULTRY

LENGTH

(IN DAYS)

All Poultry(fresh, ground, and cooked)

1 - 2

PROCESSED MEATS

LENGTH

(IN DAYS)

Bacon

7

Hot Dogs

7

Hamwhole

 half

slices

 

7

3 - 5

3

Luncheon Meats

3 - 5

Smoked Sausage

7

Sausage(dry and semi-dry)

14 - 21

 

Eggs

4 - 3 weeks

 

SEAFOOD

LENGTH

(IN DAYS)

All SeafoodFresh

Cooked

1 – 2

3 – 4

 

FRESH FRUITS

LENGTH

(IN DAYS)

Bananas

refrigerate only when ripe

Citrus Fruit

21

Citrus Juices

7

Apples

7 - 21

Melons(tightly wrap cut surfaces)

7

Berries (including cherries)

1 - 2

Other(tightly wrap cut surfaces

3 - 5

 

FRESH VEGETABLES

LENGTH

(IN DAYS)

Greens (spinach, kale, collards)

3 - 5

Salad Greens (lettuce, romaine)

7

Cabbage, Tomatoes, Celery, Green Peppers

7

Root Vegetables(carrots, turnips, radishes)

14

 

DAIRY

LENGTH

(IN DAYS)

Milk

7

Yogurt

28

Hard Cheeses(wrapped plastic)

3 - 4 months

Soft Cheeses

14

Cottage Cheese

5 - 7

Ricotta and Cream Cheese

14



Original Publication Date:

Cooperative Extension Education in Agriculture and Home Economics, University of Delaware, Delaware State University and the United States Department of Agriculture cooperating. Distributed in furtherance of Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. It is the policy of the Delaware Cooperative Extension System that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex, disability, age, or national origin.

Disclaimer: Reference to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by University of Delaware Cooperative Extension or bias against those not mentioned.

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