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How Long Will Frozen Food Really Last Before It Goes Bad?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 4:47
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How Long Will Frozen Food Really Last Before It Goes Bad?

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Freezing is an easy and convenient way to save time and money when it comes to feeding your family. You can make meals ahead and freeze them for future use. You can freeze seasonal fruits and vegetables for the winter. You can even freeze random leftovers for what my kids know as our no-cook “leftover surprise” night.

But freezing does present two possible problems. First, how can you know how long a frozen food item is safe to eat? And, secondly, what will happen to all that frozen food if the power goes out?

Most frozen foods remain safe to eat almost indefinitely. Therefore, most storage “times” for frozen foods are merely suggested times for best taste and quality only.

Keeping in mind that the federal government is conservative with its estimates, here are some general guidelines from and

  • Ground meat: 3 to 4 months
  • Fresh meat: 6 to 12 months
  • Poultry: 12 months
  • Fish: 3 to 6 months
  • Pork: 6 to 8 months
  • Processed meat (hot dogs, sausage lunch meat, bacon): 1 to 2 months
  • Leftovers (cooked meat): 2 to 6 months
  • Butter: 5 to 6 months
  • Hard cheese: 6 to 12 months
  • Soft cheese: 4 months
  • Eggs (removed from shell): 12 months
  • Milk: 1 month
  • Fruits: 12 months
  • Cooked vegetables: 1 month
  • Raw vegetables: 12 months
  • Onions (raw): 3 to 6 months
  • Baked goods: 6 months

The best place for long-term storage is the back of your stand-up freezer or the bottom of your chest freezer.


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