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Print version of tables for: Meat | Fruit | Vegetables | Misc food Storage (dairy, eggs,)

Refrigerator Storage of Meats     (Print version of table below.)
  Storage Time
Meats How to store Refrigerator 35-40°F Freezer 0°F
Raw roasts, steaks, chops, smoked In retail packages, waxed paper, or foil. Store in coldest part of refrigerator. For freezing, wrap in foil or freezer paper. 3-5 days
4-12 months
Raw livers, raw heart, raw kidneys and other variety meats Store like roast, steaks, etc. 1-2 days 3-4 months
Raw ground meat Store like roast, steaks, etc. 1-2 days 3-4 months
Sliced bacon Keep in original package, sealable bags, or foil. Store in coldest part of refrigerator or in meat keeper. 7 days 1 month
Lunchmeat Keep wrapped. Store in coldest part of refrigerator. 3-5 days, opened
2 weeks, unopened
1-2 months
Cooked meat dishes and leftovers Cool and refrigerate immediately. Store in tightly covered container. 3-4 days 2-3 months

Refrigerator Storage of Poultry

  You can keep it approximately this long
Poultry How to store Refrigerator 35-40°F Freezer 0°F
Fresh poultry Refrigerate in wax paper, foil or in covered container. 1-2 days 9-12 months
Cooked poultry, leftovers Cool and refrigerate within 2 hours after cooking. Remove stuffing and refrigerate. Wrap and refrigerate. 3-4 days, unless covered in broth or gravy, then 1-2 days 4-6 months

Refrigerator Storage of Fish and Seafood

 

 

You can keep it approximately this long
Fish How to store Refrigerator Shelves 35-40°F Freezer 0°F
Fresh fish Refrigerate. Wrap in waxed paper or foil; store in covered container 1-2 days. Keep shellfish to be eaten raw only a few hours. 2-6 months
Cooked fish Refrigerate tightly wrapped in a covered container. 3-4 days 4-6 month
Fresh shrimp, scallops, crawfish, squid Keep in original container 1-2 days 3-6 months
Shrimp Keep in original container 1day, fresh (uncooked) 3 months
Source: Refrigerator Storage - Meat Safety for the Consumer - University of Illinois Extension

Fruit

  • If you can get away with it, keep all fruit out of the fridge. There are exceptions, but often the taste of fruit declines in the cold.
  • Apples will stay good a very long time in the fridge, with little or no drop in taste.
  • Watermelon, once you crack them open you should put the remainder in the fridge. Chilled watermelon is delicious.
  • Never put green bananas in the fridge, but once they're very ripe you can likely get another week out of them in a refrigerator. The skin may turn black in the cold, but the flesh will still be fine, with little taste deterioration.
  • I've found that cantaloupes decline after more than a day or two in the fridge.
Source: Fruit Storage: A Simple Guide at raw-food-health.net
See table at Canadian Produce Marketing Association - Home Storage Guide for Fresh Fruits & Vegetables

The All new Joy of Cooking (1997) says:
"After ripening, most fruits keep best when stored in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper drawer. The exceptions - avocados, bananas, citrus fruit, pineapples, and melons - can be refrigerated, but their quality is best preserved in a dark, cool (50-65° F) place."

Stone fruit:
Store peaches and nectarines at room temperature until ripe - this usually takes 2 to 3 days. A ripe fruit will yield a bit when pressed gently. To speed up the ripening process, place nectarines or peaches in a paper bag and store at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. Storing ripe stone fruit in the crisper drawer will prolong its eating life - it should keep for up to a week when refrigerated.
FreshDirect.com

Peaches:
Since peaches are highly perishable, purchase only the amount you need to use within a few days or plan on preserving them for long-term storage. The fruit should not be washed until just before you intend to use it. When storing fresh peaches at room temperature, be sure there is enough space between them to allow proper air circulation. Fresh peaches can be kept at room temperature three to four days, depending on how ripe they are when you buy them.

Refrigeration will extend their life, but not by more than a day or two. Peaches need humidity, so refrigerate in a plastic bag and use within two days. Ideally, let refrigerated peaches come close to room temperature before eating (about 30 minutes), as the flavor will be more full and robust.
Source: http://homecooking.about.com/od/foodstorage/a/peachstorage.htm

Cherries:
Since cherries don't ripen after harvest and tend to spoil quickly, they should be stored in the refrigerator, where they will keep for several days. They tend to absorb the odors of other foods, so keep them stored separately. Wash cherries just before serving.

Fruit Storage Table

Vegetables and Leafy greens

With the exception of leafy greens, fresh fruits and vegetables should not be washed before storing. Washing will hasten deterioration of the produce. It is best to wash produce just before preparation or eating. Wash produce under clean, cold running water. Wash produce even if the skin will be peeled off. It is important to use clean cutting boards and utensils when preparing produce.

VEGETABLE STORAGE GUIDE
Some vegetables can be stored for several months if certain criteria are met. The ideal cold storage room must be dry, dark and cool (7-10°C/45-50°F). Basements, garages and cupboards in today's homes are often not equipped to meet these three conditions so plan your storage wisely. Storing large quantities of potatoes, onions, squash and rutabagas will not be economical if spoilage occurs.
Tomatoes: Common knowledge was to never refrigerate tomatoes; They'll last a week at room temperature..
That has changed. Store all ripe tomatoes that you can't eat within the first day in the refrigerator. See more about tomatoes below.

**ethylene sensitive ***ethylene producer Do not store ethylene sensitive produce (such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, leafy greens, lettuce, etc.) with produce that produces ethylene (such as apples, avocados, bananas, melons, peaches, pears, and tomatoes).
    (Print version of table below.)
VEGETABLES Refrigerate or Not SPECIAL TIPS .
ARTICHOKES Refrigerate 1 week Sprinkle with water before storing.
ASPARAGUS Refrigerate 4 days Wrap base of stalks in damp paper towel then place in plastic bag or store with stalks upright in water.
BEANS- green & wax Refrigerate 5 days ** Beans are susceptible to chilling injury which results in surface pitting and "russeting".
BEETS Refrigerate 3 to 4 weeks Remove tops before storing.
BELGIUM ENDIVE Refrigerate 2 to 3 weeks ** Keep dry and away from light.
BROCCOLI Refrigerate 5 days, store in perforated plastic bag in vegetable crisper ** Exposure to ethylene gas hastens yellowing of the broccoli buds.
BRUSSELS SPROUTS Refrigerate 5 days, store in perforated plastic bag in vegetable crisper ** Exposure to ethylene gas hastens yellowing and can cause leaf separation.
CABBAGE -green & red Refrigerate 2 to 3 weeks ** Exposure to ethylene gas hastens leaf separation and loss of green colour. Cabbage will absorb odours from apples and pears.
CABBAGE -Chinese Refrigerate 1 week, tightly wrapped with plastic wrap
CARROTS - young Refrigerate 2 weeks; covered ** Remove tops before storing. Exposure to ethylene gas will make carrots taste bitter. Carrots absorb odours from apples and pears.
CARROTS - mature Refrigerate 3-4 weeks; covered
CAULIFLOWER Refrigerate 1 week for whole head **
CELERY Refrigerate 2 weeks Celery will absorb odours from apples, carrots, onions and pears.
CORN-ON-THE-COB Refrigerate In husks: 2 to 3 days
Husked: 1 to 2 days, wrapped in damp towel
Corn will absorb odours from green onions. It is best to use fresh corn-on-the-cob as soon as possible because once they are picked the natural sugars turn to starch quickly.
CUCUMBERS -field or greenhouse Refrigerate 1 week ** Exposure to ethylene gas will turn cucumbers yellow.
EGGPLANT Refrigerate 5 days ** Eggplant will absorb odours produced by ginger root.
GARLIC Room Temp - Few weeks to several months in a dry, cool, dark, well ventilated location Storage time varies with maturity. Refrigeration may cause sprouting.
GINGER ROOT Refrigerate 2 weeks
GREENS -lettuce varieties include iceberg, romaine, Boston, Bibb, green & red leaf, spinach Refrigerate 1 week for lettuce varieties, wash prior to storage ** Exposure to ethylene gas increases "russet" spotting.
GREENS -other varieties include collards, dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens, Swiss chard, TURNIP greens Refrigerate 2 to 4 days for other varieties, do not wash prior to storage
HERBS -including basil, thyme, tarragon, chervil, oregano, cilantro, mint, etc. Refrigerate 4 to 7 days, put stems into water and cover with plastic bag Fresh basil is susceptible to cold, so keep at the front of the refrigerator and use as soon as possible. Hardier herbs such as oregano, rosemary and sage will last longer than more delicate herbs such as basil, dill, chives..
MUSHROOMS -including white, crimini, oyster, enoki, shiitake, portabellos, morels, etc. Refrigerate 5 days in paper bag Mushrooms will absorb odours from green onions. Just before using, rinse in cool water (do not soak), or wipe with a damp cloth or soft vegetable brush. Morels require thorough washing to remove sand. Mushrooms bruise easily - do not store other vegetables on top of them.
ONIONS -green onion, leeks Refrigerate 1 week ***Tightly wrap any cut pieces of onion and store away from other produce. Use in 2 to 3 days.
ONIONS - cooking Room Temp - 3 to 4 weeks in single layer, in mesh bag in a dry, cool, dark, well ventilated location Cooking onions will absorb odours from apples and pears. Cooking onions draw moisture from vegetables they are stored with which may cause them to decay.
ONIONS - sweet Room Temp - 1 to 2 weeks in single layer, in mesh bag in a dry, cool, dark, well ventilated location; Refrig. - 1 month, uncovered Sweet onions have a greater water and sugar content than cooking onions. This makes them sweeter and milder tasting, but also reduces their shelf life.
PARSNIPS Refrigerate 3 to 4 weeks
PEAS -snow peas/sugar snap peas Refrigerate 1-3 days; store loosely in plastic bag **
PEPPERS - sweet bell peppers Refrigerate 1 week **
PEPPERS - hot peppers: including jalapeno, Serrano, habanero, etc. Refrigerate 1 to 2 weeks
POTATOES - new Refrigerate 1 week Potatoes will absorb odours produced by pears. Only new potatoes can be refrigerated.

If mature potatoes are refrigerated dark spots can occur and an unpleasant sweet flavour will develop when cooked.

If kept in warm temperatures, potatoes will sprout and shrivel. Exposure to light causes potatoes to turn green.

Trim any green area away before cooking.

POTATOES - mature Room Temp - 1 to 2 weeks in paper bag, in a dry, cool, dark, well ventilated location
PUMPKINS Room Temp - 1 week; whole, uncovered in a dry, cool, dark, well ventilated location
RADISHES Refrigerate 2 weeks Remove tops before storing.
RUTABAGA Room Temp - 1 to 2 weeks; Refrig. - 3 weeks, uncovered
SPROUTS -including alfalfa, mung bean, soybean and lentil, etc. Refrigerate 3 to 4 days Just before using, wash and drain sprouts thoroughly.
SQUASH - summer/soft shelled including zucchini, yellow crookneck and straightneck, patty pan, etc Refrigerate 1 week Summer squash have a tender skin and need to be trimmed but not peeled before preparing and eating. The rind and seeds are edible.
SQUASH - winter/hard shelled including spaghetti, Hubbard, butternut, buttercup, acorn and turban, etc. Room Temp - 1 week, whole, uncovered in a dry, cool, dark, well ventilated locatio ** Hubbard squash and other dark skinned squash turn orange-yellow in the presence of ethylene gas. Winter squash have a thick skin and need to be trimmed and peeled before preparing and eating. Most varieties also need to be seeded.
SWEET POTATOES/ YAMS Room Temp - 1 week, whole, uncovered in a dry, cool, dark, well ventilated location ** Sweet potatoes and yams can be used interchangeably in recipes.
TOMATOES If at all possible, buy only as many perfectly ripe tomatoes as you can eat within a day or two. ***Store all ripe tomatoes that you can't eat within the first day in the refrigerator.
See more about tomatoes below.
TURNIP Refrigerate 1 week- Turnips need to be scrubbed but not peeled before preparing and eating.
Source: Canadian Produce Marketing Association - Home Storage Guide for Fresh Fruits & Vegetables

Lettuce:
Leafy greens such as iceberg, romaine, Boston, Bibb, green & red leaf lettuce and spinach will keep fresher if washed before storage. Follow these easy steps.

  1. Wash with clean, cold running water.
  2. Discard wilted or blemished leaves.
  3. Carefully dry in salad spinner or on paper towels.
  4. Store in salad spinner or wrap lettuce loosely in paper towels and store in sealed plastic bag or container.
  5. Use within 1 week.
Lettuce turns pinkish-brown due to oxidation (being cut and exposed to oxygen) or due to exposure to ethylene. You can still use the lettuce if you trim off the brown ends first. Lettuce and spinach purchased in airtight packages should be refrigerated "as is", then opened and washed just before using.
More About Tomatoes:
Common knowledge was to never refrigerate tomatoes; They'll last a week at room temperature.
  Daniel Gritzer at Serious Eats did a lot of testing described at "Why You Should Refrigerate Tomatoes and Ignore Anyone Who Says Otherwise" . His guidelines are:
  • If at all possible, buy only as many perfectly ripe tomatoes as you can eat within a day or two, keep them stored stem-side-down on a flat surface at room temperature, and make sure to eat them all within the first day or two.
  • If you buy under-ripe tomatoes, leave them out at room temperature until fully ripened, then move them to a cooler spot for longer storage.
  • If you have a wine fridge or cool cellar, store all ripe tomatoes that you can't eat within the first day there.
  • If you don't have a wine fridge or cool cellar, store all ripe tomatoes that you can't eat within the first day in the refrigerator.
  • If storing tomatoes in the refrigerator, it may be better to locate them on a top shelf near the door, which is often warmer than the bottom and back of the fridge.
  • If you're the kind of person who can't stand eating fridge-cold tomatoes and doesn't have the time or patience to let them warm back up on the counter, then you've got some tough decisions ahead of you, I'm afraid.

Links:
Refrigerator Storage - Meat Safety for the Consumer - University of Illinois Extension
Canadian Produce Marketing Assn. - Home Storage Guide for Fresh Fruits & Vegetables
Food Storage at homecooking.about.com
Storage Guide at FreshDirect.com

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last updated 4 July 2017