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Food Storage Guide

General guidelines for the shelf life of common foods. Read the label and check ‘best before’ dates if applicable. Most foods are safe to eat if stored longer, but flavour and nutritional value will deteriorate. Discard if there is evidence of spoilage.

Cupboard (room temperature) Unless otherwise specified, times apply to unopened packages.

Cereal Grains
(once opened, store in airtight containers, away from light and heat)
Canned Foods
(once opened,
store covered in airtight container in refrigerator)
Dry Foods
(once opened, store
in airtight containers, away from light and heat)
Bread crumbs (dry) 3 mo.


Cereals (ready-to-eat) 8 mo.


Cornmeal 6-8 mo.


Crackers 6 mo.


Pasta several yr.


Rice several yr.


Rolled oats
6-10 mo.


White flour 1 yr.


Whole wheat flour
3 mo.

Evaporated milk
9-12 mo.Other canned foods
1 yr.
Baking powder, baking soda 1 yr.


Beans, peas, lentils
1 yr.


Chocolate (baking)
7 mo.


Cocoa 10-12 mo.


Coffee (ground) 1 mo.


Coffee (instant) 1 yr.


Coffee whitener
6 mo.


Fruit (dried) 1 yr.


Gelatin 1 yr.


Jelly powder 2 yr.


Mixes (cake, pancake, and biscuit) 1 yr.


Mixes (pie filling and pudding) 18 mo.


Mixes (main dish accompaniments)
9-12 mo.


Potatoes (flakes) 1 yr.


Skim milk powder

  • unopened 1 yr.
  • opened 1 mo.


Sugar (all types) several yr.


Tea bags 1 yr.

Honey 18 mo.


Jam, jellies (once opened, covered in fridge) 1 yr.


Mayonnaise, salad dressings

  • unopened
    6 mo.
  • opened (covered
    in fridge)
    1-2 mo.


Molasses 2 yr.


Nuts 1 mo.


Peanut butter

  • unopened
    6 mo.
  • opened 2 mo.



  • liquid 1 yr.
  • opened (covered in fridge) 1 mo.
  • powdered 2 yr.


Sandwich spread
(once opened, covered in fridge)
8 mo.


Syrups – corn, maple, table 1 yr.


Vegetable oils
(once opened,
covered in fridge)
1 yr.


Vinegar several yr.


Yeast (dry) 1 yr.

Potatoes, rutabaga, squash 1 wk.


1 wk.
Cool room


(dry, yellow skin) 6 wk.


Potatoes (mature)
6 mo.


Rutabaga (waxed)
several mo.


Squash (winter) several mo.

Refrigerator (4°C, 40°F) Unless otherwise specified, cover all foods.

Dairy Products & Eggs
(check ’best before’ dates)
Fish & Shellfish
Fresh Fruit (Ripe)
Fresh Vegetables
Meat & Poultry
Miscellaneous Foods
  • unopened 8 wk.
  • opened 3 wk.



  • cottage (opened) 3 days
  • firm several mo.
  • processed (unopened) several mo.
  • processed (opened) 3-4 wk.


Eggs 3 wk.



  • unopened 8 mo.
  • opened 1 mo.


Milk, cream, yogurt (opened) 3 days

Clams, crab, lobster and
mussels (live) 12-24 hr.Fish (cleaned)
  • raw 3-4 days
  • cooked 1-2 days


Oysters (live) 24 hr.


Scallops, shrimp (raw) 1-2 days


Shellfish (cooked) 1-2 days

Apples 2 mo.
  • purchased February to July 2 wk.


Apricots (store uncovered) 1 wk.


Blueberries (store uncovered) 1 wk.


Cherries 3 days


Cranberries (store uncovered) 1 wk.


Grapes 5 days


Peaches (store uncovered) 1 wk.


Pears (store uncovered 1 wk.


Plums 5 days


Raspberries (store uncovered) 2 days


Rhubarb 1 wk.


Strawberries (store uncovered) 2 days

Asparagus 5 days


Beans (green, wax) 5 days


Beets 3-4 wk.


Broccoli 3 days


Brussels sprouts 1 wk.


Cabbage 2 wk.


Carrots several wk.


Cauliflower 10 days


Celery 2 wk.


Corn use same day


Cucumbers 1 wk.


Lettuce 1 wk.


Mushrooms 5 days


Onions (green) 1 wk.


Parsnips several wks.


Peas use same day


Peppers (green, red, etc.) 1 wk.


Potatoes (new) 1 wk.


Spinach 2 days


Sprouts 2 days


Squash (summer) 1 wk.



Chops, steaks 2-3 days


Cured or smoked meat 6-7 days


Ground meat 1-2 days


Poultry 2-3 days


Roasts 3-4 days


Variety meats, giblets 1-2 days




All meats and poultry 3-4 days


Casseroles, meat pies
meat sauces 2-3 days


Soups 2-3 days

Coffee (ground) 2 mo.


Nuts 4 mo.


Shortening 12 mo.


Whole wheat flour 3 mo.

Freezer (-18°C, 0°F) Use freezer wrapping or airtight containers. Freeze fresh food at its peak condition.

Dairy Products & Fats
Fish & Shellfish
Fruits & Vegetables 
Meat, Poultry & Eggs
Miscellaneous Foods
  • salted 1 yr.
  • unsalted 3 mo.


Cheese – firm, processed 3 mo.


Cream – table, whipping
(separates when thawed) 1 mo.


Ice cream 1 mo.


Margarine 6 mo.


Milk 6 wk.

Fish (fat species: lake trout,
mackerel, salmon) 2 mo.Fish (lean species: cod,
haddock, pike, smelt) 6 mo.Shellfish 2-4 mo.
1 yr.


Beef (roasts, steaks) 10-12 mo.


Chicken, turkey

  • cut up 6 mo.
  • whole 1 yr.


Cured or smoked meat 1-2 mo.


Duck, goose 3 mo.


Eggs (whites, yolks) 4 mo.


Ground meat 2-3 mo.


Lamb (chops, roasts) 8-12 mo.


Pork (chops, roasts) 8-12 mo.


Sausages, wieners 2-3 mo.


Variety meats, giblets 3-4 mo.


Veal (chops, roasts) 8-12 mo.




All meat 2-3 mo.


All poultry 1-3 mo.


Casseroles, meat pies 3 mo.

Bean, lentil, pea, casseroles 3-6 mo.


Breads (baked or unbaked, yeast) 1 mo.


Cakes, cookies (baked) 4 mo.


Herbs 1 yr.


Pastries, quick bread (baked) 1 mo.


Pastry crust (unbaked) 2 mo.


Pie (fruit, unbaked) 6 mo.


Sandwiches 6 wk.


Soups (stocks, cream) 4 mo.

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