Skip to Main Content Health Care Professionals Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit Search

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)
Miscellaneous
Foods
Vegetables
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.

 

Pectin

  • 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.

 

Tomatoes
1 wk.
Cool room
(7-10°C,
45-50°F)

 

Onions
(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
Butter

  • unopened 8 wk.
  • opened 3 wk.

 

Cheese

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

 

Eggs 3 wk.

 

Margarine

  • 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.

Uncooked

 

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

 

Cooked

 

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
Butter

  • 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. Uncooked

 

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.

 

Cooked

 

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.

Related Resources

Related Topics