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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Freezer Food Storage Times

Original Article

freezer-food-storage-times
The most popular food preserving method is freezing. Except for the risk of power loss and the resultant spoilage (if more than ~24 hours), freezing food is simple, easy and convenient. A common question about freezing food is how long will foods last in the freezer?
First, be sure that your freezer is at least 0 degrees F (-18°C), preferably -5 degrees F (-21°C). Check this by getting yourself a freezer thermometer for this purpose (available at your grocery store or most other general merchandise shops), and leave it in your freezer for several hours before measuring.
Even though food will freeze below 32 degrees F, you must (or better said… you ‘really should’) keep your freezer at 0°F or less. The reason is that low temperature microbes will still develop below 32°F, but are very much stalled at 0°F or below. I have read that the life of your food is cut in half when comparing 0°F to 20°F !

Another tip is to keep your freezer fairly full. This will serve a number of positive factors. You will have more food (duh). It takes lots less energy to keep foods at freezing temperatures than it does keeping air at freezing temperatures. If your power goes out, the frozen foods will help maintain freezing temperatures for a time (an air filled freezer will warm rapidly).
Foods will eventually spoil in the freezer. Some microbes will still grow at low temperatures, albeit very slowly (the colder it is, the slower they reproduce).
Most freezer food charts that I have seen are related to food quality and/or nutrition. Most recommendations generally consensus that freezer foods should be consumed within a year. This is a good rule of thumb. Most foods frozen beyond one year will have lost much of their quality, and although they may not be entirely spoiled, the nutritional value and taste may be quite less than appealing.

Freezer Storage Times For Good Quality

Meat (ground) 3 to 4 months
Meat (fresh, steaks, roasts) 6 to 12 months
Pork 6 to 8 months
Poultry (chicken, turkey, etc.) 12 months
Hot dogs 1 to 2 months
Lunch meat 1 to 2 months
Bacon and Sausage 1 to 2 months
Leftovers (cooked meat) 2 to 6 months
Butter 5 to 6 months
Cheese (hard) 6 to 12 months
Cheese (soft, shredded) 4 months
Eggs (removed from shell) 12 months
Milk 1 month
Fruits 12 months
Vegetables (cooked) 1 month
Vegetables (uncooked) 12 months
Onions (uncooked) 3 to 6 months
Baked (cakes, bread, pies, biscuits) 6 months
(data source: foodsafety.gov, Encyclopedia of Country Living)


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