Food Storage Smarts
Does fresh parsley turn slimy in your fridge? Is that two-year-old frozen turkey still safe to eat? Should you get rid of that slightly moldy cheese? The old adage "When at a loss, give it a toss" is certainly a safe bet. But you can avoid throwing food (and money) down the drain with our food storage guide.
Dairy Do's and Don'ts
- Buy milk in cardboard cartons or nontranslucent jugs. Translucent containers allow light to seep in, which can cause milk to spoil. Store milk in a refrigerator that is set below 40 degrees, and don’t store it in the door. Items stored there are susceptible to warm air that enters the fridge each time you open it.
- Discard unused milk after the container has been open for a week, no matter what the sell-by date is. Milk may be frozen for up to three months.
- Ice cream has a shelf life of two to four months, as long as it’s stored in a freezer that is set at 0 degrees.
- Yogurt should be used within 7 to 10 days of purchase.
- Butter will keep in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped, for one month and may be frozen for up to six months.
- Hard cheeses like cheddar, Gouda and Swiss will keep for three to four weeks, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator once they’ve been opened.
- Remove mold from cheese by cutting a one-inch square around it. The rest is safe to eat.
- Processed cheese spreads will keep for three to four weeks in the refrigerator after they’ve been opened. Cream cheese will keep for about 2 weeks, ricotta cheese for 5 days, cottage cheese for 10 to 30 days.
- Purchase eggs before the sell-by date has passed. Store them in their original packaging on the middle or lower shelf, where the temperature tends to remain relatively steady.
- Stored in the fridge, uncooked eggs will keep for three weeks from the time your bring them home, hard-boiled eggs (in the shell) for one week, egg whites for up to four days, raw yolks (covered with water) for up to two days in a tightly sealed container.
- To freeze uncooked whole eggs, lightly beat them, pour into a freezer-safe container, seal and date. These eggs can be frozen for up to one year.
- You can freeze egg whites in an ice cube tray and then transfer them to a freezer bag or container.
- Don’t freeze hard-cooked whole eggs or egg whites. They’ll be tough and watery when you defrost them.