Food Storage Guidelines




Are you always asking yourself how long that item will last in your stockpile? Take advantage of our storage guidelines reseource to get the most out of your stockpile. The following safe storage guidelines will help keep refrigerated and frozen foods from spoiling or becoming dangerous to eat. Storage times are from date of purchase unless specified, it is not important if a date expires after food is frozen.

Maintaining a food’s quality depends on several factors: the quality of the raw product, the procedures used processing, the way the food is stored, and the length of storage. The recommended storage time takes these factors into consideration.

Food Storage Category Quick Links

  • Food item:
  • Pantry |Room Temperature
  • Refridgerator|33°F-40°F
  • Freezer|32°F

Bread & Cereal Products

Baked quick breads 4-5 days 1-2 weeks 2-3 months
Bread 5-7 days 1-2 weeks 2-3 months
Bread crumbs and croutons 6 months
Cereals, ready-to-cook 6 months
Corn meal 1 year 18 months 2 years
Doughnuts 4-5 days 3 months
Flour, all-purpose, white 6-8 months 1 year 1-2 years
Flour, whole wheat 6-8 months 1-2 years
Pasta 2 years
Pies and pastries 3 days 2-3 months
Pies and pastries, baked 1-2 months
Pies and pastries, cream-filled 2-3 days 3 months
Pizza 3-4 days 1-2 months
Rice, brown 6 months
Rice, white 1 year 6-7 days 6 months
Tacos, enchiladas, and burritos, frozen 2 weeks 1 year
Waffles 4-5 days 1 month
  • Food item:
  • Pantry |Room Temperature
  • Refridgerator|33°F-40°F
  • Freezer|32°F

Packaged Foods & Mixes

Biscuit, brownie, and muffin mixes 9 months
Cakes, prepared 2-4 days 2-3 months
Cake mixes 6-9 months
Casserole mix 9-12 months
Chili powder 6 months
Cookies, packaged 2 months 8-12 months
Crackers, pretzels 3 months
Frosting, canned 3 months
Frosting, mix 8 months
Fruit cake 2-3 months 1 year
Hot roll mix 18 months
Instant breakfast products 6 months
Pancake and piecrust mix 6 months
Pancake waffle batter 1-2 days 3 months
Toaster pastries 3 months
Sauce and gravy mixes 6 months
Soup mixes 1 year
  • Food item:
  • Pantry |Room Temperature
  • Refridgerator|33°F-40°F
  • Freezer|32°F

Spices, Herbs, Condiments, & Extracts

Catsup, chili, and cocktail sauce 1 year
Herbs 6 months 1-2 years
Herb/spice blends 2 years 1-2 years
Mustard 2 years 6-8 months* 8-12 months
Spices, ground 6 months 1-2 years
Spices, whole 1-2 years 2-3 years
Vanilla extract 2 years
Other extracts 1 year
  • Food item:
  • Pantry |Room Temperature
  • Refridgerator|33°F-40°F
  • Freezer|32°F

Other Food Staples

Bacon bits 4 months
Baking powder 18 months
Baking soda 2 years
Bouillon products 1 year
Carbonated soft drinks (12 oz cans) 6-9 months
Carbonated soft drinks, diet (12 oz cans) 3-4 months
Chocolate, pre-melted 1 year
Chocolate syrup 2 years 6 months*
Chocolate, semisweet 2 years
Chocolate, unsweetened 18 months
Cocoa mixes 8 months
Coconut, shredded 1 year
Coconut, shredded 6 months* 8 months 1 year
Coffee cans 3-5 months 1-2 years
Coffee, instant 2-20 years indefinite
Coffee, vacuum-packed 1 year
Coffee lighteners (dry) 9 months 1 year
Cornstarch 18 months 2 years
Gelatin 18 months
Honey, jams, jellies, and syrup 1 year 6-8 months*
Marshmallows 2-3 months
Marshmallow cream 3-4 months
Mayonnaise 2-3 months 12 months
Molasses 2 years
Nuts, shelled 4 months 6 months
Nuts, unshelled 6 months
Nuts, salted 6-8 months
Nuts, unsalted 9-12 months
Oil, salad 3 months
Parmesan grated cheese 10 months
Pasteurized process cheese spread 3 months 3-4 weeks* 4 months
Peanut butter 6-9 months 4-6 months
Popcorn 1-2 years 2 years 2-3 years
Pectin 1 year
Salad dressings, bottles 1 year 3 months*
Soft drinks 3 months
Artificial sweetener 2 years
Sugar, brown 4 months
Sugar, confectioners 18 months
Sugar, granulated 2 years
Tea bags 18 months
Tea, instant 2 years
Vegetable oils 6 months
Vegetable shortening 3 months 6-9 months
Vinegar 2 years
Water, bottled 1-2 years
Whipped topping (dry) 1 year
Yeast, dry Pkg. exp. date
  • Food item:
  • Pantry |Room Temperature
  • Refridgerator|33°F-40°F
  • Freezer|32°F

Vegetables

Asparagus 2-3 days 8 months
Beets 2 weeks
Broccoli 3-5 days
Brussels sprouts 3-5 days
Cabbage 1 week
Carrots 2 weeks
Cauliflower 1 week
Celery 1 week
Corn (husks) 1-2 days 8 months
Cucumbers 1 week
Eggplant 1 week
Green beans 1-2 days 8 months
Green peas 3-5 days 8 months
Lettuce 1 week
Lima beans 3-5 days 8 months
Mushrooms 2 days
Onions 1 week 3-5 days
Onion rings (precooked, frozen) 1 year
Peppers 1 week
Pickles, canned 1 year 1 month*
Frozen potatoes 8 months
Sweet potatoes 2-3 weeks
White potatoes 2-3 months
Potato chips 1 month
Radishes 2 weeks
Rhubarb 3-5 days
Rutabagas 1 week
Snap beans 1 week
Spinach 5-7 days 8 months
Squash, Summer 3-5 days
Squash, Winter 1 week
Tomatoes 1 week
Turnips 2 weeks
Commercial baby food, jars 1-2 years 2-3 days
Canned vegetables 1 year 3-5 days*
Canned vegetables, pickled 1 year 1-2 months*
Dried vegetables 6 months
Frozen vegetables 8 months
Vegetable soup 3-4 days 3 months
  • Food item:
  • Pantry |Room Temperature
  • Refridgerator|33°F-40°F
  • Freezer|32°F

Fruits

Apples Until ripe 1 month
Apricots Until ripe 5 days
Avocados Until ripe 5 days
Bananas Until ripe 5 days (fully ripe)
Berries Until ripe 3 days
Canned fruit 1 year 2-4 days*
Canned fruit juices 1 year 3-5 days*
Cherries Until ripe 3 days
Citrus fruit Until ripe 2 weeks
Dried fruit 6 months 2-4 days
Frozen fruit 1 year
Fruit juice concentrate 6 days 1 year
Fruit pies, baked 2-3 days 8 months
Fruit, pre-cut, fresh Until ripe 2-4 days 1 year
Grapes Until ripe 5 days
Melons Until ripe 5 days
Nectarines Until ripe 5 days
Peaches Until ripe 5 days 1 year
Pears Until ripe 5 days 1 year
Pineapple Until ripe 5-7 days 1 year
Plums Until ripe 5 days
  • Food item:
  • Pantry |Room Temperature
  • Refridgerator|33°F-40°F
  • Freezer|32°F

Dairy Products

Butter 1-2 months 9 months
Buttermilk 2 weeks
Cottage cheese 1 week 3 months
Cream cheese 2 weeks
Cream- light, heavy, half-and-half 3-4 days 1-4 months
Eggnog, commercial 3-5 days 6 months
Margarine 4-5 months 12 months
Condensed, evaporated and dry milk 12-23 months 8-20 days*
Milk 8-20 days 3 months
Ice cream and sherbet 2 months
Hard natural cheese ( i.e. Cheddar, Swiss) 3-6 months 6 months
Eggs 3-4 weeks* 1 year
Processed cheese 3-4 weeks 6-8 months
Soft cheese (i.e. brie) 1 week 6 months
Pudding 1-2 days*
Snack dips 1 week*
Sour cream 2 weeks
Non-dairy whipped cream, canned 3 months
Real whipped cream, canned 3-4 weeks
Yogurt 2 weeks 1-2 months
  • Food item:
  • Pantry |Room Temperature
  • Refridgerator|33°F-40°F
  • Freezer|32°F

Beef, Bison, Pork, Veal, & Ham

Fresh beef and bison steaks 3-5 days 6-9 months
Fresh beef and bison roasts 3-5 days 9-12 months
Fresh pork chops 3-5 days 4-6 months
Fresh lamb chops 3-5 days 6-8 months
Fresh veal 1-2 days 4-6 months
Fresh ground meat (i.e. beef, bison, veal, lamb) 1-2 days 4-6 months
Cooked meat 2-3 days 2-3 months
Ham, whole 1 week 1-2 months
Ham, canned 6-9 months
Ham, cook before eating 1 week
Ham, fully cooked 2 weeks
Ham, dry-cured 1 year 1 month
Ham salad, store prepared or homemade 3-5 days
Bacon
  • Food item:
  • Pantry |Room Temperature
  • Refridgerator|33°F-40°F
  • Freezer|32°F

Fish & Shellfish

No items
  • Food item:
  • Pantry |Room Temperature
  • Refridgerator|33°F-40°F
  • Freezer|32°F

Poultry

No items
  • Food item:
  • Pantry |Room Temperature
  • Refridgerator|33°F-40°F
  • Freezer|32°F

Eggs

No items
  • Food item:
  • Pantry |Room Temperature
  • Refridgerator|33°F-40°F
  • Freezer|32°F

Wild Game

No items