Thursday, December 3
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A Guide to Expiration Dates on Foods

Everyone should have food for at least a week. There is no need for a natural disaster in order for the food to come into use, it is enough that you become ill and cannot go to the grocery store in a few days. Having a larger food stock than that, which lasts for a month or two, is a good idea for everyone.

It is cheaper to buy food in bulk and to stock up with food just in case. But it’s important that you don’t buy food that then gets old and expires just because you don’t have the time to eat it. Consuming the food you buy is important from waste and environmental perspective but also from an economical standpoint.

To make it easier for yourself, it is good to keep track of how long different foods can actually be stored – often they are edible long after the best before date. Note that the figures in this article apply to unopened packaging, and can vary based on a number of different reasons. A tip if you have opened a package, it is good to transfer the contents to a new, airtight package that is not too large.

In many cases, it is possible to store food even longer than the time states here, without it being dangerous to eat, but taste or texture may change, which makes it less appealing to consume.

When the meat is thawed, do so in cold water. If thawed in the fridge, large ice crystals form during thawing and produce drier meat. Thawing at room temperature causes more bacteria to grow on the surface 1).

Fish stay better if you freeze it in a little water.

  • Cheese: 3 months. Note that cheese can get grainy when thawed.
  • Cooked rice: 6 months
  • Berries and fruits with sugar: 1 year
  • Pre-selected vegetables: 1 year
  • Fat fish: 2-3 months
  • Skinny fish: 6-12 months
  • Cooked shrimp: 10-12 months
  • Milk: 3 months
  • Cream: 4 months
  • Nuts: 1 year 2
  • Mushrooms: 12 months
  • Bread: 3-12 months
  • Wheat bread: 6 months
  • Pastries & Cakes: 3 months
  • Tap water in a plastic bottle: several years. Some bottles of other plastic materials can become brittle and crack if stored long in the freezer. Frozen water bottles help keep the freezer cold if there is a power outage.

Food stored in the freezer

For storing food in the freezer at maximum -18 degrees celsius. Use tightly closed, sturdy plastic bags with as little air in them as possible. Portion packaging makes the freezing process faster and is more practical when thawing and cooking. The disadvantage is that the food keeps the cold worse in the event of a power outage. The colder the freezer, the longer the shelf life (but it requires much more electricity).

  • Pork: fat parts: 3 months, lean parts: 6 months
  • Beef: 8-12 months
  • Meats: 1-2 months
  • Raw chicken: 9 months
  • Lamb meat: 6-12 months depending on fat content
  • Inner food: 3 months
  • Minced meat: 3-4 months

In the refrigerator

Stored in the refrigerator with a temperature of maximum 4 degrees celsius.

  • Milk with long shelf life: 1 year
  • Cheese: 1-12 months (depending on variety)
  • Jam: 2 years
  • Mustard in a tube: 3 years
  • Unpeeled nuts: 6-24 months (depending on variety)
  • Bacon: 1-2 months
  • Minced meat: 1-2 days
  • Normal milk: 14 days. Generally, the best before date is 7 days.
  • Eggs: 2-3 months (with the pointed side down)
  • Raw chicken: 1-2 days
  • Smoked sausage: 1 week after best before date
  • Soy (opened bottle): 2 years
  • Ghee/butter oil: 2 years

Vegetables and fruits do not normally feel too good for low temperatures and should, therefore, be stored in a slightly warmer place in the fridge or in the cool.

Stored in the refrigerator at a temperature of 4-6 degrees.

  • Potato: 2-3 months
  • Apple: 3-4 weeks
  • Orange: 2-3 weeks
  • Other fruits and berries: 2-7 days
  • Root fruits: 3-4 weeks
  • Onions: 2-3 months
  • Garlic: 3-5 months
  • Iceberg salad: 1 week

Stored cool, in +6 to +11 degrees

  • Orange: 1-2 weeks
  • Lemon: 2-3 weeks
  • Avocado: 3-5 days when ripened
  • Peppers: 1-2 weeks
  • Pineapple: 3-5 days

Stored cool in 12 to +14 degrees

  • Course: 5-7 days when matured
  • Grape: 2-3 weeks
  • Melon: 5-10 days when ripened
  • Eggplant: 5-7 days
  • Cucumber: 1 week (store with the plastic on)
  • Tomato: 2-3 days when ripe

Best before dates when stored in the pantry

Firstly, make sure it is dry in the pantry. Humid conditions shorten the shelf life.

  • Salt: Infinite Durability
  • Soy: 3 years
  • Vinegar: Infinite Durability
  • Dry milk (without fat): 1 year
  • Crispbread: 5 years
  • Powder coffee: 1 year
  • Beans, peas (dried): 1 year
  • Beans, peas, corn (in a tinned can): 2-5 years
  • Anchovy in a can: 18 months
  • Fish & Seafood in cans: 2-5 years
  • Tomato soup in a can: 12-18 months
  • Other soups in a can 2-5 years
  • Preserved fruit: 12-18 months
  • Dried fruit: 6-12 months
  • Honey: Infinite Durability
  • Sugar: Infinite Durability
  • Dark chocolate: 2 years
  • Milk chocolate: 1 year
  • Cooking oil: 2 years
  • Whole spices: 4 years
  • Rice: endless durability
  • Seasonal rice: 3-6 months
  • Pasta: 3 years
  • Oatmeal: 1 year
  • Musli and cereal: 1 year
  • Flour: 1 year
  • Potato powder: 12-18 months
  • Dry yeast: 3-4 months
  • Spices (dried leaves): 1-3 years
  • Spices (ground): 3-4 years
  • Popcorn (unpopped): 2 years
  • Sylt: 2 years after best before date
  • Crushed tomatoes in tetra: 3 years after best before date
  • Surface streaming: 4 years after best before date
  • Tap water: 6 months

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