Questions specifically about the expected shelf life of a food item.

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56
votes
1answer
17k views

How long can I store a food in the pantry, refrigerator, or freezer?

How do I know if a given food or ingredient I have is still good, or if I should discard it? How can I best preserve a food or ingredient? This broad question is intended as a "general reference" ...
82
votes
11answers
40k views

Is it safe to leave butter at room temperature?

Is it safe to leave butter at room temperature? If so, how long is it safe to keep it out?
12
votes
6answers
6k views

dry garlic in oil --> botulism risk?

My girlfriend and I are thinking of preparing some flavored oils for Christmas presents this year (don't tell anyone!). We've read online that fresh garlic presents a health hazard when stored at room ...
19
votes
9answers
117k views

How long is it safe to drink coffee after brewed?

How many hours/days would you recommend to drink coffee (after brewed) and consider it safe? (For example if you don't want to waste it). What is the difference if it is refrigerated or not? The ...
7
votes
3answers
57k views

How long will homemade salad dressing stay good in the fridge?

How long can I keep salad dressings that I made? Since this is probably affected by what it's made up of, let's say we're talking about different salad dressings made from a combination of the ...
15
votes
2answers
4k views

Is smell a bad way of determining whether meat is still good?

I have always relied on my sense of smell to determine whether meat (most often chicken) is bad and I thought it was reliable. However, I have just heard that [1] smell is not always reliable, since ...
20
votes
11answers
117k views

How long should I keep a cut onion?

Since I only cook for one or two, I will tend to buy an onion and only use part of it, and then keep the rest in the fridge. Sometimes it will be a while before I use the rest. Is there any guidance ...
23
votes
1answer
440 views

Sniffing out a rotten egg from the dozen

Is it possible to tell if an egg has gone off? I am not referring to those eggs that have been especially brined to look like they've been sitting around for decades, but to fresh eggs you want to ...
27
votes
5answers
1k views

Shelf life of spices

The common wisdom I've heard is that dried herbs and spices: have a shelf-life of about a year or 2 keep best in a cool dark place will release more flavor when crushed That's fine but some spices ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

Should whole coffee beans be stored at room temperature, the fridge or freezer?

My coffee is normally used up within 1 week and is of unknown age on purchase, do I need to do anything extra to make it last a week?
13
votes
8answers
34k views

How long can I store cooking wine?

I made a dish that used a small amount of wine and now I'm wondering how long I can keep the rest of it for next time. I know you wouldn't want to keep good drinking wine around long after opening ...
12
votes
5answers
48k views

How long does uncooked meat last when kept in the freezer?

Chicken, beef, or even shrimp? How long can I keep it there before it goes bad?
11
votes
6answers
160k views

How long does cooked pasta last in the fridge?

I sometimes cook more pasta than I intend to eat or use at once and store the rest in a container in the fridge (just plain, cooked pasta). How long would it store safely for?
10
votes
10answers
54k views

How long will grease (from bacon or roast) keep in the fridge?

I kept all of the bacon grease from making bacon this weekend, and now I have a jar of solidified grease in the fridge. How long can I use this to impart bacony goodness to my fried vegetables before ...
8
votes
2answers
25k views

Do Bouillon Cubes/Powder go bad?

I just found an old jar of Beef Bouillon cubes and although there is no expiration date, I'm a bit skeptical about using them - do they go bad?
5
votes
2answers
4k views

How to keep 'fresh' chorizo?

A relative of mine is in food retail, and recently she gave me some chorizo. With the basic advice 'hang it in the fridge' I am not sure if it is edible as yet, and how long it will be edible for, ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

How do food producers determine expiration dates on products and ingredients?

It is well known that food expiration dates are somewhat arbitrary. For some foods, they are much more important than others -- for example, you can pretty easily tell on your own if milk has gone bad ...
2
votes
1answer
743 views

What should I know to store my chili powder?

I am planning on making some chili powder this weekend using ancho, pasilla, and guajillo peppers. I got a nice big bag of each recently and have some questions about chili powder. The second part of ...
18
votes
2answers
7k views

How does butter remain edible for so long without refrigeration?

My wife and I keep a stick of butter in the cupboard rather than the refrigerator. Even with just the two of us, it rarely lasts very long, but I'd say it may go as long as a week without ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

How to store Onion

I've just harvested onions from my garden. I have quite a few and should last me about 3+ months. What is the best way to prepare the onions for storage and how should I store them so they last as ...
5
votes
2answers
9k views

How to store flour

Someone gave us two 25kg bags of flour. Which is kind, but we're not too sure how to store them in usable quantities. My other half went out a bought a load of plastic tupperware-type containers, ...
20
votes
12answers
30k views

Should tomatoes be stored in the fridge?

Storing tomatoes in the fridge tends to make them last a bit longer, but I've heard that the flavor is negatively affected. What is the best way to store them?
15
votes
4answers
15k views

does white sugar have a shelf life?

i have had a sealed container of white sugar for about 5 years now, we have been using it slowly, but is it safe/healthy to continue using it because of its age? or should i replace it?
14
votes
6answers
13k views

Are refrigerated hard boild eggs really unsafe after a week?

Most sites that I've googled (such as http://www.ochef.com/1009.htm, and http://whatscookingamerica.net/Q-A/eggs2.htm) say that refrigerated hard-boiled eggs need to be eaten within one week. I'm a ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

How to store garlic?

When I buy garlic, I normally put it in a bowl on the kitchen counter or in the pantry, and then pop off cloves as need. Sometimes, if the garlic has been around for a while, I find what looks like ...
12
votes
6answers
69k views

How long does it take for buttermilk to go bad?

I love making buttermilk pancakes but I can never seem to use up my buttermilk before it passes the expiration date. The thing is, if I take a solid whiff of the "expired" buttermilk it smells great ...
8
votes
3answers
942 views

Will vegetables and fresh herbs last longer in the refrigerator in a plastic bag?

Is there a difference between how long fresh herbs and vegetables last if they are in a plastic bag or in the open? If it does, is there a break-down of which ones it does make a difference for - ...
8
votes
3answers
9k views

Ground beef storage and use past sell-by date

When I buy food it's at least a few weeks worth, and I bought some ground beef the other day with the intention of using it over a couple weeks. I have a couple questions regarding storage: I use ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Should ghee be kept out of light?

I have ghee in clear glass jar on a shelf in my kitchen, would it keep for longer if I try to store it in a dark place? Does light speed up oxidation?
4
votes
5answers
528 views

Hints on storage of vegetables and fruit

Different fruits and vegetables require different treatment in order to preserve their integrity, micronutrient contents and especially taste over the longest period possible. Time and again I am ...
3
votes
2answers
312 views

Do “Best by: XX-XX-XX” foods have an expiration date?

How long will foods that have "Best by: XX-XX-XX" on the product last past that date? I have tried looking online, and all I can find is anecdotal evidence, which isn't very assuring for me since ...
11
votes
2answers
20k views

How long do eggs last in the refrigerator out of the shell?

I dropped my carton of eggs when putting away groceries. The eggs were broken severely enough that the internal membrane ruptured and I had to remove them from their shells. I went ahead and used ...
10
votes
2answers
6k views

Do nuts ever go bad?

I have some walnuts I found in the back of my cabinet that are probably 5 years old. The packaging says best if used by 2010. I tasted them and they taste alright, maybe a little tartish but I don't ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

How can I store root ginger for maximum shelf life?

I have root ginger which sometimes dries out and goes a bit wrinkly. Currently I just store it on the side in a bowl. Is there a better way to store it to maximise its shelf life?
8
votes
3answers
5k views

Can I store suet or home-rendered tallow at room temperature for a year?

This weekend I will be in possession of 100 lbs of beef suet (which I'll be getting from a butcher friend) and plan to render it into tallow. I can't even begin to imagine exactly what this amount of ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

How long is SPAM really good for?

I wanted to buy some SPAM for my zombie apocalypse survival kit, and I noticed that it had an expiration date in 2013. Should I be concerned? I've heard it will last more than 25 years.
6
votes
1answer
19k views

How long boiled egg can be stored in fridge?

I boiled some eggs one week ago and forgot to eat them, so they stayed in the fridge. How long will they stay consumable in there?
5
votes
1answer
2k views

how long is tofu good for?

I bought some tofu at the store about a month ago (or was it two months?). Anyway, I haven't eaten it all and it's sitting in my fridge in tupperware. How long is it good for?
4
votes
4answers
4k views

What can I do to prolong vegetable and meat freshness in the freezer?

In an effort to improve my eating habits I am thinking of buying more vegetables and meats while at the store so that I have them to cook with. However, with a busy schedule it is hard to try and ...
4
votes
1answer
4k views

How long can I keep sauteed onions in the fridge?

I'm a working mom, so I'm always trying to find ways to cut down on cooking time. My newest trick is to saute a huge batch of onions and keep it in a container in the fridge, so that I can skip the ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

How long can I keep thawed vacuum-packed fish in the fridge?

I know that for fresh fish, or fish that was previously frozen without special storage, you should use it the same day. If I thawed too much, does the fact that it was vacuum-packed add to the time I ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Can I leave a cake / cupcakes frosted with cream cheese frosting out on the counter?

I need to frost a cake and cupcakes with a cream cheese frosting for a late morning party tomorrow. I do not do a lot of baking so I'm concerned about when I should frost the cakes. For the sake of ...
3
votes
3answers
641 views

Why would fresh tuna be salted?

I bought a big piece of tuna about a week ago. I carved it up and put most in the freezer. However, as I am the proud owner of a vacuum sealer (as of a week ago), the worst part of the tuna got vacuum ...
3
votes
4answers
12k views

What does flour smell like when it goes bad?

I've got about 15lbs of saphire unbleached white flour left from my 25lb bulk purchase from 2 weeks ago. While preparing a wonderful zucchini bread recipe I noticed a "sour" smell from my flour. ...
2
votes
1answer
5k views

Bottling and Storing Cold-Brewed Coffee?

I'm a bit of an iced-coffee snob – I love a good, rich tasting coffee, and love the smooth flavor of cold-brewed coffee; unfortunately, the only time I have to make it is the weekends, and it lasts ...
2
votes
1answer
18k views

shelf life for chocolate chips

Have some semi-sweet chocolate chips. Been in a bag inside a plastic container in a cupboard for 2 years but expiration date on the bag says that's one year too many. What's the shelf life for ...
2
votes
2answers
388 views

Shelf life of commercial jams with no preservatives?

This commercial peach jam does NOT contain any preservatives. Room temperature is 20 C. It is written on the bottle that it should be refrigerated after opening since it doesn't contain any ...
2
votes
4answers
21k views

How long does pancake batter last in the fridge?

I'm making a packet mix of pancake batter that doesn't lend itself to partial mixes - it's hard to split "1 egg" as an ingredient. How long would pancake batter last in the fridge? Even if it's a ...
2
votes
2answers
801 views

Can I still use butter that's been left out for 2 days?

I bought butter in 1/4 sticks (one pound box) and left it in my trunk by accident. It's been very cold 35-50° F (2-10° C) at night/day. It's been 48 hours. Can I still use it? It's still in it's ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Yeast 101: Active Dry Yeast, Instant Yeast, Baking Soda, Baking Powder. Differences and Info [closed]

I'm a little confused as to what are the difference between them, when should I use which? Also, how long is the lifespan and proper care after opening of these products? If I don't bake that often ...