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

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80
votes
11answers
34k 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?
51
votes
1answer
12k 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" ...
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 ...
23
votes
1answer
420 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 ...
20
votes
11answers
99k 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 ...
20
votes
11answers
26k 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?
18
votes
1answer
23k views

Why doesn't Bailey's go bad?

I realize it can go bad after a long time, but why does it take so much longer than other dairy products? Does it have to do with the alcohol content? If so, what is the process that is happening?
18
votes
7answers
79k 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
17
votes
5answers
31k views

How long can hard cheeses last in a refrigerator?

I had chunks of various hard cheeses, mostly parmesan, in my refrigerator for varying lengths of time. Some as long as 3+ months. I've never seen any obvious signs of spoilage and have never been ...
17
votes
2answers
12k views

Can heavy cream be frozen?

Sometimes, I want to try a recipe that calls for a small amount of heavy cream. Can the remainder be frozen and then used to make whipped cream? If so, how long will it keep in the freezer?
17
votes
4answers
4k views

Do different fat contents (skim, 2%, whole, etc) affect rate or intensity of milk spoilage?

Does milk with different fat contents (skim, 2%, whole, etc.) spoil at different rates? And when spoilage does occur, are milks with higher fat content more sour than those with less? Are there ...
15
votes
4answers
13k 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?
15
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
13
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
30k 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
4answers
4k views

Why does cheese have an expiry date?

I am wondering why there are expiry dates on cheese. Sorry if I am not very clear about how cheese is made, but isn't cheese made from rotten milk? Some cheeses have molds on them too.
12
votes
6answers
5k 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
57k 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
271 views

Why don't dry aged/hung sausages go bad?

I was just watching this program on the food network here and they were talking about the Spanish fermented pork sausages. It made me think of sausages that are hung to dry and even though its raw ...
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 ...
11
votes
9answers
56k views

How can I know how long home-cooked food will stay good in fridge?

As through the week we too busy to cook we have gotten the idea of cooking a big bunch of food in the weekend, storing it in the fridge and eat it later in the week. I am a bit concerned how long ...
11
votes
6answers
5k views

How long does bicarbonate soda (baking soda) keep?

I am thinking of baking biscuits for presents for Christmas. However, the recipe calls for baking soda, and I cook from scratch fairly rarely, so I'm worried the leftover bicarb will go strange in my ...
11
votes
4answers
31k 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
2answers
2k views

Storage life for goose fat

When I roast a goose, I decant the fat, strain and freeze it. I typically get a pint or more. This seems to work well, I can chip off suitably-sized pieces from the frozen block and use them as ...
10
votes
2answers
4k 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
10answers
45k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
945 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
11k views

At what point should carrots be thrown away?

We tend to buy a big bag of carrots from the supermarket (mainly because it's cheaper than a small bag), but usually these are starting to go soft halfway through the week. My current rule of thumb ...
10
votes
6answers
126k 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
1answer
4k views

How long will live lobsters last in the fridge?

My parents just got back from Boston. Since we were looking after their dog, they bought us 2 live lobsters as a "thank you". We've named them Pinchy and James. They were bought Saturday afternoon and ...
10
votes
2answers
16k 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 ...
9
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
7answers
87k views

My tea bags are expired, can I still use them?

This box of tea has an expiration date which has passed but I would like to know if I can still use it. What do you think?
8
votes
2answers
2k views

“Best by date” true for bay leaves?

Today I bought a 2 oz (56.7 grams) bottle of Bay Leaves. The "best use by" date is 01/2015. I've read that spices and herbs go "off" after a year or so, depending. Can I believe the 2015 date on ...
8
votes
3answers
8k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
20k 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?
8
votes
8answers
31k views

How long do black olives last once opened?

I opened a can of sliced black olives for my pizza and only used half. I put the leftovers into a sealed container with the liquid and put it in the fridge. Under those conditions how long will the ...
8
votes
4answers
11k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
910 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
1answer
3k views

Honeycomb in honey - how long does it last?

I've got some nice honeycomb (submersed in honey) in a big jar, but the "best before" date was over 4 months ago! I was saving it for a year or two. Just realised the date is gone. Any possibility ...
8
votes
2answers
823 views

How long will a fresh herb paste last?

I make a paste using ground fresh basil, ground fresh mint, ground dried ginger, salt, ground roasted coffee, and raw honey (enough to coat all of the ingredients well). It makes a great rub, and can ...
8
votes
2answers
702 views

Does a colder refrigerator keep things fresh longer?

Are they simply "cold" or "not cold", or does the degree of coldness make a difference? Does it depend on what is being refrigerated?
8
votes
1answer
5k views

How long will shredded carrots keep?

How long will carrots that I've shredded in the food processor stay good in the fridge? Also what's the best way to store them?
7
votes
4answers
10k views

Can I still eat this fish?

I just found a couple of salmon fillets in my freezer that seem to have been there for about two years. Are they still edible, or should I bin them?
7
votes
3answers
29k views

How long does it take for unopened cheese to go bad?

I bought one of those blocks of Dubliner cheese (at Costco, sealed relatively well in wax paper) and left it in my car all afternoon and overnight by mistake. Given that it is unopened and the ...
7
votes
4answers
33k views

How long does unopened, room temperature pop last?

How long does a can of coca-cola last? Like a case of them, sitting in a room-temperature room. There is a date on the bottom (MAR1411), but what does that mean? I have a can with the World Cup on ...
7
votes
1answer
627 views

Why are my strawberries keeping so long?

The California strawberries my husband buys are completely white at the stem, but bright red throughout the body, as well as being tasteless and staying fresh in the fridge for 2 weeks or more. Is it ...
7
votes
3answers
5k views

Wondering if the bottle of wine I have is still good or not

During my move to a new place, I found a bottle of wine that I had kept in my refrigerator that was dated 2004. It was still sealed; it didn't look like anything was floating around inside, and to all ...
7
votes
1answer
6k views

Is is true that honey never spoils? Why?

I've heard that "honey never spoils", but I'm incredulous. Is this true, and if so, how? Isn't there some indicator that I should throw the honey in my cupboard away?