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Questions about how to store food so as to preserve its freshness and overall quality.

Guidelines for the tag:

  • Use this tag for questions about short- and medium-term storage. Long-term storage of any perishable food requires different techniques (such as sterilization, acidification, or desiccation); use for this.

  • Expiration dates on commercial foods were calculated by people way more knowledgeable than us about the contents and preparation of the food in question. Please assume that the expiration date is a reasonable estimate and don't ask us if it's OK to ignore it; it's not.

  • "Sell-by" dates are not expiration dates. Feel free to ask about these (within the context of the other guidelines).

  • Please check to see if your question is already answered by the question How long can I store a food in the pantry, refrigerator, or freezer? or the web site If your question is immediately answered by these sources, it will be closed as a duplicate.

  • Frozen food stays safe for as long as it stays frozen. Freezer burn may affect the quality, but you can still eat the whole item, or feed the freezer-burnt parts to your dogs. So please don't bother asking about freezer storage life; the answer is always "forever".

  • We do still welcome questions about what the freezer itself will do to the quality of the food (e.g. eggs). We prefer the tag to be used for these.

  • You can't see, smell, or even taste certain kinds of spoilage. If you are even slightly worried that a food might no longer be safe to eat, i.e. due to significantly exceeding the storage guidelines, do yourself a favor and throw it out, as we advise in our wiki.