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The Ultimate Guide to Food Storage

The Ultimate Guide to Food Storage
Knowing which foods to store where, how and for how long reduces food waste and can save you money. Which means it pays to be smart about food storage! MORE+ LESS-

Betty Crocker is embarking on a campaign to #tastenotwaste. As a global food company, General Mills recognizes food waste is a major social, environmental, and economic challenge and is invested in change. We are continuously working to improve production processes that eliminate waste and are partnering with Feeding America to make sure uneaten food gets from stores and restaurants to people, not garbage cans. But there is one place we need help—at home, where 40% of food waste happens. The stats about consumer food waste at home might surprise you.

Nearly every food item we buy has a shelf life that’s dependent on how it’s stored. So even if you’ve planned out your meals and stuck to the shopping list, if you store an item incorrectly when you get it home, it can go bad faster than you planned and end up in the trash.

We’re breaking it all down for you so that your produce stays crisp, your meats stay fresh and your staples last as long as possible.

How to Store Fruits

Food Item

Where to Store

How to Store

How Long to Store

Apple

refrigerator drawer

unwrapped

3 weeks

Avocado

countertop to ripen, refrigerator shelf when ripe

unwrapped

1 day

Avocado (halved)

refrigerator shelf

squeeze lemon or lime juice on the surface and wrap tightly in plastic wrap

1 day

Banana

countertop

unwrapped

3 days once ripe

Berries

refrigerator drawer

uncovered, vented container

3-5 days

Citrus

refrigerator shelf

unwrapped

2 weeks

Grapes

refrigerator drawer

perforated plastic bag

1-2 weeks

Melon (whole)

countertop

unwrapped

5 days once ripe

Melon (cut)

refrigerator shelf

airtight container

3-5 days

Stone Fruit

countertop to ripen, refrigerator shelf when ripe

unwrapped

5 days once ripe

Pear

countertop, refrigerate once ripe

unwrapped

4 days once ripe

Tomatoes

countertop

unwrapped, vented container

5 days

 

How to Store Vegetables

Food Item

Where to Store

How to Store

How Long to Store

Asparagus

refrigerator shelf

stems in water, tops lightly covered with plastic

4 days

Bell pepper

refrigerator shelf

plastic bag

1 week

Broccoli

refrigerator drawer

wrapped in plastic

5 days

Carrots

refrigerator drawer

plastic bag

3 weeks

Cauliflower

refrigerator drawer

wrapped in plastic

5 days

Celery

refrigerator drawer

wrapped in foil

2 weeks

Cucumber

refrigerator drawer

wrapped in plastic

1 week

Dark leafy greens

refrigerator drawer

plastic bag with dry paper towel

1 week

Garlic

dark pantry

unwrapped, whole

2 months

Green Beans

refrigerator drawer

plastic bag with dry paper towel

1 week

Head of lettuce

refrigerator drawer

plastic bag with dry paper towel

5 days

Mushrooms

refrigerator shelf

paper bag

3 days

Onion

dark pantry

unwrapped

1-2 months

Onion (halved)

refrigerator drawer

sealed plastic bag

3-5 days

Potatoes

dark pantry

paper bag

1-2 months

Salad greens

refrigerator drawer

large plastic container, layered with dry paper towels

10 days

Summer squash

refrigerator shelf

plastic bag

5 days

Sweet potatoes

dark pantry

paper bag

2 weeks

Winter squash

dark pantry

unwrapped

1 month

Basil

countertop

stems in water, tops lightly covered with plastic

1 week

Cilantro

refrigerator shelf

stems in water, tops lightly covered with plastic

1 week

Rosemary/thyme

refrigerator shelf

wrapped in plastic

2 weeks

Chives

refrigerator shelf

wrapped in damp paper towel, wrap in plastic wrap

5 days

Parsley

refrigerator shelf

stems in water, tops lightly covered with plastic

1 week

How to Store Meat

Food Item

Where to Store

How to Store

How Long to Store

Bacon

refrigerator meat drawer

sealed bag with no air

2 weeks unopened, 1 week opened

Bacon (freezer)

freezer

sealed bag with no air

1 month

Cold cuts from deli

refrigerator shelf

sealed bag with no air

2 weeks unopened, 1 week opened

Cold cuts pre-packaged

refrigerator shelf

packaging it came in

2 weeks unopened, 5 days opened

Raw meat

refrigerator meat drawer

packaging it came in

2 days

Raw meat (freezer)

freezer

sealed bag with no air

3-6 months

Raw poultry

refrigerator meat drawer

packaging it came in

2 days

Raw poultry (freezer)

freezer

sealed bag with no air

3-6 months

Cheese (fresh)

refrigerator drawer

in water, change every 2 days

1 week

Cheese (hard/aged)

refrigerator drawer

wrapped in parchment, then wrapped lightly in plastic

1 month

Cheese (semi-hard)

refrigerator drawer

wrapped in parchment, then wrapped lightly in plastic

2 weeks

Cheese (soft)

refrigerator drawer

wrapped in parchment, then in sealed bag

1-2 weeks

Eggs

refrigerator shelf

egg carton

2 weeks or until expiration date

How to Store Pantry

Food Item

Where to Store

How to Store

How Long to Store

Baking powder

pantry

original container

6 months unopened; until use-by-date opened

Baking soda

pantry

original container

1 ½ years unopened; until use-by-date opened

Flour, white

pantry

sealed container

1 year

Flour, whole-wheat

pantry

sealed container

1 month

Flour, whole-wheat (fridge)

refrigerator

sealed container

6 months

Flour, whole-wheat (freezer)

freezer

sealed container

2 years

Herbs, dried

pantry

sealed containers

2 years

Oats

pantry

original container

6 months

Dried pasta

pantry

original container

2 years

Rice, white

pantry

sealed container

2 years unopened, 1 year opened

Rice, brown

pantry

sealed container

1 year unopened, 6 months opened

Spices

pantry

sealed containers

3 years in whole form, 2 years ground form

Sugar, brown

pantry

sealed container, tightly wrapped

4 months

Sugar, granulated

pantry

sealed container

indefinitely

Nuts

pantry

sealed container

2 weeks

Nuts (fridge)

refrigerator

sealed container

9 months

Nuts (freezer)

freezer

sealed container

2 years

Olive oil

pantry, away from heat and light

darker bottle with well-fitting cap

3 months opened

Vegetable oil

pantry, away from heat and light

original container

4-6 months opened

Storing your food so it lasts as long as possible is just one of many small ways that you can make a big difference when it comes to food waste at home. What other tips and tricks do you use to #tastenotwaste your food? Tell us in the comments below or use our hashtag on Facebook and Instagram.



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