It is but natural for everyone to stock a good amount of food items in their home. Having a pantry not only saves you money but also saves a lot of time as you don’t have to run to market every alternate day. If you also have the habit of maintain pantry that can last several months, you should certainly know the signs when good food goes bad. Along with these signs, knowing their shelf life would also help you to find items that are nearing their expiry date. Read on:
- Eggs: The easiest way to check eggs is to float them in water. The ones that sink are fit to be eaten while those that float are unfit. If you feel that the eggs stink when cracked, you should also discard them. You can easily store shelled eggs for three to five weeks while hard boiled eggs can only be stored for one week.
- Beef, pork and lamb: You can store beef, pork and lamb just for two to five days in a refrigerator but you can surely increase their shelf life to four months to over a year by freezing them.
- Poultry: If you have whole turkey and chicken in your fridge for more than two days, there are high chances that it must have perished but if you have kept it in your freezer, you can certainly use it even after one year. Pieces can only be consumed till nine months. Remember not to wash poultry with water before cooking or storing as it would spread bacteria.
- Seafood: Fresh fish is fit for consumption only for two days. Some varieties of fish can be easily frozen for over three to ten months. Lobster and crab can be stored for two days in refrigerator but three months in freezer. Scallops and oyster can live upto five days in fridge.
- Cheese: The higher the moisture content in cheese, the smaller is its shelf life. So, while mozzarella is good for just two weeks if unopened while Parmesan is good for a year. To elongate the life of cheese, wrap it in a wax paper and store it in vegetable crisper of the fridge. You can also freeze cheese to store it for a longer duration.
- Milk and dairy products: You can consume refrigerated milk for seven days. Refrigerated cream can be stored for four days while frozen cream for four months. You can also keep butter for two months in fridge and nine months in freezer.
- Yogurt: While you can store yogurt for a week, don’t forget to check the growth of bacteria in it. The bacteria change the smell and texture of yogurt and make it imperfect for consumption.
- Frozen food: Even though there is no expiry date on frozen food, the quality, taste and nutritional component of the food surely decrease when frozen. It is important for you to store the food properly in the freezer and maintain a temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Fruits and veggies: Different fruits have different shelf life. Berries and melons last only for a week while apples and citrus fruits can be stored for more than two weeks. You can also freeze fruits but they get softer when frozen and can be used for baking. As long as vegetables are concerned, root vegetables last for over two weeks while tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers last for a week. You would love the fact that most veggies can be frozen for a period of eight months.
- Beverages: You can store fruit juice for almost three weeks in your fridge and for a year in the freezer. After opening any beverage make a point to consume it within a fortnight. Diet soda should not be stored for more than four months in your pantry as the artificial sweetener present in it begins to break down.
- Noodles, rice and pasta: The shelf life of noodles is almost six months while that of pasta is almost two years. White rice can be stored for over a year but consume brown rice within six months. You can also pack them in air tight containers to increase their shelf life.
- Spices and seasoning: When in doubt, crush a few seeds of spices in your hand. If you don’t find the usual smell and color, you probably need to refill your pantry. Seasoning can easily be stored for two years.
Inability to identify bad food will not only mean loss of money but it can also lead to severe health problems for your entire family. With a little care you can save a lot items from perishing and put them to use before their expiry.