Pantry, fridge or freezer? The ultimate food storage cheat sheet

19 Jan, 2021

Whether your goal is to save the planet or simply avoid Salmonella, storing your food right is a must.

But “to fridge or not to fridge?” is a surprisingly tricky question to answer. Some foods must be stored there, some can’t be stored there, and some will last longer there, but it’s not essential. And to make matters worse, on some foods, the experts just can’t seem to agree.

Obviously your first port of call should always be to ask your shop or check the label. But if you can’t do that, here’s a handy cheat sheet. (Note that all the items below relate to store-bought items. If you make your own hommus or tomato sauce, for example, you’ll have to use your own judgement.)

Jump ahead to the section you’re interested in:

Meat, fish, poultry & eggs

FoodStore here…Source / more info
Leftovers with meat, fish, poultry or eggFridge: 3-4 days

Freezer: 2-3 months

CSIRO

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Chicken or turkey pieces (raw)Fridge: 1-2 days

Freezer: 9 months

The CSIRO says 3 days in the fridge, but the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services both say 1-2 days.
Chicken or turkey (whole)Fridge: 1-2 days

Freezer: 1 year

The CSIRO says 3 days in the fridge, but the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services both say 1-2 days.
Beef sausages, mince, strips, diced & minute steaks (raw)Fridge: 2 days

Freezer: 4-12 months

The CSIRO, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services all say 3-5 days for the fridge. But Meat & Livestock Australia says 2 days.
Beef steaks, & boned & rolled roasts (raw)Fridge: 2-3 days

Freezer: 4-12 months

The CSIRO, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services all say 3-5 days for the fridge. But Meat & Livestock Australia says 2-3 days.
Roasts (raw, bone in)Fridge: 3-4 days

Freezer: 4-12 months

The CSIRO, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services all say 3-5 days for the fridge. But Meat & Livestock Australia says 3-4 days.
Corned beef (fresh)Fridge: 1 week

Freezer: 1 month

The CSIRO says 2-3 weeks in the fridge, but Meat & Livestock Australia says just 1 week.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services says 1 month in the freezer, but that’s for corned beef in a punch with pickling juices, which I assume is more of an American style of corned beef. I couldn’t find any good references for the freezer, but the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services both say 1 month for bacon (another cured meat) in the freezer, so it sounds like that’s a good recommendation.

Vacuum-packed beef (unopened)Fridge: 4-6 weeks

Freezer: 18-22 weeks

Meat & Livestock Australia says you can store vacuum-packed beef in the fridge for 4-6 weeks.

But the Beef Cattle Research Council says a lot longer than that (from 7-20 weeks) if refrigerated at 2 degrees celsius. They also say you can freeze it for 18-22 weeks.

The Chicago Steak Company, on the other hand, says you should cook it within 10 days!

So I have no idea what to think about this one. I’d ask my butcher!

Minced veal, lamb or pork (raw, e.g. sausages or rissoles)Fridge: 1-2 days

Freezer: 3-4 months

The CSIRO says 2-3 days in the fridge, but the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
Veal, lamb or pork (raw, e.g. steaks, chops or roasts)Fridge: 3-5 days

Freezer: 4-12 months

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Beef jerky (once opened)Fridge: 2-3 monthsU.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Bacon (uncooked)Fridge: 1 week

Freezer: 1 month

The CSIRO says 2-3 weeks in the fridge, but the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services both say 1 week.
Ham & other lunch meats (once opened)Fridge: 3-5 days

Freezer: 2 months

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Fish (raw)Fridge: 1-2 days

Freezer: 3-6 months

The CSIRO says 2-3 days in the fridge, but the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
Fish (canned, once opened)Fridge: 3-4 daysUniversity of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lobster (raw)Fridge: 1 day

Freezer: 2-4 weeks

The CSIRO says 2 days in the fridge, but the University of Nebraska-Lincoln says 1-2 days and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services says 1 day.
Crab (raw)Fridge: 1-3 days

Freezer: 2-4 months

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Prawns (raw)Fridge: 3-4 days

Freezer: 12-18 months

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Oysters, mussels & clams (raw)Fridge: 5-10 daysU.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Scallops (raw)Fridge: 1-3 days

Freezer: 6-18 months

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Squid (raw)Fridge: 1-3 days

Freezer: 6-18 months

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Eggs (raw)Fridge: 3-5 weeksThe CSIRO says 3-6 weeks in the fridge, but the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services both say 3-5 weeks.

There are nearly 13,000 cases of salmonella food poisoning reported each year in Australia, and according to Food Standards Australia New Zealand, most are due to eggs (see p.4).

According to Dr Connor Thomas from the Schools of Molecular and Biomedical Science at the University of Adelaide, refrigeration reduces the risk of salmonella infection.

Eggs (hard cooked)Fridge: 1 weekUniversity of Nebraska-Lincoln

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Dairy & dairy substitutes

FoodStore here for up to…Source / more info
MilkFridge: 5-7 days

Freezer: 3 months

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln says you can store milk in the fridge for 7 days, but the CSIRO and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, both say 5-7 days.
ButterBench: 1-2 days

Fridge: 3-6 weeks

Freezer: 6-9 months

University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Janell Goodwin (Food Safety Expert with the USDA’s Food Safety & Inspection Service) both say 1-2 months in the fridge, but the CSIRO says 3-6 weeks.
MargarineFridge: 6 months

Freezer: 1 year

CSIRO

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Hard cheese (e.g. cheddar or swiss, once opened)Fridge: 4 weeks

Freezer: 6 months

CSIRO

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Shredded cheese (e.g. cheddar or mozzarella, once opened)Fridge: 1 month

Freezer: 4 months

CSIRO

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Soft cheese (e.g. brie or herb, once opened)Fridge: 1-2 weeks

Freezer: 6 months

The CSIRO says 2-3 weeks in the fridge, but the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services both say 1-2 weeks.
Cottage cheese or ricotta (once opened)Fridge: 1 weekThe CSIRO says 10 days in the fridge, but the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services both say 1 week.
Cream cheese (once opened)Fridge: 10 daysThe University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services say 2 weeks in the fridge, but the CSIRO says 10 days.
Ice creamFreezer: 2-4 monthsUniversity of Nebraska-Lincoln

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Cakes with dairy-based icing or fillingFridge: 1-2 daysAccording to vanilla essence producer, Queen:

“Cakes frosted or filled with cream, custard, cream cheese or fresh fruit are best stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days.”

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, cheesecake can be stored in the fridge for 5-7 days or in the freezer for 3-6 months.

Soy and nut milk (once opened)Fridge: 5-10 daysThe U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln say 7-10 days, but Dr. Edward Blonz (M.S. and Ph.D. in nutrition) says that, once opened, soy milk needs to be refrigerated, and should be used within 5-7 days.
Cream (thickened or cooking cream)Fridge: 5 days

Freezer: 3-4 months

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services says 10 days in the fridge, but the CSIRO says 5 days.
Sour creamFridge: 1-2 weeksUniversity of Nebraska-Lincoln
YoghurtFridge: 1-2 weeks

Freezer: 1-2 months

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Fruit, vegetables & herbs

FoodStore here for up to…Source / more info
Any cut, sliced or cooked fruit or vegetableBench: 1-2 hours

Fridge: 4 days (wrapped or covered with plastic)

Texas A&M University

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

TIP: You’ve probably heard that you should never store cut onion because it’s a magnet for bacteria. This is absolutely false. Read more here, here and here.

ApplesBench: 3 weeks

Fridge: 4-6 weeks

Freezer: 8 months

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

BananasBench: Until ripe

Fridge: 3 days once ripe

Freezer: 2-3 months

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

The skin will go dark brown in the fridge, but the fruit itself should be fine.

Citrus fruits (lemons, limes, oranges, mandarins, grapefruit, etc.)Bench: 10 days

Fridge: 21 days

Freezer: 6 months

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

According to Citrus.com, you can store citrus fruit at room temperature for several days, but if you want to keep it longer than that, you should put it in a plastic bag or in the crisper drawer in your fridge.

GrapesBench: 1 day

Fridge: 1 week

Freezer: 1 month

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

AvocadosBench: Until ripe

Fridge: 3-4 days once ripe

Freezer: 8 months

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

TomatoesBench: Until ripe, then 7 days

Fridge: 1-2 days once ripe

Freezer: 10-12 months

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Apparently storing tomatoes in the fridge can change their flavor and make them rot faster. Here’s a great, in-depth study some bloke in America conducted.

StrawberriesFridge: 2-3 days

Freezer: 8-12 months

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

BlueberriesFridge: 1-2 weeks

Freezer: 8-12 months

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

PearsBench: Until ripe, then 1-2 day

Fridge: 3-5 days once ripe

Freezer: 2 months

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

PineapplesBench: Until ripe, then 1-2 day

Fridge: 5-7 days once ripe

Freezer: 8-12 months

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Mangos, kiwi fruit & other tropical fruitBench: 3-5 days

Fridge: 1 week

Freezer: 6-8 months

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Melons (e.g. watermelon, rockmelon)Bench: Until ripe, then 7 days

Fridge: 2 weeks

Freezer: 1 month

According to Melons Australia, uncut melons should be refrigerated and eaten within a day or two.

But the US Department of Agriculture found that watermelons stored at room temperature have more antioxidants and other nutrients.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services say you can store melons at room temperature until they’re ripe, then for 2 weeks in the fridge.

Peaches, plums & other stone fruitBench: Until ripe, then 1-2 day

Fridge: 3-5 days once ripe

Freezer: 2 months

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Dried fruit (once opened)Pantry: 1 month

Fridge: 6 months

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Potatoes and sweet potatoesPantry: 1-2 months

Fridge: 1-2 weeks

Freezer: 10-12 months

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Sweet potatoesPantry: 2-3 weeksU.S. Department of Health & Human Services
OnionsPantry: 1 month

Fridge: 2 months

Freezer: 10-12 months

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Store them in a dry, ventilated place, away from potatoes.

GarlicPantry: 1 month

Fridge: 3-14 days

Freezer: 1 month

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Store them in a dry, ventilated place, away from potatoes.

PumpkinPantry: 2-3 months

Fridge: 3-5 months

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
ZucchiniPantry: 1-5 days

Fridge: 4-5 days

Freezer: 10-12 months

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Capsicum & chilliesFridge: 4-14 days

Freezer: 6-8 months

The Northern Territory government says 2-3 weeks in the fridge, but the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services says 4-14 days.

The Victorian government says: “Store capsicums in the crisper section of your fridge. Ordinary plastic bags cause capsicums to sweat, so only use fridge storage bags. Capsicum should be used within five days.”

Corn on the cobFridge: 1-2 days

Freezer: 8 months

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, corn on the cob loses its sugar (and therefore its taste) very rapidly at room temperature, so you should store it in the fridge. But even then, it’s best if eaten within 2 days. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services agree.
EggplantPantry: 1 day

Fridge: 4-7 days

Freezer: 6-8 months

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Basil (fresh)Bench: 5 days

Fridge: 10-14 days

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and culinary advisor, J. Kenji López-Alt.

Note that if you store basil in the fridge, its leaves will discolour. Kenji López-Alt says: “Store basil by snipping off the bases of the stems and placing the bunch in a vase or a Mason jar with an inch or two of water at the bottom, just like a bouquet of flowers. Store at room temperature [for up to 2 weeks] in a light area, but out of direct sunlight.”

Tender herbs (fresh parsley, coriander, dill, mint, tarragon)Fridge: 2 days – 3 weeks

Freezer: 3-4 months

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and culinary advisor, J. Kenji López-Alt.

Kenji López-Alt says: “Store tender herbs by snipping off the bases of the stems and removing any discolored or wilted leaves. Transfer them to a large Mason jar with an inch of water in the bottom. Seal the jar with the lid (if it fits), or cover the top of the jar with an overturned plastic bag sealed with a rubber band. Store in the refrigerator.”

Hardy herbs (fresh rosemary, thyme, sage, chives)Bench: 1-2 weeks

Fridge: 1-3 weeks

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and culinary advisor, J. Kenji López-Alt.

Kenji López-Alt says: “Store hardy herbs by arranging them lengthwise in a single layer on a slightly damp paper towel, rolling them up like a jelly roll, then transferring the bundle to a plastic zipper-lock bag or wrapping it in plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator.”

Breads, cereals & dry goods

FoodStore here for up to…Source / more info
BreadPantry: 1-3 days

Freezer: 3-5 months

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln say you can store bread in the pantry for 14 to 18 days or in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.

But the experts disagree (e.g. Choice, The Perfect Loaf and Brasserie Bread). Instead, they say to store bread in a breadbox in your pantry for up to 3 days, with the cut side facing down.

Or if you want to store it for a long time, freeze it.

Rice (white, uncooked, once opened)Pantry: 1-2 years

Fridge: 6 months

According to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, white rice can be stored in the pantry for up to 2 years.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, it can be stored in the pantry for 1 year or the fridge for 6 months.

According to Michigan State University, “Uncooked white rice should be stored in a tightly closed container. If moisture is kept out, the maximum storage time for good flavor is one year. Rice will keep up to two years, however the quality will not be as good…”

Rice (brown, uncooked, once opened)Pantry: 6-12 months

Fridge: 6 months.

According to America’s Michigan State University, “Uncooked brown rice keeps a shorter time, because it contains more oil than white rice. It will keep for up to 6 months on the shelf, and longer in the refrigerator.”

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, it can be stored in the pantry for 1 year or the fridge for 6 months.

According to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln brown rice can be stored in the pantry for up to 1 year.

Pasta (dry, uncooked, once opened)Pantry: 1-2 yearsAccording to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, uncooked dry pasta can be stored in the pantry for up to 1 year after opening.

According to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln you can store it in the pantry for 1-2 years.

Flour (whole wheat, once opened)Pantry: 1-6 months

Fridge: 3 months

Freezer: 2-8 months

According to the Oldways Whole Grains Council, “…whole grain flours spoil more quickly than intact grains, because their protective bran layer has been broken up and oxygen can reach all parts of the grain. If stored properly in airtight containers, most whole grain flours and meals will keep for 1 to 3 months on a cool, dry pantry shelf or 2 to 6 months in the freezer.”

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services says you can store it in the pantry for 3-6 months and in the fridge for 6-8 months.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln says you can store it in the pantry for 3 months, the fridge for 3 months or the freezer for 6 months.

Almond meal and almond flour (once opened)Fridge: 6-9 months

Freezer: Maybe more than 9 months

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, “Keep in mind that the extra moisture in almond flour [and almond meal] may make baked goods more susceptible to spoilage and mold, so store in an airtight container. [It] should be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 6-9 months; freezing may extend the shelf-life further.”
Tortillas and pita bread (once opened)Pantry: 1 week

Fridge: 2-3 weeks

Freezer: 3-6 months

It’s hard to find reliable information about the storage of tortillas, pita bread and other flatbreads.

This study says that freezing wheat flour tortillas at or below 12 °C is the best approach for stopping them from going stale.

This article on Simply Healthy Family says tortillas can be stored in the pantry for up to a week, in the fridge for up to 8 weeks, and in the freezer for up to 8 months. But I’d imagine that depends on the temperature and humidity of your pantry.

Pita bread, on the other hand, tends to go stale in the fridge. According to StillTasty, if stored in an air-tight bag, it should last 5-7 days in the pantry (depending on heat and humidity), 3-4 days in the fridge (before going stale) and 3 months in the freezer.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services says flatbreads will last 2-3 weeks in the fridge and 3-5 months in the freezer.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln says you can store them in the pantry for 3 months, the fridge for 3 months or the freezer for 6 months.

Cakes & muffins without with dairy-based icing or fillingPantry: 3-7 days

Fridge: 7-10 days

Freezer: 6 months

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

TIP: Chef and food editor, Emma Christensen, says:

“Do I Need to Refrigerate My Cake? Most of the time, the answer is no. Most cakes, frosted and unfrosted, cut and uncut, are perfectly fine at room temperature for several days. Refrigeration is only necessary if your kitchen gets very hot during the day, if you’re making a cake that won’t be served for more than three days, or when cake includes a fresh fruit filling or topping, or whipped cream frosting.

If you do refrigerate, wrap unfrosted cakes in plastic to protect them from absorbing any weird fridge smells and to protect them from drying out, and then unwrap it to warm up on the counter before serving. For frosted cakes, chill the cake uncovered for 15 minutes to harden the icing, then wrap it in plastic wrap.”

Cakes with dairy-based icing or fillingFridge: 1-2 daysAccording to vanilla essence producer, Queen:

“Cakes frosted or filled with cream, custard, cream cheese or fresh fruit are best stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days.”

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, cheesecake can be stored in the fridge for 5-7 days or in the freezer for 3-6 months.

PastriesPantry: 5-10 days

Fridge: 14 months

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

TIP: Prolific cookbook author, Martha Stewart, says: “Most baked goods keep well at room temperature. That goes for cookies and brownies (which can be stored in an airtight container for up to five days) as well as muffins, breads, and pastries (which will start to stale in two to three days but will keep better here than anywhere else). Pro tip: Tuck a piece of bread inside the storage container to help regulate moisture and keep your goodies fresher for longer.”

Coffee (instant, once opened)Pantry: 2-3 monthsU.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Coffee (fresh, once opened)Pantry: 2-3 weeksAlthough the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services says you can store beans in the pantry for 3-5 months or the fridge for 3-4 months, the experts disagree.

For example, the Coffee Beans Shop recommends storing them for 2-3 weeks in a cool, dry place, in an air-tight container (or better yet, a container with a one-way valve). And grind as you go, not all at once.

Teabags and loose tea (once box opened)Pantry: 6-12 monthsU.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Dried herbs & spices (once opened)Pantry: 1-2 yearsU.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Nuts (e.g. roasted peanuts, cashews or almonds, once opened)Pantry: 1-2 weeks

Fridge: 4 weeks

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Condiments, sauces, spreads, oils & canned goods

FoodStore here for up to…Source / more info
Tomato & BBQ sauce (once opened)Pantry: 6 months

Fridge: 6 months

Everyone seems to disagree on sauce.

Many people say the salt, acid and other preservatives make it fine to leave in the pantry. For example, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services says, “…ketchup, cocktail sauce, and chili sauce are safe when stored at room temperature after opening [for 6 months]. Quality, not safety, is the reason the labels on these products suggest that they be refrigerated after opening.”

But according to hygiene microbiologist, Dr Peter Baratt, sauce has less salt and fewer preservatives than it used to so, “while ketchup could keep safely in the cupboard for a couple of weeks, it’s best kept in the fridge and eaten within the stated eight-week period”. Heinz agrees. And food microbiologist, professor Phil Bremer, says putting it in the fridge does no harm, and you should follow the label.

Soy & teriyaki sauce (once opened)Fridge: 1 monthSoy sauce manufacturer, Kikoman, says that soy sauce needs to go in the fridge once opened. But the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services says it can be stored in the pantry if you want. They say, “[q]uality, not safety, is the reason the labels on these products suggest that they be refrigerated after opening”. Choice says check the label.
Mustard (e.g., Dijon, once opened)Pantry: 1 year

Fridge: 1 year

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services says, “…mustard is safe when stored at room temperature after opening [for 1 year after opening]. Quality, not safety, is the reason the labels on these products suggest that they be refrigerated after opening.”

According to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln you can store it in the pantry for 1-2 years or the fridge for up to 1 year.

Jam, once opened (e.g. strawberry jam and marmalade)Fridge: 6-12 monthsUniversity of Nebraska-Lincoln

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Note, however, there’s no firm consensus on jam. For example, food editor, Barbara Northwood says store it the fridge. Other people say jam’s pH level will keep it safe in the pantry, but I’ve only read this on American sites, and I don’t know if their jellies have the same pH as ours. Also their typical room temperature may be different.

Peanut butter (once opened)Pantry: 2-3 monthsUniversity of Nebraska-Lincoln

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

HoneyPantry: 2 yearsI’ve read that honey never spoils, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln both say it should be consumed within 2 years.
Chocolate spread like Nutella (once opened)Pantry: 1 yearThe U.S. Department of Health & Human Services advises against refrigerating chocolate hazelnut spread, but doesn’t provide any guidance about storage duration.

Ferrero (parent company of Nutella) says you should store Nutella at room temperature, and that jars and tubs will last for 12 months once opened.

Chocolate syrup (once opened)Fridge: 6 monthsThe U.S. Department of Health & Human Services says chocolate syrup lasts up to approx 6 months in the fridge.

Similarly, EatDelights recommends storing it in the fridge once opened:

“Temperature fluctuations can somehow throw off the emulsifier in the syrup (source) and it may separate the ingredients in the bottle. This will result in an inconsistent texture and an overall bad taste. (source)

The pantry is a good option to prolong the shelf life of your chocolate syrup, however, once a bottle is opened; it is a much better idea to store the chocolate syrup in a refrigerator to retain the taste and consistency.”

Maple syrup (once opened)Pantry: 2 years

Fridge: 18-24 months

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services says maple syrup will last for 2 years in the pantry and up to 2 years in the fridge. But the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association says it will last indefinitely, but it must be kept in the fridge once opened. You decide!
Olive oil (once opened)Pantry: 5 months

Fridge: 4 months

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services says olive oil can be stored in the pantry for up to 5 months.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln says you can store it in the pantry for 3-5 months or in the fridge for 4 months.

Coconut oil (once opened)Pantry: 3 yearsU.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Sunflower oil (once opened)Pantry: 5 months

Fridge: 4 months

Sunflower oil is a type of vegetable oil, and according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), vegetable oil can be stored in the pantry for up to 5 months.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln says you can store it in the pantry for 3-5 months or in the fridge for 4 months.

Almond oil (once opened)Fridge: 2 yearsU.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Nut oils EXCEPT for almond oil (once opened)Pantry: 8 monthsU.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Vegetable oil (once opened)Pantry: 5 months

Fridge: 4 months

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services says vegetable oil can be stored in the pantry for up to 5 months (liquid) or 1 year (spray).

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln says you can store it in the pantry for 3-5 months or in the fridge for 4 months.

Frying oil (used)Fridge: 1 month

Freezer: 9 months

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Sesame oil (once opened)Pantry: 6 monthsU.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Avocado oil (once opened)Pantry: 6 monthsU.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Canola oil (once opened)Pantry: 5 months

Fridge: 4 months

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln says you can store it in the pantry for 3-5 months or in the fridge for 4 months.

The Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC) advises producers to store canola oil at between 18°–23°C.

Grapeseed oilPantry: 1 yearU.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Gherkins & other pickled vegetables (once opened)Fridge: 1-3 monthsUniversity of Nebraska-Lincoln

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Baked beans (once opened)Fridge: 3-4 daysUniversity of Nebraska-Lincoln

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Canned tomatoes, tomato soup, juices, fruit, pickles or sauerkraut (once opened)Fridge: 5-7 daysUniversity of Nebraska-Lincoln

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Don’t store it in the tin though. Lydia Buchtmann, spokesperson for the Food Safety Information Council, says: “the tin or iron can dissolve into the food, giving it a metallic taste”.

Drinks & alcohol

FoodStore here for up to…Source / more info
MilkFridge: 5-7 days

Freezer: 3 months

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln says you can store milk in the fridge for 7 days, but the CSIRO and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, both say 5-7 days.
Fruit juiceFridge: 1-2 weeksCSIRO
Red & white wine (once opened)Fridge: 1-5 daysThe U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recommends storing all wine in the fridge, including red wine.

This may surprise many of you (it surprised me!), but wine experts like Marissa A. Ross, and Madeline Puckette agree.

They don’t agree on the duration, though. Both Marissa and Madeline say it will last 3-5 days in the fridge.

Marissa’s thoughts here probably explain that difference: “A wine could go bad in a day if it’s an unstable natural wine, or it could last for a week if it’s a highly tannic, commercial red you haven’t touched since the night you accidentally opened it.”

Sparkling white wine (once opened)Fridge: 1-3 daysWine expert, Marissa A. Ross says: “For sparkling wine, you have one to three days (it will for sure go flat, but it’s still drinkable, and sometimes chugging flat sparkling wine after a long day is better than no wine at all).”
Cream liqueur (once opened)Pantry or fridge: 5 months – 4 yearsFood editor, Alyse Whitney, says cream liqueurs must be refrigerated, but it seems the answer’s not that simple.

Each manufacturer has different advice…

Other

FoodStore here for up to…Source / more info
ChocolatePantry:

  • 3-4 months (filled chocolates)
  • 1 year (milk chocolate)
  • Nearly 2 years (dark chocolate)
Lake Champlain Chocolates says: “Chocolate easily absorbs odors of whatever’s in the refrigerator (Roquefort cheese, lamb curry — you get the idea). Moisture in the fridge can also lead to “sugar bloom,” meaning the sugar rises to the surface and discolors the chocolate (which has no effect on flavor, but doesn’t look too appealing).”

That said, I lurrrrrrrrrve my Tim Tams in the fridge or, better yet, frozen. Mmmmmm.

Hommus (once opened)Fridge: 7 daysUniversity of Nebraska-Lincoln

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Dips based on sour cream (once opened)Fridge: 2 weeksU.S. Department of Health & Human Services

WARNING: Defrosting meat, poultry or fish

According to the CSIRO:

“It is bad practice to thaw meat, poultry or fish out of the refrigerator. If this has been done it should never be put back into the refrigerator for use later. If it cannot be cooked immediately it should be thrown away because there has been an opportunity for food poisoning organisms to grow.”

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services goes even further:

“Never thaw or marinate foods on the counter. The safest way to thaw or marinate meat, poultry, and seafood is in the refrigerator.”

Similarly the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services says:

“Bacteria can grow in frozen food while it is thawing, so keep frozen food out of the Temperature Danger Zone [5°C-60°C]. Unless instructions direct otherwise, thaw frozen food in the fridge or use a microwave oven… If defrosting using a microwave oven, cook the food immediately after defrosting.”

Got any other tips?

Please comment below if we’ve forgotten anything. We’re always adding more to the list.

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