I use a lot of frozen and dry packaged foods because I cook for one and don’t like to waste food. So, I don’t get much fresh food. The freezer and refrigerator are my friends! When I’ve cooked something and there are leftovers (as there usually are because I tend to cook enough for two meals at a time), I immediately put the leftovers into a container and into the refrigerator.
Here are the times you can keep refrigerated foods:
- Meat and fish, fresh, from a can or originally frozen — 3 days maximum
- Potatoes, and other root vegetables — 3 weeks
- Other vegetables (carrots, bell peppers, celery, etc) — 1 week
- Previously cooked foods — 4 days
Frozen foods can be kept a long time. For example:
- Fish — 1 month
- Prepared meat (fish sticks, meatballs, chicken strips) — 2 months
- Frozen vegetables — 6 months
Temperatures: Get a thermometer. A freezer should freeze to 0 degrees (Fahrenheit), and a refrigerator to 40 degrees (F). If the temperature cannot be kept colder than 45 degrees, replace it! It’s no good.
Dry foods such as pasta, rice, split peas, beans, etc., will keep for months. Smell it first. If it smells rancid, throw it out. Rancid food is bad for you. Spices will keep forever, even years. The only concern with spices is if they lose their flavor. If a spice or seasoning gets lumpy, that means it got damp. It still shouldn’t affect the seasoning.