How to Stock and Store Fresh, Refrigerated, and Frozen Items
Keep these refrigerator and freezer staples in constant supply to prevent last-minute trips to the grocery store. Take note of the storage tips so you are always stocking the freshest foods possible.
Freezer & Refrigerator Temperatures
To keep your food from deteriorating in your refrigerator freezing compartment, the temperature should be set at 0 degrees F or below. If you open the door frequently, this might be hard to maintain. Use an appliance thermometer to keep the freezer temperature in check. You can keep an eye on your refrigerator temperature with the same handy gadget. To keep food from spoiling, the temperature in the refrigerator should be set at 40 degrees F or below.
Foods Not to Freeze
Freezing preserves foods for long periods of time because it prevents the growth of microorganisms that lead to food spoilage and food-borne illness. You can freeze almost any food, but these lose flavor, texture, and quality when frozen:
- Battered and fried foods
- Cooked egg whites and yolks, plus icings made with egg whites
- Cottage and ricotta cheeses
- Custard and cream pies and desserts with cream fillings
- Soups and stews made with potatoes, which can darken and become mushy
- Stews thickened with cornstarch or flour
- Sour cream, mayonnaise, and salad dressings
- Stuffed chops and chicken breasts
- Whole eggs in the shell, raw or cooked
- To keep bacteria from growing, cool foods quickly before freezing, then divide into small portions in shallow containers. Arrange containers in a single layer in the freezer to allow cold air to circulate around packages until frozen. Stack after completely frozen. Look for containers that are designed specifically for freezer use.
- When using freezer bags, lay them flat. Add packages to the freezer in batches to make sure the food freezes as quickly as possible. Never stack packages to be frozen. Instead, leave space between them so air can circulate around. Stack them after they are frozen solid.
- Use freezer-to-oven or freezer-to-microwave dishes and cover with plastic freezer wrap or heavy-duty foil.
- Buy self-sealing storage bags and plastic wrap intended for freezer use.
|Food Item||Recommended Storage|
|Cheese||2 to 3 weeks|
|(American, cheddar, Parmesan, Swiss)|
|Eggs||4 to 5 weeks|
|Mayonnaise||2 months after opening|
|Milk||Check expiration date|
|Salad greens||2 to 5 days|
|Refrigerator: Nice to Have|
|Capers||1 year after opening|
||Check expiration date|
|Salad dressing||3 months after opening|
|Tortillas||Check expiration date|
|Freezer: Nice to Have|
|Frozen fruit||1 year|
|(blueberries, raspberries, strawberries)|
|Frozen vegetables||1 year|
|(broccoli, corn, green beans, spinach)|