Spring cleaning is an excuse to clean up around your home, dust the shelves, mop the floors, clean the windows, but have you ever thought about the cleaning your fridge needs? Here is a list of ways to tell if what you have in your fridge can be salvaged or just needs to be tossed.
That date on the side of the jar tells you how long the product will stay good if it remains unopened. Once you open it; however, it’s a different story. Most unopened condiments like mayo, mustard, ketchup, and salad dressing stay fresh for six months or more. Once opened, you should toss them after three months to prevent them from becoming a breeding ground for bacteria.
Found some yogurt in the back of your fridge and wondering if it’s still safe to eat? Don’t just rely on smelling it or looking for mold to decide. For single serving containers that are unopened, check the date on the container. For larger, previously opened containers of yogurt and sour cream, you should usually toss them after being opened for two weeks.
Milk may last about a week after the sell-by date.
For cheese, it depends on the type, but most cheeses on average will last about 2 months unopened in the fridge or three weeks on average if it has been opened.
Butter should only be stored in the fridge for three months, but don’t feel pressured to use it all now–you can store unopened sticks of butter in the freezer for up to a year.
Eggs actually stay fresh past the best-by date if they are kept in the fridge at 40 degrees F. The date actually indicates when they will change grades, which has more to do with the shape of the yolk than it does with spoilage (a grade A yolk stands up from the white; a grade B yolk is flatter, more flush with the white). In general, eggs will keep 2-5 weeks after you buy them.
Lunch meat should generally be used 4-5 days after opening. Raw meats like chicken breasts, ground meat, or pork should be used or frozen within a week of purchase.
Fish should be used or frozen within 2 days of purchase.
Leftovers make great lunches and easy dinners for busy nights, but if you have leftovers from Monday’s dinner can you eat them on Friday night? In most cases, yes. Leftover dishes stored in an airtight container in the fridge can last four to five days.
Frozen fruit: Frozen fruit like berries will keep for about a year in the freezer, so it’s perfect to stock up on now so that all summer long, you will have easy access to delicious fruit to throw into a smoothie, use as a topping for yogurt or eat as-is for a snack.
Buying a large bag will allow you to do that at a good price. However, if you’ve been shying away for buying nuts in bulk because you’re afraid they won’t keep, you’ll be glad to know that storing nuts in the refrigerator will extend their shelf life from three months in your pantry to six months in your fridge. Put them in the freezer, and they’ll last even longer-up to two years!