How long will it last?

Sure, it sounds like the title of a new hit game show on NBC with Howie Mandel, but it’s not. It’s the game all of us play with our refrigerator.

I never know how long something lasts and I almost always have leftovers. I keep them in the fridge for a good week or two, then I carefully open it up, hoping it doesn’t release a some disgusting odor (which it often does) or even worse, hoping that the disgusting odor juices don’t end up splashing me in the face upon opening it.

So after some investigating (and a little help from here’s what you need to know.

1. How long do apples last?
You can enjoy weeks and weeks of apple bobbing parties with these hardy fruits; if stored in a cool, dry area (the basement and the fridge drawer are always good picks), apples can last anywhere between 3 to 6 months.

2. Is it better to keep bread out on the counter or in the fridge?
If you want your bread to stay fresh, then keep your loaf on the counter at room temperature; refrigerating bread may halt the growth of mold, but it will dry bread out and cause it to become stale more quickly. If you want to store bread, however, you’re better off sticking it in the freezer.

3. How long do eggs last?
Long enough for a month of omelets. Fresh eggs, in their shell, can last in the fridge for 4 to 5 weeks after purchase.

4. Does hard cheese last longer than soft cheese?
Hell yeah! The “rock” of cheeses, hard cheese lasts for 3 to 4 weeks after being opened, whereas soft cheese lasts for about one week after being opened.

5. How long does an open box of cereal last?
You can look forward to several blissful months of waking up to the Cap’n. Cap’n Crunch, that is; an open box of cereal will remain edible for about 2 to 3 months in a dry room. A humid home, on the other hand, spells a shorter shelf life for your favorite box of cereal.

6. Is milk any good after the expiry date?
This really isn’t something you want to discover for yourself. Milk should definitely be chucked after it has expired. The nutrients and vitamins in milk start to diminish after opening, so besides giving you the stomachache of your life, drinking expired milk won’t really do your body any good.

7. How long do TV dinners last in the freezer?
These convenient marvels of modern living will last in the freezer for about 6 months; check the expiry date on the package just to be sure.

8. How long can you keep cooked burgers on the counter?
Whether it’s been barbecued, baked, fried, or thrown on a hot sidewalk in the middle of a heat wave, cooked meat shouldn’t be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours. After 2 hours, human-unfriendly bacteria starts to grow on the meat, making it an unhealthy, highly unpleasant snack and all-around bad idea to mess with.

9. How long does raw steak last in the freezer?
You’ve got almost a year to eat like a real man. Raw steak will last up to 12 months in the freezer.

10. How long do cold cuts last?
For less time than you think. I once knew a guy who ate lunchmeats dotted with blue spots… he hasn’t been the same since. To avoid drastically altering your fated life path, throw away an open package of cold cuts after 3 to 5 days, and send cold cuts stored in a tightly-sealed container packing after 10 days.

11. Can poultry be put in the freezer after it’s been cooked?
Freeze away. Fried chicken will keep in the freezer for 4 to 6 months, while cooked poultry dishes will last for about 4 months in the freezer.

12. Can I drink a bottle of beer that was left open overnight?
Technically, sure, go ahead. The beer won’t be toxic or anything, but if you could muster up the energy to go over to the fridge and open up a brand new bottle, you’ll save yourself the not-so-fun experience of ingesting flat, raunchy, morning-after alcohol.

13. Does ice cream ever go bad?
It’s hard to believe that something this good could ever go bad; but just like Lex Luthor, ice cream, too, will eventually cross over to the dark side. Although it doesn’t have a set shelf life, this frozen goodness will eventually grow a layer of fuzzy ice droplets that give it a coarse, icy texture and just take all the fun out of eating it. The jury’s still out on when this occurs, but depending on the condition of your freezer, it could be anywhere from 12 days to 12 months.

14. How many days does delivery pizza last?
See all those boxes of half-eaten pizza strewn around your living room floor? Yeah, you might want to think about throwing those out. Delivery pizza in the box will last for about 3 to 4 days in the fridge, but should be terminated faster than Kevin Costner’s career if left at room temperature for over 2 hours.

15. Do Twinkies really last indefinitely?
Sure they do, and the tooth fairy really did leave all those quarters under your pillow. Sorry, Twinkies do not, in fact, defy all the laws of food storage. They have a shelf life of about a month, and this relatively lengthy shelf life is due to the fact that Twinkies contain no dairy products.

16. If the power goes out , how long will food last in the freezer and fridge?
You have several hours before total starvation begins to set in. If the fridge door is kept closed, food will last for about 4 to 6 hours, and will remain edible for about 1 to 2 days in the freezer.

  • The ugly truth about mold: Mold is not your friend. Yes, it may be soft and fuzzy, but it is not, by any means, friendly. Mold can cause allergic reactions and sickness. If your food has grown that familiar greenish/grayish/bluish fur, kiss it goodbye. The only moldy foods that can be salvaged are hard cheeses and firm fruits and veggies. In these cases, cut the moldy areas away and enjoy.
  • Better safe than sorry: Avoid strange encounters of the food kind. Resist adventurous urges, and throw away any food that looks or smells suspicious. This type of shady food item belongs in the garbage, not in your stomach.
  • Expiry date rules can sometimes be bent: “Best before…” is not a hard and fast rule; it is merely a very strong suggestion in regards to when to discard the food in question. And although this date doesn’t necessarily mean you need to throw away said food, if the food looks shady, throw it a big old farewell party.
  • Storing temperatures: Take charge of your food storage facilities. Make sure your freezer is set at or below 0°F, and the fridge is set between 34° and 40°F to slow the growth of harmful human-hating bacteria. Once you’ve decided which foods are freezer-worthy, tightly wrap freezer-bound food in a plastic bag, let all the air out of the bag and tie it to avoid freezer burn. If it’s not the fridge or freezer, make sure your storage location is cool and dry.

65 comments so far

  1. […] read more | digg story […]

  2. daisy9 on

    I like playing this game!

  3. cincodemayo1 on

    I hope you win! Often!

  4. Brent on

    One time I chugged a huge glass of milk, which I found out was sour, after finishing the glass. I had just eaten two large tuna salad sandwiches, from which I used an entire can of tuna.

    Needless to say, my experience of puking my guts out, after having just stuffed my belly with two large tuna salad sandwiches, then chugging a large glass of sour milk, was an educating one.

    Since then, I always smell the milk I’m about to drink, in addition to checking the date.

    I will never, ever make that horrible mistake again!


  5. cincodemayo1 on

    That is one disgusting story. But helpful and educational. This should be a lesson to anyone eating tuna and milk. Thanks Brent!

  6. GHBKNJ HJ on


  7. cincodemayo1 on

    Good luck GHBKNJ!

  8. meep on

    hey, do you know if it’s safe to eat ice cream after its been eaten off of (like, has my spit on it) and then put in the freezer for a day?

  9. cincodemayo1 on

    Should be fine…is it your own spit or someone elses?

  10. got2jot on

    I grilled four 6 oz. chicken breasts tonight to eat for lunch for the rest of the week. After I did this I then thought…”maybe I should have waited to grill more later in the week?” Can you tell me if they will stay good in the refrigerator or do you think I should freeze at least Thursday and Friday’s portions?

    BTW….this is really a cool website!

  11. cincodemayo1 on

    Glad you like the site.

    As long as you cooked the chicken, it should be fine. Don’t quote me on that, but cooked chicken should last into the week. It’s raw chicken you have to worry about.

  12. ioyces on

    thanks for the helpful info!!! Now I know i have three weeks left to finish my block of extra sharp cheddar cheese….


  13. cincodemayo1 on

    Not a problem…enjoy the cheese!

  14. ria on

    mold isn’t always bad:

    Blue cheese is very tasty and is green and blue. Miso paste and soy products are made with mold, and all things with yeast are related to mold. Don’t hate on mold.

  15. cincodemayo1 on

    I’m a fan of the mold, just not when it’s on products that shouldn’t have it!

  16. Steakman on

    How long can steak stay in the fridge marinating? Generally whats the rule of thumb with raw meats in the fridge thawed?

  17. The Tillek on

    Well, let’s face it. If it wasn’t for mold (moldy bread for one) the baby dinosaur would have died and never smashed “not the momma” on the head with the frying pan ever again.

    But seriously, take out fried chicken… how long in the fridge?

    I mean, I never worked in the food industry…. do they really take care of the food, or is it a borderline health hazard from the word go?

  18. Sherry on

    I opened a can of Alaskan smoked salmon last week, ate some and refrigerated the rest (no spit, or anything). I used the remainder last night, and now my husband thinks I am trying to kill him with food poisoning. How long is it good for?

  19. cincodemayo1 on

    Probably not long…

  20. Callie on

    If I freeze ground beef can I thaw it out by leaving it in the fridge all day? Once it’s thawed, how long do I have to cook it before it’s unedible?

  21. monica on

    I left a half gallon of milk on the counter for 3 hours. It was still cool and I put it back in the fridge when I discovered my air-headed mistake. Keep and use or toss?

  22. cincodemayo1 on

    I’d smell it and taste it. If it’s normal, go for it. If not, toss.

  23. Jazzy on

    I’ve often bought a foot long subway for lunch or a big takeaway meal and then save part of it for dinner which can be anywhere from 6-8hrs. I’d just leave the food sitting on the counter (usually covered)… is that not a healthy practice?

  24. cincodemayo1 on

    Well I won’t make a practice out of it, but depending on what you order it might be ok. If you have a tuna sandwich or something with heavy mayo, you might want to thing twice about eating it if your surroundings are hot or humid. But if your office is chilly, you might be fine if your sandwich is just vegetables or some other kind of meat.

    Honestly it all depends on the climate in which your sandwich is kept. Again, don’t make a practice out of it, but if it smells ok, and if it’s not heavy on mayo, you’ll live.

  25. Amber on

    I cooked a beef chilli on friday night but there was so much I had some left to put in the fridge. Will it still be ok to eat on monday?

  26. cincodemayo1 on

    I have a feeling it’ll be fine. I’m not a food expert or anything, but if you warm it up you should be good to go.

  27. jeff on

    how long can I leave steak or pork chops in the refidgerator before I must cook them after I by the from the store

  28. mickey on

    i’ve had some beef chilli in the fridge for about 2 weeks but it still looks and smells perfect. what does anyone reckon?

  29. Samantha on

    I bought some fresh salmon a two days ago. How long do you think i have to use it before it goes bad?

  30. marjorie on

    how long will watermelon cut up am=nd put on plastic bags last in the refrigerator?

  31. Alisha B on

    Yes, you can eat meat after a year but it will taste like rubber and frozen ice. It will have no flavor.

  32. Ross on

    As a single male this is like the bible. I always keep crap to long in my fridge. I think I am going to print this out and hang it on the wall so I know everything.

  33. Alex on

    Great article! I’m with Ross on the whole single male thing. I’m convinced some of the things I occasionally find growing in my fridge are new species 😀

    I think I’m gonna forward this link to all my male friends…

  34. Kristine on

    Wow, I really suck at this whole “getting rid of expired food” thing. Last month, I decided to clean out my cupboards and I had cans of food that expired in 1998. That’s almost 10 years!! I guess time FLIES by when you’re having fun. I didn’t think a can of corn could go baaaaaaad. Same with frozen things. I had all kinds of good stuff in there that was wasted. Cooking for one isn’t easy and there is NO WAY I could ever keep track of all the food that I buy. Being that I only eat few varieties of food, the only time I find out if something is expired is if I have people over for dinner! Like my salad dressing for example. 3 years old. I must be dumb or soemthing. They should make a chart that you can enter the day that you buy something and warn you before you “think you have it, but it may be expired”.

  35. Shawnette on

    How long can you keep tuna salad in the fridge? Will the mayo go bad in it if theres salt added?

  36. […] in March I posted an blog entry titled “How Long Will It Last” which discussed different kinds of food and how long they were good for. To this day, that […]

  37. Carrie on

    I got some steak at the store. Put all my food up and forgot to put the steak up that was at 4 pm. at 10pm at night before I went to bed I saw it sitting on the counter top. I felt it and it was still very cold. Actually it felt like it just came out of the refrigerator. So I just put it in the freezer. Is it still ok to eat?

  38. Eliza on

    Great blog I could get whatever I need to know on food storage.I usually buy small quantities so I save lot of time shopping around as well spending around.A bit of planning could work wonders in our lifestyle.This keeps a track on the quality of food intake and reduce wasting food.Good health for everyone and keep track on the latest in the blog.Its really educative and ‘must know” facts.

  39. Jenny on

    This is a great website, i have a query for you
    i have two cartons of milk which ive left in the fridge they expired in 1993 will it be safe to drink, im really thirsty and havent had milk in a while..i know i sound dumb but im not im just confused!
    i am now going to go eat the chocolate bar under my bed cos i have no money to buy new food! 😦

  40. Jay on

    Great information had to bookmark this!

    My Question is that i ordered a Meat curry with Special Rice & Some Bombay Potatoes on Friday but had some left over & put it all on a big plate in the Fridge Straight Away with another plate as a lid on top, i forgot about it on Saturday but will it still be ok to Microwave on Sunday to Eat? or Should i bin it?

    Thank You

  41. danny on

    Great blog, I’ve been looking for something like this for a while. Know any other sites which may cover more items, particularly how long you can keep something once it’s been opened?

    To add to the list a bit, here’s an article I got out of the newspaper awhile ago about how to store and how long you can keep fresh fruits/veggies.

    Berries – Store in the fridge. If they are in an open container, put a dry paper towel over the top. Blueberries will keep a week or so, raspberries and strawberries only a few days.

    Lettuce – Store in a gallon sized plastic bag in your crisper bin. Put a paper towel in the bag as well. Should last up to a week.

    Tomatoes – Never store in the fridge; it kills the flavor. Set on the counter. If you’ve got a bunch, spread them out so they don’t make others go moldy. Should last up to a week, half that if already fully ripe.

    Peaches, Plums – Store in the fridge if you won’t be eating them soon. To ripen, place in a paper bag or leave on the counter for a day. Should last up to a week in the fridge, a day or two left on the counter.

    Bell Peppers, Cucumbers – On the counter or in the fridge in a plastic bag. Both should last a week in the fridge, cucumbers only a few days if left on the counter.

    Beans, Snow peas – In the fridge in a plastic bag, lasts five days to a week.

    Bananas – On the counter. If they are too green, place in a paper bag with an apple to ripen. Green bananas should last a week, yellow with green tips a few days, fully yellow only a day or two.

    Melons – On the counter, out of direct sunlight. If ripe, keep in the fridge. Should last up to 5 days.

    Grapes – On the counter or in the fridge in a vented bag. On the counter, will last a couple days. In the fridge, a week.

    Thanks again for your list!

  42. Sheila on

    How long does homemade tuna salad last in refrigerator?

  43. JImthechowd on

    Tuna will last about 2 days before the mayo starts to thin and get wattery but it’s still edible

  44. RowdyR on

    OK. This is embarrassing but tell me what you think. Last night I made a huge pot of Jambalaya (brown rice, tomatoes, fully cooked shrimp, pork and smoked sausage) It was ready at 9pm. Ate a small bowl, fell asleep on the couch, sat up at 5am and ran to the kitchen to rescue the remains from the stove top and slam them in the fridge. So, 8 hours at room temperature. It still smells and looks fine. Am I crazy to contemplate eating it. It was to last me through the weekend. No fancy eating now until my next paycheck. Will the acidity of the tomatoes and the cayenne pepper save it? Or is it a definite throw our or die? All advice is welcome. — rod:)

  45. Darin & Mike on

    I loved your site

  46. Dave on

    ah! got home with instructions to cook some chicken which was out on the counter. expiry date 13 march (12 days ago) and i dont know whether it has been frozen up until today or not…

    still alright to use/cook?

  47. Debbie on

    How long will cookies made with eggs last at room temp.

  48. Carrol on

    How long will tuna last without mayo just onions, celery – it’s been 2 days and I just added lemon juice? If I can finish it tonight I will but if not – will it be safe tomorrow?

  49. Brenda on

    How long can I keep beacon in the freezer for, a year or not.

  50. Danielle on

    I slow cooked a pork roast last night in the crock pot and it was done this morning. It was too hot to put in the fridge so I set it on the coutertop to cool and asked my fiancee to put it in the fridge when he left, about an hour after i leave. He forgot, it sat out all day in the kitchen with the lid closed and no sun but at 76 degrees. Is it good to eat or no?

  51. Pam July 9th, 2008 on

    I had a finger sandwich tray with tuna, egg, and chicken salad, made last Friday the 4th. It is for the folks who will be around for my daughter’s home delivery of my grandson. It has been sealed up tight and then wrapped in a garbage bag and refrigerated ever since. How long will it last if it isn’t opened ’til time to use? And, should the muffins and bagels I got Sunday be frozen, at this point? Please answer asap – maybe email me if you have time. I appreciate your page.

  52. Pam July 9th, 2008 on

    previous post – forgot, I changed my email from cox to verizon, so it’s

  53. Greg on

    My wife left town several weeks ago and puhased a sealed corned beef roast. It looks fine, however it is over a month old. I know salt was used as a preservative prior to refrigeration. Do think it is still safe to eat?

  54. Just Me on

    Good stuff, I like fish!!

  55. Blair Stoks on

    Hey! pls help me i am doing some very impotant research and would like to know how long dried fruit lasts for EXAMPLE: apples, pears, chilis, etc. pls could you give me an answer THANK – YOU!!!! yours sincerely Blair Stoks

  56. dave on

    Great article–except for the unfounded dig at Kevin Costner… Way to jump on the bandwagon of know-nothings who like bashing him! (Funny how Al Pacino hasn’t STARRED in a film that grossed over $50 mil domestic in @ 10 years, yet his career is doing well).

    Kevin Costner’s had some terrible bombs–we all know that, but come on–can’t we be more creative/original with our digs? What’s next? A “Titanic” joke? How fresh!

  57. morgan on

    I thawed three 4oz hamburgers in the microwave earlier tonight, but then, as they were thawing, my boyfriend got into a huge fight and I ended up not cooking them for at least a few hours. We ate them anyway; are we going to die?

    (p.s. it was a silly fight, we’re fine, lol)

  58. Dolores on

    Hi…. I cooked a roast of beef yesterday around 4 pm set it on the stove and forgot to put it in the fridg. I found it at 6 this morning wrapped in aluminun on platter on stove. Is it good or bad

  59. mario on

    which banana will ripen faster in the counter or in the fridge

  60. stephanie on

    just wanted to say thank you so much … the info. was very helpfull. thanks.

  61. Hack on

    why does google link to this first over the it was wholly copied and pasted from?

    I mean you lifted it word for word

    “after some investigating” lol

  62. Hack on

    By Sarah Keefe

    she also works for food

  63. GoofyGal on

    Thanks for the helpful info my daughter is doing a science fair project on how long it takes for food to go bad. So Thanks again!! 🙂

  64. Kerri on

    In case you are cleaning out your pantry and find outdated canned meat/fish…the local humane societies often welcome such donations. = )

  65. Tomy on

    Good stuff, foods growing guide

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