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To Toss or Taste: A Guide to Your Fridge and Freezer

Whether you’ve got a full kitchen in your off-campus house, or a mini-fridge in your double, chances are you’re going to be doing some eating outside of Mac and Lower.   But now that summer is over and you can’t just rely on your mom to organize the fridge, how will you know how long those leftovers are good for?  Or what freezes well?  Or how long it takes to defrost?   Don’t worry, here’s a quick guide to what you can leave in your fridge or freeze to get the maximum life out of your food.  But remember that these are just guidelines, if it looks questionable or smells off, definitely better safe than sorry!

Raw chicken
– A new package will have a listed expiration date, can keep in fridge until then
– Can freeze, and to thaw, let it defrost in the fridge (but once defrosted, don’t leave it raw for more than 3 days)

Raw ground beef/turkey
– A new package will have an expiration date, can keep in fridge until then
– Lasts in freezer all semester and can defrost in fridge (but then must be cooked in 1-2 days)

Raw fruits/vegetables

– Apples: last up to 3 months in fridge
– Avocados: 5-10 days in fridge
– Berries: up to 5 days in fridge
– Cranberries: up to 1 month in fridge
– Grapefruit: 2 weeks in fridge
– Grapes: 2 weeks in fridge
– Lemons/limes: up to 1 month in fridge
– Melon: 1 week in fridge
– Oranges: 1 month in fridge
– Peaches: up to 5 days in fridge
– Bananas: don’t refrigerate, can freeze once peeled (use in smoothies, etc.)

Canned beans
– Once the can is opened, can keep beans in the fridge for 3-5 days

Bread/english muffins/bagels/etc.
– Can leave on the counter (most products have a listed expiration date)
– Can freeze up to 3 months, and to defrost, leave overnight on the counter

Peanut butter
– Regular type (Skippy’s, Jif, etc.) keeps fine in the pantry
– Natural peanut butter should be kept in the fridge

Cooked vegetables
– Last up to 5 days in fridge (but most get softer with reheating)

Cooked chicken
– Lasts about a week in the fridge
– Can freeze (put in a bag with as little air as possible), and to thaw, let it defrost in the fridge

Prepared chicken/tuna salad
– Lasts 3-5 days in the fridge
– Don’t freeze

Cooked rice and other grains
– Can keep cooked in the fridge for up to 5 days
– Can freeze, and after defrosting reheat with 2 tablespoons of liquid per cup of rice

Soup/stew/chili
– Can leave in fridge for up to 5 days
– Can freeze and defrost in the fridge (once defrosted, lasts 3-4 days)

Homemade tomato sauce
– Lasts up to 5 days in fridge
– Keep in freezer all semester, defrost overnight in fridge

Homemade pesto sauce
– Lasts up to 5 days in fridge
– Lasts in freezer all semester, defrost overnight in fridge

Cookies
– Last on the counter for up to 5 days
– Can freeze (in a bag with as little air as possible), and just leave them on the counter to defrost
– Raw cookie dough can be frozen (again, with as little air as possible) and lasts in the freezer all semester, can defrost in fridge and then bake

Nuts
– Store in fridge or freezer to keep the oils from going bad

Photo Credits:
http://www.ecoaltenergy.com/images/offgrid/refrigerators/refrigerator-op…
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_zOE6zEbNKMM/TRfSt3ak32I/AAAAAAAAA1w/BPfh-2iTw2…
http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS4dxX2bHPuT1yPXaxwScWpp_u4ch-TB…

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