Advice From Mom: Mom Cleans Out the Refrigerator ...or... Safe Food Storage

by Rae Osenbaugh

Four years ago I made a decision: Thanksgiving would be here at my house....anyone in the family is welcome to come (it would be nice to let me know a few days ahead of time!), but I want to have it here. Now that the kids are moving away (remember our big wedding last June: Megan moved to Kentucky--that's a long way from Nebraska!), I'd like to have them all come home at least once a year!(sounds like a good time to do another family picture.

But, I'm getting away from my subject: cleaning out the refrigerator. If you are like me, you have a couple of Tupperware containers of "mystery food" tucked in the back corner of the 'fridge. How long has that been there? It's probably not edible any more: throw it out! After looking at my collection of old food and mystery containers I decided to look around for information on how long I can keep specific items in the refrigerator....and found this great list in Southern Living Cookbook---it was suggested by my friend, Natalie, on the Proverbs 31 e-mail discussion list. Here's to a clean and up-to-date refrigerator for all!

Safe Storage in the Refrigerator

Fruit 5-7 days
Jams and jellies 6 months
Mayonnaise 1-2 months
Meats 1-2 days
Pickles 2-3 months
Vegetables 2-3 days

Fresh beef, lamb, pork and veal
roasts 2-4 days
steaks and chops 3 days
ribs 2 days
Stew meat 2 days
Ground meat 1-2 days
Processed meats, after package is opened: Ham, whole and half 7 days
Bacon 5-7 days
Hotdogs 4-5 days
Lunch meat, sliced 3 days

FRESH FISH 1-2 days

POULTRY 1-2 days

Butter, margarine 1 month
Buttermilk 1-2 weeks
Cheese (opened)
hard: Cheddar,
Swiss 3-4 weeks
Parmesan, grated 1 year
Soft, cream and Neufchatel 2 weeks
Cottage cheese 5-7 days or package date Eggs 1 month
Half-and-half 7-10 days
Milk: Whole and skimmed 1 week
Sour cream 3-4 weeks
Whipping Cream 10 days

Rae writes on a variety of issues pertaining to making a house a home. If you have a question or suggestion email Rae at

Stay Connected with TDS

Live Better...for Less!

Subscribe to one or more
Dollar Stretcher newsletters
and receive member perks.

The Dollar Stretcher
Dollar Stretcher Parents
Dollar Stretcher Tips
After 50 Finances
Surviving Tough Times
Financial Independence
The Computer Lady

Join over 250,000 other subscribers who are "living better for less."

Your Email:

View the TDS Privacy Policy.

Get Out of Debt