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Refrigerators come to our rescue especially during the hot summer months when everything turns to mush all too soon, but how long does food last in the refrigerator? And more importantly how long before one is supposed to pitch it out? Now those are questions, which often go unheeded.
To not let anything go to waste, most people hang on to what’s stored in the fridge till they’ve seen the end of it. While refrigerators were made to safely preserve food and make them last longer, there are certain foods that need to be tossed out when the time calls for it. If you’re absolutely clueless about it, here are some recommendations on what is safe to eat and for how long.
Safety Limits for Food Storage in Refrigerator
Raw meat like beef, lamb and pork freshly bought can be refrigerated for 3 – 5 days provided fridge temperatures for food safety is set at 5C or below. They can further be frozen up to four months, however, once cooked it is safe to store them for 3 – 4 days beyond which it’s no longer considered safe for consumption.
Raw eggs can safely be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 weeks. It’s recommended to keep them in the egg carton in the centre of the fridge rather than placing them in their respective egg trays for better storage.
Opened milk should be stored in a plastic container or bottle rather than its cardboard container or plastic packaging as this invites bacteria. It usually stays fresh for 5 to 7 days once opened. It’s not advisable to store milk that has exceeded its expiry date.
Opened cheese in its plastic wrapping is good for 3 to 4 weeks whilst unopened blocks and slices remain fresh even after six months. If a slight mold on the edge of the block develops, no need to discard it. Just cut off that portion, for it’s still safe to consume.
Fruits and Vegetables
How to store food in a refrigerator when it comes to fruits and vegetables? If stored separately and placed loosely in the fridge they tend to last longer, and 2 to 4 days is ideal. Keeping them in bags or containers is not advisable as it tends to accumulate moisture that spoils the fruits and vegetables.
Canned food like luncheon meat, sardines and baked beans generally have a long shelf life and can last even longer if unopened. Once opened they should be transferred to either a plastic or glass container before being refrigerated and should be consumed within 3 to 4 days of refrigeration.
When it comes to leftovers the question is how long does the food last in the refrigerator? Any leftover food should be stored in airtight containers or wraps and consumed within 3 to 4 days of refrigeration. A day longer and it becomes unsafe and certainly not healthy.
While most items of consumption require proper storage, there is the question of what foods should not be refrigerated. Potatoes, onions, ginger, garlic, hot sauces and even bread are best stored in the pantry. Adhering to these safety limits for storage of refrigerated foods will ensure food is kept from spoiling.