23 Food Storage Guidelines That Will Blow Your Mind

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If you’re like me, you’re constantly looking for ways to improve your approach to food storage. It could mean the quantity of items stored, how they are organized, what containers to use, how often to rotate, and more. Well, look no further! I’ve compiled a list of 23 food storage guidelines that will blow your mind. Who knew that watermelon could be stored for so long? Check out these tips and tricks and get started on improving your food storage today!

Food Storage Guidelines: The Basics

First and foremost, you want to make sure you are storing your food safely. If you are concerned about whether or not you are storing your food safely, be sure to check the FDA food storage guidelines. These food storage guidelines will help you steer clear of foodborne illnesses:

Refrigerate or Freeze Perishables ASAP

You want to put any foods that require refrigeration away as soon as you get home. If you can’t get them refrigerated right away, stick to the “2-hour rule.” So, never allow meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, or produce to sit at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.

Keep Your Refrigerator At The Right Temperature

Your refrigerator temperature should be at or below 40° F. And, your freezer temperature should be 0° F. Appliance thermometers are the best way to check your temperatures periodically to make sure the appliance is maintaining the temps you want. Sometimes the seals around the doors will get compromised due to something getting between the seal and the door jam. Sometimes the seals get brittle as they age, and then don’t truly “seal.” Sometimes the doors aren’t fully closed because the shelves are too full and keep the doors from closing tight.

I heard once that refrigerators and freezers are more efficient if the unit is kept more full since the contents help hold the temperature where it should be.

Marinate Food In The Refrigerator

If you’re going to marinate food, always do it in the refrigerator – never on the counter. Marinating food at room temperature can cause bacteria to grow.

Freezer Burn Doesn’t Mean It’s Bad

If you see a freezer burn on your food, it doesn’t mean that the food has gone bad. Freezer burn is simply the result of air coming into contact with food. While it may not be as aesthetically pleasing, freezer-burned food is still safe to eat. Simply cut off any freezer-burned portions before cooking or serving if you feel you need to.

Keep Foods Covered

You want to make sure you’re keeping foods covered in the fridge and in the freezer. This will help prevent possible cross-contamination and freezer burn.

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Always Check “Use By” Dates

Use by dates are there for a reason. Be sure to check the use-by dates on all of your food, and try not to eat anything past its expiration date. I know there is a lot of controversy over “Best Buy Date” and “Best If Used By Date”. You can decide for yourself what works for you and your family. You may have found some foods seem to be ok beyond those dates. I would certainly act on the side of caution. I have my own opinion. Let me leave it at that.

23 Food Storage Guidelines That Will Blow Your Mind

Food Storage Guidelines That Will Blow Your Mind

Now that you know the basics of food storage, check out these guidelines that will blow your mind!

Watermelon

Watermelon actually lasts longer at room temperature until it is cut. Then, you can wrap the cut watermelon in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator for about 2-weeks.

Keep Avocados at Room Temperature

Avocados will ripen faster if you store them at room temperature. Once they are ripe, you can store them in the fridge to help them last longer.

Ripen Fruit Faster by Putting It In A Paper Bag

You can ripen fruit faster by storing it in a closed paper bag. The ethylene gas that is released by the fruit will get trapped in the paper bag and speed up the ripening process.

Store Cheese In The Freezer

Cheese can actually be stored in the freezer for up to 2-months. Just be sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or foil to prevent freezer burn. If you freeze chunks of cheese, be aware it may crumble when you try cutting it, or at least it has for me. I only freeze shredded Parmesan, Mozzarella, Mexican blend, cheddar, and Swiss cheeses.

Bread

To keep bread fresh, store it in a cool, dry place. I use bread bags for my homemade bread. Please remember, homemade bread doesn’t have preservatives in it, so try making smaller loaves and freezing some loaves for later. Small One-Pound Bread Pans and Bread Bags with Ties.

Apples

Apples can last up to 6-months in the fridge. To help them last even longer, store them in the crisper drawer with a paper towel under them. This will help absorb any moisture that can cause the apples to spoil.

Real Maple Syrup

Real maple syrup can last up to 2-years if it is stored in the refrigerator. Real maple syrup has no preservatives and can become moldy after opening if it’s not chilled.

Garlic

Garlic is best stored at room temperature. In fact, it can be stored on the counter for 3-4 months. Individual cloves will last 10-days on the counter. You can also freeze garlic for even longer. My favorite garlic tool, Garlic Press/Slicer and Roller

Keep Potatoes Away From Onions

Potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark place. But, they should not be stored near onions because they can tend to make each other spoil faster.

Onions

Onions can last up to 2-months when they are stored in a cool, dry place. But, like potatoes, they should not be stored near other fruits and vegetables because they will make each other spoil faster.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes should not be stored in the fridge. In fact, storing them in the fridge can cause them to lose their flavor. Tomatoes are best stored at room temperature on the counter or in a pantry.

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Eggs

You can store eggs in the fridge for up to 2-weeks. But, you can also store them in the freezer for up to 1-year. Just be sure to crack them and mix them with a little water before freezing. How to Freeze Eggs: Everything You Need to Know

Butter Lasts Longer in the Fridge

Butter can last up to 2-months in the fridge. But, it will only last 1-month if it’s stored at room temperature. And, if you have a hot or humid kitchen, your butter could spoil within a few days, so it’s best kept chilled. You can also use a Butter Bell.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil can last up to 2-years without going bad. But, it will last even longer if you store it in the fridge.

Bananas

Bananas are best stored at room temperature on the counter or in a pantry until they become ripe. Once they are ripe with lots of spots, putting them in the refrigerator can help slow down the overripeness.

Honey

Honey can last indefinitely if it is stored properly. But, it will start to crystallize, so please store your honey in smaller containers, preferably mason jars. You can set the jars outside in the sun to naturally restore the honey back to its original state.

Nuts

Nuts can last for months, or even years, if they are stored properly. The best way to store nuts is in an airtight container in the freezer.

Berries

Berries will last longer if you store them in the fridge. But, they should be eaten within a few days for the best flavor.

Coffee

Coffee beans can last up to 2-years if they are stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Ground coffee will only last a few weeks because it has been more exposed to oxygen.

Tea

Loose-leaf tea can last up to 3-years if it is stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. But, tea bags will only last a few months because they are more exposed to oxygen.

Flour

To keep flour fresh, store it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. If you’re going to store it for more than a few months, you can also freeze it.

Sugar

Sugar can last indefinitely if it is stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Be sure to keep it somewhere that doesn’t get a lot of heat and humidity. Keep your sugar dry.

Dried Herbs and Spices

Most dried herbs and spices will only last 6 months to 1 year. But, some can last 2-3 years if they are stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

More Food Storage Information:

Final Word

These are just a few of the many food storage guidelines that you should follow to keep your food from going bad. By following these food storage guidelines, you can be sure that your food will stay fresh and delicious for as long as possible.

What are your favorite tips for storing food? Share them in the comments below! May God Bless this world, Linda

20 thoughts on “23 Food Storage Guidelines That Will Blow Your Mind

  • July 20, 2022 at 7:30 am
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    Thanks for the great article Linda! I know about most of these. I do want to freeze some eggs and the price of butter powder is crazy and prevents me from buying it. I would love to keep chickens but it’s not allowed in town – not yet anyway! I’m hoping that will change at some point soon.

    Also, do you store wheat or just flour? I would love to store wheat but don’t have a grinder and the price of those is prohibitive for me.

    Reply
    • July 20, 2022 at 8:19 am
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      Hi Paula, I store both, but I have a few wheat grinders and have been making white and whole wheat bread for over 50 years. I will not buy butter powder or powdered eggs right now. The prices are ridiculous. I live in Utah and store my wheat and white flour (nothing added to the buckets) in 5 to 6-gallon buckets with Gamma Lids. My wheat comes in 6-gallon buckets and I trade out the lids with Gamma lids. The price of wheat is out of control right now, unless you make whole wheat bread and have a wheat grinder, just wait. The prices will probably go up, I would concentrate on making bread with white flour or sourdough is even better. I have many posts on making white, whole wheat, and sourdough bread. Linda

      Reply
  • July 20, 2022 at 7:31 am
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    Those guidelines on eggs are for store bought because they are already months old by the time your get them.

    Do not refrigerate fresh eggs nor wash them until use. If they are dirty then rub it off with straw or hands. Change out the coop nesting bedding regularly to keep clean eggs.
    Water glassing will keep them for months and can get you through molt and winter.

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    • July 20, 2022 at 8:20 am
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      Hi Matt, great comment, thank you! You raise chickens and totally understand the fresh eggs. I love it, Linda

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  • July 20, 2022 at 8:54 am
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    Linda,

    Even store bought eggs will last a lot longer than two weeks in the fridge. They are usually about 3 weeks old by the time they get to the store.

    If you have chickens do not wash the bloom off the eggs. They will last for a month (easily) at room temperature and even longer if you refrigerate them. I’ve never done waterglassing because I’ve never needed to. Between short daylight hours in winter and molting my hens take off laying about two months a year and I always have so many eggs stored up that waterglassing or coating them with mineral oil wasn’t necessary.

    Decades ago in law school I learned most best by dates are determined by either the legal, marketing, or sales departments to get you to buy more frequently. This is especially true for canned goods as they are perfectly good for years after those dates–unless you see the can bulging or rusting or leaking. Even foods like flour or pasta can last for months longer is stored away from oxygen and humidity. I just used some four year old flour in my zucchini bread and it was fine.

    Oh, great tip on the paper towels under the apples in the fridge. I didn’t know that one and am grateful for the knowledge. And not just potatoes but most foods should be kept away from onions.

    I’ve tried repeatedly to ripen peaches or nectarines I bought in stores when they were hard as baseballs by putting them in paper bags and in my experience they tend to rot before the ripen. I’m glad I can grow my own and can the excess.

    Reply
    • July 20, 2022 at 9:21 am
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      Hi Ray, now I want to make some zucchini bread!! Great tip on the foil around the celery, I learn something new every day. You are blessed to have fresh fruit and fresh eggs. Of course, your garden is awesome too! Linda

      Reply
  • July 20, 2022 at 8:56 am
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    Linda,

    I forgot to say that celery wrapped in aluminum foil lasts a very long time in the fridge crisper drawer.

    Reply
  • July 20, 2022 at 10:19 am
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    I’m another who water-glasses eggs. However–while they’re fine for cooking, baking, scrambled eggs–don’t try to hard-boil them! I did (was going to make pickled eggs), but we ended up with LOTS of egg salad instead. Peeling them was worse than I’ve ever experienced!!

    Maple syrup–if you forget a jug in the fridge and find it’s “gone bad,” it may be possible to save it. Pour it through a wire strainer to get out the “mother,” then boil up the syrup. I wouldn’t try to re-store it very long, but hey, it’s a good excuse to enjoy it right away!

    Onions–mine (usually “Patterson” variety) are home raised, but I find they can last well into the following spring or early summer. I braid the stems and hang them in the dark, cool cellar. By summer, I do have to feel them over and check for ones that are sprouting, but most stay pretty good. (I do dice and slice some to freeze to tide me over until the current crop is ready.)

    Butter… In the words of an elderly mentor of mine (when someone questioned leaving butter on the counter because it would go bad)–“It won’t be there long enough to go bad if I’m around!”

    Garlic–I pickle my cooking garlic for long-term storage. Pack the peeled cloves into a jar, then pour in just-boiled white vinegar to cover, and cap (I use canning lids). They will last well over a year at room temperature (I do put the opened jar in the fridge). Just take out what you need and rinse them–no vinegar taste.

    Reply
    • July 20, 2022 at 10:36 am
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      Hi Rhonda, thank you for sharing about the hard-boiled eggs after water glassing, yikes! I learn something new every single day! Thanks for your tips about your onions, I will have to try that variety! Butter comment, I hear you, I love butter! LOL! I have never pickled garlic, I will try that! Linda

      Reply
  • July 20, 2022 at 10:43 am
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    Linda, when you freeze bread lay a paper towel along the side of the bread, wrap tightly, removing as much air as possible without squashing the bread. Thaw at room temperature and the paper towel will keep moisture evenly distributed. The bread will taste much fresher.

    Reply
    • July 20, 2022 at 1:31 pm
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      Hi Sue, oh I will try this next time, I make bread all the time. Here again, I learn something new every single day! Life is so good! Linda

      Reply
  • July 20, 2022 at 12:02 pm
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    Love all your great ideas. Here’s two more that work miracles:
    I usually buy avocados at Costco getting 5 at a time in a mesh bag. I sit them on the counter and check each one morning and night. As soon as one is ripe, I wash the outside of the avocado and place it in a picture of water in the refrigerator. I add the others a they ripen. 3 weeks later they are still perfectly ripe. I’ve also used this method on citrus fruits and it works just as well. I don’t know how long this would potentially work, three weeks is the longest I’ve had them stored before using.
    The other thing I do is to keep celery indefinitely- I wrap the bunch in a sheet of tin foil as soon as I get home from the market and pop it in my vegetable drawer in the refrigerator. A month later it’s just as crisp as the day I brought it home.

    Reply
    • July 20, 2022 at 1:38 pm
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      Hi Marilyn, oh my gosh, I just put some Costco avocados in the frig. I grabbed a ripe one and put it in water in the frig. Ray talked about the foil and celery, oh my gosh, I love this! This would be awesome!! Thank you, Linda

      Reply
    • July 20, 2022 at 2:54 pm
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      Marilyn, I wonder if this would work on limes? I drink alot of water with limes, but often they seem to go brown before I finish them.

      Reply
  • July 20, 2022 at 3:21 pm
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    Linda, When it comes to onions, I usually buy 2 – 8 quart baskets and then spend the afternoon dicing and freezing in 1 cup serving size plastic bags. ONE mess, ONE clean up. I also buy a gallon of baby pearl onions, peel them and freeze them for pot roasts. I do the same with celery…..dicing and freezing in quantity for soups, casseroles or stuffing. When the kids were home, we could pick and freeze 50 quarts of strawberries in one day. It makes for long days but easier winter meals.

    Reply
    • July 20, 2022 at 6:06 pm
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      Hi Chris, oh my gosh, the strawberries right now are so good! I need to look for those baby pearl onions, boy that would take patience to peel those little gems! I love frozen onions, I chopped and freeze a few, but I have never done an 8-quart basket! I love this! Linda

      Reply
  • July 20, 2022 at 3:36 pm
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    Linda:

    I buy block cheese when I can get it on sale at Albersons or Smiths. I freeze them until I have enough to grate in my food processor. Then I put in bags for my seal a meal and refreeze the cheese for using in meals. It is so much cheaper than buying already grated Cheese. Of course when the Grated cheese is on sale I buy what I can and mix in a bag so I have a great mix of cheeses in my bags I have bought enough cheese at times that I had enough for a year or more in the freezer.
    The only cheese I buy grated to mix in my grated cheese is 4 state Cheddar cheese. Can’t think of the name of the brand right now but we love it and it is well worth it when Alberstons has it on sale.

    Reply
    • July 20, 2022 at 6:11 pm
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      Hi Jackie, I love hearing this, isn’t it wonderful to know you have cheese available at all times??? I will have to try and freeze the chunks again, I think I’ve gotten lazy over the years. LOL! Linda

      Reply
  • July 20, 2022 at 10:10 pm
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    A lady on youtube actually experimented with several kinds of Avocados. The water storage is a myth and actually makes mushier avocados than just putting them in the fridge. I could not find that video but I did find two different news channels sharing how the FDA says do not store them in water in your fridge.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gd9c88y14-0

    Reply
    • July 21, 2022 at 7:38 am
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      Hi Brook, oh my gosh, thank you for sharing this video. My daughter and I tried it yesterday. We will stop after watching this. I have always wondered how restaurants serve the “perfect” avocado. We put them on the counter until we can see they are “ripe” and then place them in the frig. Thanks again for the heads-up on avocados!! Linda

      Reply

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