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Publication #FCS8695

Healthy Eating: Food Storage Guide1

Linda B. Bobroff and Jennifer Hillan2

If you don't shop for groceries often, you may want to buy food that will last until your next trip to the store. The following storage guidelines for perishable foods will help you decide how much food to buy when you visit the grocery. Keep in mind that safe storage times depend on the condition of the food when you purchase it and your refrigerator temperature and humidity. Check foods often for any signs of spoilage.

Table 1. 

Storage guidelines for selected perishable foods

Fresh Fruit

1–2 days

Strawberries, raspberries, cherries

2–4 days

Apricots, bananas (room temperature), blueberries, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, melons (cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, etc.)

1–2 weeks

Grapes, citrus fruits, cranberries

3 weeks

Apples

Fresh Vegetables

1–2 days

Corn on the cob, greens (spinach, kale, collards, etc.)

2–3 days

Bok choy, mushrooms, okra, tomatoes (or until ripe; store at room temperature)

3–5 days

Asparagus, bell pepper, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cucumber, eggplant, peas, green onion, summer squash

1 week

Beans (snap or wax), celery, salad greens

1–2 weeks

Cabbage, beets, iceberg lettuce, radishes

2–3 weeks

Carrots, parsnips, rutabagas, turnips

3–4 weeks

Potatoes, sweet potatoes (store potatoes at room temperature)

Milk Products, Eggs, and Deli Meat

3–5 days

Sliced deli meat (once package is opened)

1 week

Milk, cottage cheese

1–2 weeks

Yogurt

3–4 weeks

Hard cheese

3–5 weeks

Eggs, fresh, in shell

Figure 1. 
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Tip: Store fruits and vegetables (except bananas, potatoes, and tomatoes) in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator, and keep your refrigerator at or below 40°F. Bananas, potatoes, and tomatoes store best at room temperature. It is best to store fruits separate from vegetables.

Figure 2. 
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Figure 3. 
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References

Food Marketing Institute. (2013). Food Keeper. Retrieved from http://www.fmi.org/consumer/foodkeeper/

Food and Drug Administration. (2013). Refrigerator & Freezer Storage Chart. Retrieved from http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/ucm109315.pdf

Footnotes

1.

This document is FCS8695, one of a series of the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension. First published: February 2005. Latest revision: October 2013. Please visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

First edition adapted by Jennifer Hillan, MSH, RD, LD/N, former ENAFS nutrition educator/trainer, from the USDA publication, Shopping for Food and Making Meals in Minutes Using the Dietary Guidelines. Subsequent revisions by Linda B. Bobroff, PhD, RD, LD/N, professor, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.