Can I Keep It?

Can We Keep HimSo unlike the puppy that followed you home as a child, keeping leftovers in the fridge beyond their prime will make you sick and not just annoy your parents. Well, leftovers in the fridge may annoy your parents as well, but everyone has their own idiosyncrasies and it’s not for me to judge. So how long can you keep things lurking in your fridge? Sure, some things have convenient “best buy” dates written on them. Those are great as a suggestion, but you really should test that milk before tossing it. That date is the legal date that the store can no longer sell it by, and in fact may be fresh for several more days. Let your nose be your guide, but if you’re not 100% sure…. toss it! It is not worth a trip to the emergency room! Here’s a quick guide on how long (on average) some basic foods will last in the fridge:

The following foods will keep only 1 to 2 days in the refrigerator:

  • fresh (raw) ground meats and stew meats
  • gravy and meat broth
  • fresh poultry and fresh fish

These foods will keep 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator:

  • cooked meat and meat casseroles
  • cooked chicken and chicken casseroles
  • cooked fish and fish casseroles
  • pizza

The following will keep 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator:

  • opened packages of luncheon meats or deli meats
  • fresh meat steaks, chops and roasts

The following foods have longer refrigerator-storage times as indicated:

  • fresh eggs in shells — 3 to 5 weeks
  • hard-cooked eggs — 1 week
  • commercial mayonnaise after opening — 2 months
  • opened hard cheese (such as cheddar or Swiss) — 3 to 4 weeks
  • soft cheese (such as Brie or feta), cottage cheese, ricotta and milk — 1 week
  • yogourt — 1 to 2 weeks

*photo credit from the movie “Rainy with a Chance of Meatballs 2”