Food Storage Tips by David Fhima

Food storage is a very serious business. Foods with proper storage keep longer and taste better, whether on a shelf, in a cupboard, or inside a refrigerator. With a few helpful tips, your foods can last longer, too.

Check out these useful tips about food storage to help preserve the items in your kitchen.

All-purpose flour

How to store/where: Unopened/opened: airtight container in cool, dry place

How long: 10 to 15 months

Comments: Heat and moisture accelerate staleness. When weather is hot or humid, keep flour in the freezer.

Whole wheat flour

How to store/where: Unopened/opened: airtight container in cool, dry place; fridge/freezer

How long: Cool, dry place or fridge: 1 to 2 months; freezer: 6 months

Comments: The oil in the bran quickly becomes rancid at room temperature.

Whole grains

How to store/where: Unopened/opened: airtight container in cool, dry place; fridge/freezer

How long: Cool, dry place: 2 to 3 months; fridge: 6 months; freezer: 1 year

Comments: The oil in the bran layer quickly becomes rancid at room temperature.

White rice

How to store/where: Unopened/opened: airtight container in cool, dry place; fridge/freezer

How long: Indefinitely

Brown rice

How to store/where: Unopened/opened: airtight container in cool, dry place; fridge/freezer

How long: Cool, dry place or fridge: up to 6 months; freezer: 1 year

Comments: The oil in the bran layer quickly becomes rancid at room temperature.

Pasta (dry)

How to store/where: Unopened/opened: airtight container in cool, dry place

How long: 1 year

Comments: After opening, transfer to an airtight container.

Bread crumbs

How to store/where: Unopened/opened: cool, dry place or refrigerator

How long: Cool, dry place: 3 to 6 months; refrigerator: 2 years

Comments: To keep flavor fresh, refrigerate after opening.

Coffee

How to store/where: Unopened/opened: airtight glass or ceramic containers in cool, dark place

How long: 1 to 2 weeks

Comments: Whole beans can be frozen in small amounts for up to a month; do not refreeze — the flavor will be affected.

Sugar (brown)

How to store/where: Unopened/opened: airtight container in a cool place

How long: 4 to 6 months

Comments: Brown sugar hardens when it dries out.

Sugar (granulated)

How to store/where: Unopened/opened: airtight container in a cool, dry place

How long: Indefinitely

Honey

How to store/where: Unopened/opened: cool, dark place

How long: Indefinitely

Comments: If honey has crystallized, place open jar in pan of simmering water; stir honey until crystals dissolve.

Maple syrup

How to store/where: Unopened/opened: refrigerator or freezer

How long: Refrigerator: 1 year; freezer: indefinitely

Comments: For optimal storage, buy in glass containers only; maple syrup is subject to mold, and glass helps prevent mold.

Vegetable oil

How to store/where: Unopened/opened: cool, dark place or refrigerator

How long: Cool, dark place: 3 months; refrigerator: 6 months

Comments: Refrigerated vegetable oil shouldn’t be left out; frequent temperature changes aren’t good for it.

Olive oil

How to store/where: Unopened/opened: cool, dark place

How long: 12 to 18 months

Comments: Olive oil solidifies if refrigerated, but this does not affect its flavor.

Vinegar

How to store/where: Unopened/opened: cool, dark place

How long: Unopened: indefinitely; opened: 6 months

Comments: Strain vinegar, with added ingredients such as herbs, into a clean bottle when vinegar level drops below ingredients.

Mayonnaise

How to store/where: Unopened: cool, dark place; opened: fridge

How long: Unopened: see use-by date; opened: 2 months

Comments: In refrigerator, store in door; the oil may separate if the jar is kept in colder parts of the fridge.

Soy sauce

How to store/where: Unopened: cool, dark place; opened: refrigerator

How long: 1 year

Comments: Can use for up to three years, but evaporation may darken the color and intensify the flavor.

Worcestershire sauce

How to store/where: Unopened/opened: cool, dark place;

How long: 12 years

Comments: Tastes better with age because liquid evaporates and flavor intensifies.

Salsa

How to store/where: Unopened: cool, dark place; opened: fridge

How long: Unopened: 1 year; opened: 2 weeks

Comments: To prevent contamination from bacteria, don’t dip food into the jar; spoon from jar to serve.

Paprika

How to store/where: Unopened/opened: airtight container in cool, dark place

How long: 1 year

Comments: Date the containers when you purchase them; refrigerate red spices (e.g., paprika), poppy, and sesame seeds.

Peanut butter

How to store/where: Unopened/opened: cool place, if processed; natural types must be refrigerated

How long: 6 months

Comments: Gets rancid when exposed to air or heat. To determine if it’s still fresh past the expiration date, smell and taste.

Eggs

How to store/where: In its original carton in main part of refrigerator (it’s not cold enough in the door)

How long: 3 to 5 weeks

Comments: If yolks and whites are separated, can be frozen up to a year.

Pre-grated cheese

How to store/where: Unopened/opened: refrigerator

How long: Unopened: check date on package; opened: 3 to 4 weeks

Potatoes

How to store/where: Cool, dark place; do not refrigerate: flavor will change

How long: 1 month

Comments: Don’t wash before storing; dampness can cause decay. Near heat and light, spuds develop a bitter flavor and last a week.

Onions

How to store/where: Cool, dry, well-ventilated place, such as a basket, away from direct sunlight

How long: 1 to 4 weeks

Comments: Refrigerate cut onions in tightly sealed container. If an onion has a strong odor before peeling, it may have a rotten layer.

Nuts

How to store/where: Unopened: room temperature; opened: refrigerator or freezer

How long: Unopened: 1 month; opened, in fridge or freezer: 2 to 3 months

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