The 10 foods that expire in your fridge
If you get to the point where you're wondering if a food's still good, it's probably not, says Martin Bucknavage, senior food safety extension associate at Penn State University. Still, you may have some wiggle room. Here's when to eat--and when to toss--10 popular foods.
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1. Frozen Chicken
Bought a ton of chicken on sale? Store it in a freezer bag and keep it in a single layer so it gets rock-hard quickly. Make sure to squeeze out as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn, and use it all within a month or two. You can technically keep chicken in your freezer for up to 6 months, but the longer it's frozen, the more its taste and texture degrades.
Did you know Chicken sandwiches are generally healthier than chicken salads? Here's indisputable proof: The Worst Chicken Dishes in America.
2. Raw Chicken
It generally keeps 1 to 2 days in the fridge, but follow the expiration date listed on the package (and don't push it). If you know you won't eat it in that time, freeze it.
3. Deli Meat
Buy only what you need, because you only have about 3 days to eat it. You can keep deli meat for up to a week, but that's the absolute max--some meats may start to get slimy from growing bacteria at that time. You're a little better off with dried or cured meats like salami, which can leg it out up to 7 days because of preservatives.
A week is still safe, though at that time, ingredients may start to separate. (Taste and quality decline with each passing day.) Ideally, you want to eat them within 2 to 4 days. And make sure your fridge is set 35 to 36 degrees, since warmer temps encourage spoilage.
5. Frozen Bread/Bagels
You can store them for a few months in the freezer, but here's the thing: Bread may dry out and accumulate freezer odors in about 2 to 3 weeks, which will sacrifice taste. So eat within weeks, not months.
Grounds pick up moisture easily, making them a magnet for sucking up odors and flavors of other foods, whether stored in the fridge or freezer. For that reason, buy a week or two's supply of coffee (versus a whole giant can) at a time and store in an airtight container in a cool dark place. Whole beans last 1 to 3 weeks in your pantry.
(Heard those other myths about your favorite a.m. staple? Men's Health debunks them in The Truth About Coffee.)
7. Chicken or Beef Broth
That recipe called for a half-cup of broth, so now you're stuck with the rest. If the broth was canned, pour it into another container, refrigerate, and use it up in a few days.
You've got some wiggle room after the sell-by date by about 2 to 3 weeks. Five weeks is your max. The sell-by date is actually a guide for sellers for how long to keep the eggs on shelves, which is why eaters can ignore it. Store them in the container in the coldest part of the fridge--not the door where they're subject to temperature fluctuations.
9. Canned Tomatoes
It's best to use the entire can all at once. That said, canned tomatoes can stick around in your fridge for a few days. Just don't store them in the can after opening them--transfer them to another airtight container.