Storing and Freezing

Pantry Items

Baking Powder and Baking Soda: Keep it well sealed, for up to 6 months

Bread Crumbs: Store in the pantry for 6 months, or in refrigerator for up to 2 years.

Chocolates: Wrap chocolate tightly in plastic and store in a cool pantry, not the refrigerator or freezer. Unsweetened and dark chocolates will store up to 2 years and milk and white for up to 6 months.

Flours:

All Purpose: Keep in an air-tight container to protect from moisture. Will keep for 1 year

Whole Wheat and Cornmeal: Do not store in pantry, it can go rancid in as little as 3 months. Place in airtight containers in the freezer. They will last 1 year in the freezer.

Honey: It will last indefinitely, if crystallized, place opened jar in bowl of hot water, stir until crystals dissolve.

Hot Pepper Sauce: After opened, store at room temperature for 3 months or refrigerate for longer storage.

Maple Syrup: Should be refrigerated, and can be frozen. Store in glass containers only. It may last 2 years unopened, and 1 year once opened.

Molasses: Keep in pantry, it will last several years.

Olive Oil: Keep in a cool, dark place for 6 months. It can become rancid if becomes warm.

Pancake Syrup: Will keep up to 9 months, after that, it can become thin and flavor will weaken. It can be refrigerated.

Peanut Butter: Unopened, it  will last for a year, refrigerate after opening to avoid become rancid.

Soy Sauce: Unopened, it will last one year. Once opened and refrigerated, it will last another year. Refrigerate if it is unpasteurized.

Spices and Dried Herbs: Keep in light-proof containers in a cool, dry place up to one year.  Store red spices (paprika, red pepper), poppy seeds, and sesame seeds in the freezer. To test, crumble small amount of dried herb between fingers and smell. If there is no lively aroma, it is past its peak. When possible, buy herbs whole and grind as needed, the life of the spice will be further extended.

Sugar:

Granulated: Store in an airtight container to protect from heat, moisture and critters. You may store it indefinitely.

Powdered: Store covered, in cool, dry area, and never in the refrigerator. It can absorb strong smells.

Brown: Store covered in a cool, moist area. It will store indefinitely, but best to be used within 6 months.  It may be frozen if you live in a arid climate or plan to keep it for a long time.

Oils

Vegetable Oil: Store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year, for 6 months once opened.

Olive Oil: Store in a dark pantry, away from heat. It will keep for 1 year, and 3 months once opened.

**Keep canola, corn, peanut and vegetable oils in the pantry. Keep walnut and sesame in the refrigerator.

Vanilla Extract: Keep in a tightly sealed container away from light and heat. It is very long lasting (even as long as 10 years).

Vinegars: Unopened, it will last indefinitely, sediment may appear, just strain off; it is not harmful.

Yeast: Should be refrigerated, or frozen. Observe the expiration date on the container.


Storing Fresh Herbs

  • Buy in small quantities as needed since they are highly perishable. To store for a few days, immerse roots or freshly cut stems in about 2″ of water.Then cover leaves with paper towels or a plastic bag and refrigerate.
  • To dry fresh herbs (best for sturdy ones like rosemary and thyme), rinse lightly and pat dry with paper towels. Hang herbs upside-down by the stem in a warm, dry place out of bright light until leaves become brittle. This will take anywhere from a few days to a week. Pick off the leaves and discard stems, store in a tightly covered container in a cool, dry place.
  • To freeze herbs, rinse lightly and pat dry, remove stems and place in plastic containers or bags. They will darken in color, but the taste will not be affected. There is no need to thaw herbs, just add directly to the food  you are cooking. Alternately, you can place a few leaves in ice cube trays and cover with water. Simple add the cube to simmering soups or sauces.

Refrigerator and Freezer Storage Guide

Raw poultry, fish and meat in small pieces

  • 2-3 days in refrigerator
  • 3-6 months in freezer

Raw ground meat or poultry

  • 1-2 days in refrigerator
  • 3 months in freezer

Cooked whole roasts or whole poultry

  • 2-3 days in refrigerator
  • 9 months in freezer

Cooked poultry pieces

  • 1-2 days in refrigerator
  • 1 month or 6 months in broth or gravy in freezer

Bread

  • 3 months in freezer

Butter

  • Use within one month, or freeze airtight for up to 4 months

Eggs

  • Keep in the carton, not in an egg tray or in the refrigerator door. Check eggs for freshness by smelling, may store up to 3-5 weeks.

Ice Cream

  • 1-2 months in freezer

Soups and Stews

  • 2-3 days in refrigerator
  • 1-3 months in freezer

Casseroles

  • 2-3 days in refrigerator
  • 2-4 weeks in freezer

Cookies

  • 6-8 months in freezer

Freezing Tips

  • Freezing will help foods retain their color, texture and nutrients better than foods preserved by other methods.
  • Freezer temperature should be set to 0° F. Higher temps will draw moisture from foods, resulting in loss of texture and taste.
  • Don’t overload your freezer. There should be no more than 2 lbs of food for every cubic foot. This can cause temperature changes that may damage foods.
  • Seal foods in air tight containers or wrap them tightly in something intended for freezer storage, this will avoid ice crystals, color or texture changes or freezer burn.
  • Small “piece” foods such as drop cookies keep best when “tray” or “dry” frozen. Freeze on sheet tray until set, then transfer to an airtight, Ziplock bag.
  • Liquids and semi-liquids must be stored in leak-proof containers, leave space for expansion of liquid during freezing process. Leave up to 3/4″ for a pint and 1 1/2″ for a quart.
  • Don’t freeze raw vegetables unless blanching first, they will loose crispness. Fried foods will become soggy when frozen. Avoid freezing soft cheeses, mayonnaise, sour cream, custard and pumpkin pies, they will become watery and may separate.
  • Prepare foods immediately after thawing, bacteria growth is rapid when left at room temperature. It is best to thaw inside the refrigerator.