Food storage is something that people have a lot of questions about. There are few hard and fast rules about storing food. Generally, items should be kept in airtight containers. Cured meats, such as bacon, luncheon meats and ham are not recommended for the freezer. While most milk products other than ice cream can't be frozen, fresh milk can be kept in the freezer for a month, and butter for up to two months.
Outdated products are not always dangerous, but kept-too-long food can have an off taste or lose its flavor and nutrients. Here are storage guidelines for optimum quality for popular foods.BEEF - Fresh: variety (heart, liver, etc.) 1 day in refrigerator; ground, 1 to 2 days; chops, steaks sausage, 2 to 3 days; roasts, 2 to 4 days.
Frozen: variety and sausage, 1 to 2 months; ground 2 to 3 months; chops, 6 to 9 months; roasts 6 to 12 months.
BREAD - Commercial bread can be frozen 2 to 3 months; home-baked yeast bread, one month.
BUTTER - Keeps in refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks.
CHEESE - Cottage cheese will keep 10 to 30 days in the refrigerator; opened cream cheese, 2 weeks; opened Swiss, brick, processed, etc., 3 to 4 weeks.
CHICKEN - 2 to 3 days in refrigerator; 12 months in freezer.
EGGS - In the shell and fresh, 4 to 5 weeks in the refrigerator; hard-boiled, 1 week. Do not freeze.
ICE CREAM - Not more than 2 to 4 months in the freezer.
LETTUCE - Unwashed head lettuce will keep 5 to 7 days in refrigerator crisper; wash and thoroughly drained, 3 to 5 days.
LUNCH MEATS - 4 to 6 days in refrigerator after opened.
MILK - 5 days in refrigerator.
PORK - Fresh: 2 to 3 days for chops, 1 to 2 for ground, 2 to 4 for roasts. Frozen: 1 to 2 months for ground, 2 to 3 for chops, 3 to 6 for roasts.
POTATOES - Store in a cool, dry place but not refrigerator.
RICE, WHITE - Up to 2 years, if kept tightly closed and in a cool, dry place.
VEGETABLES - Store-bought frozen vegetables can be kept up to 8 months in freezer; fresh vegetables 1 to 7 days in refrigerator.