Consumer Articles

Guidelines for the Storage of Frozen Foods

Date: May 19, 2009

No matter which type of frozen food you have purchased, for best results, it should remain frozen. This means the frozen food aisle should be the last stop during your grocery shopping trip. It is best to pack frozen foods together to help maintain their cold temperature. Return home promptly with frozen foods, and place in the freezer.
Other important storage guidelines to remember:

  • Maintain proper freezer temperature -- no higher than 0° F. Use a refrigerator/freezer thermometer to verify setting.
  • Rotate and clearly date your frozen foods -- first in, first out.
  • Arrange the contents of your freezer in an orderly way. Store baked goods in one section, meat and fish in another, etc.
  • Thaw with care, preferably at refrigerated temperatures less than 40°F., less ideally under running water no warmer than 70°F.
  • Do not refreeze thawed frozen foods, for safety and quality reasons.
  • Keep your freezer clean to prevent transfer of off-tastes and odors.
  • Have sufficient storage space so that refrigerated air can circulate around the food.

Frozen Food Storage Times

Refer to the chart for some shelf-life guidelines from the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association for storing frozen foods in home freezers.

For maximum storage life, the freezer should be set at 0°F
 

ITEM

MAX.
STORAGE
TIME

Beef Roasts

12 months

Steak

12 months

Fruit Juice Concentrate

12 months

Lamb Roasts

12 months

Whole Chickens, Turkeys

12 months

Fresh Shrimp

12 months

Chicken, Turkey Parts

12 months

Fresh Pork Roasts

8 months

Unbaked Berry, Apple Pie

8 months

Veal Roasts

8 months

Asparagus, Beans, Peas

8 months

Cauliflower, Corn, Spinach

8 months

Cooked Chicken, Sliced

6 months

Pound Cake

6 months

Veal Chops, Cutlets

4 months

Fried Chicken

4 months

Cooked Shrimp Creole

3 months

Lamb Patties

3 months

Cooked Meats

3 months

Chicken Livers

3 months

Bread, Rolls

3 months

Ground Beef

3 months

Perch Fillets

2 months

Pork Sausage, Cured Pork

2 months

Bacon

1 month

Ice Cream, Sherbet

1 month