How Long You Can Store Food In the Freezer

frozen foods stored in freezer
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Freezing food is one of the easiest forms of food preservation, but how long can you leave food in the freezer before it isn't good anymore?

The following lists will give you clear instructions for how long each type of food can be stored in the freezer before its quality starts to decline (think freezer burn). All of these times assume that you froze your food well-wrapped or in freezer containers or bags.

Note that these times only refer to how long your frozen food will still be of excellent quality when you finally get around to eating it: It's not a safety issue. Frozen food will safely keep in the freezer indefinitely. But its flavor and texture will be vastly better if you stick to these maximum storage times.

The links will take you to instructions for the best way to freeze each particular food (chopped, blanched, single layer freeze, etc.).

Frozen Vegetables

Note: Some vegetables, especially leafy greens, need to be blanched before they are frozen.

  • Commercially Frozen Vegetables: 1 year stored in original package
  • Asparagus: 1 year
  • Avocado: 5 months
  • Beets: 1 year
  • Bell & Sweet Peppers, Chile Peppers: 3 to 4 months
  • Broccoli: 1 year
  • Carrots: 1 year
  • Cauliflower: 1 year
  • Celery: 1 year
  • Corn: 8 months
  • Green or Wax Beans: 1 year
  • Leafy Greens: 8 months
  • Mushrooms (cooked): 1 year
  • Mushrooms (raw): 8 months. Note: Not all mushrooms freeze well raw. A few of the drier ones such as hen of the woods a.k.a. maitake do, but fungi with a higher moisture content are better sauteed before freezing.

Frozen Fruit

  • Commercially Frozen: 1 year
  • Apples: 4 months
  • Apricots: 6 months
  • Bananas: 8 months
  • Cherries: 6 months
  • Cranberries: 1 year
  • Peaches: 4 months
  • Fruit Juices: 1 year

Frozen Nuts

  • Nuts: 2 years

    Frozen Meat

    • Bacon & Pancetta: 3 months
    • Chops: 6 months
    • Ground Meats including Hamburger: 4 months
    • Ham: 2 months
    • Organ Meats (Liver, Kidneys, etc.): 4 months
    • Roasts: 1 year
    • Sausage: 3 months
    • Steaks: 8 months

    Frozen Poultry

    • Poultry, whole bird: 1 year
    • Poultry, raw pieces: 9 months
    • Poultry Giblets: 4 months
    • Poultry, cooked: 4 months

    Frozen Seafood

    • Fatty Fish (bluefish, mackerel, salmon): 3 months
    • Lean or White Fish (cod, flounder, haddock, sole): 6 months
    • Crab, cooked: 2 months
    • Crab, raw/live: 3 months
    • Crayfish, raw: 4 months
    • Lobster, cooked: 2 months
    • Lobster, raw/live: 3 months
    • Shellfish, cooked: 3 months
    • Shrimp, raw: 4 months
    • Squid, Octopus, Calamari, raw: 4 months

    Frozen Soup Stocks

    Frozen Beans and Grains

    • Beans, soaked but not cooked: 4 months
    • Beans, cooked: 6 months
    • Rice and Other Grains, cooked: 4 months

    Frozen Dairy

    • Butter: 9 months
    • Ice Cream, Sorbets: 2 months

    In theory, other kinds of dairy can be frozen, but ice cream and butter are the only ones that emerge from the freezer with their textures intact.

    Frozen Leftovers

    • Casseroles & Lasagna: 4 months
    • Chili: 6 months
    • Soups, Stews & Chowders: 6 months

    Frozen Breads and Baked Goods

    • Muffins & Quick Breads: 2 months
    • Pancakes & Waffles: 1 month
    • Tortillas: 3 months

    Frozen Pesto Sauces and Oils

    • Herbal Oils: 8 months
    • Pesto without Cheese: 8 months
    • Pesto with Cheese: 3 months