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The Shelf Life of Frozen Foods

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Food won't go bad in the freezer, but it will decrease in quality over time. Avoid freezer burn and other frozen food woes by only buying as much as you can use in a reasonable amount of time. The following chart lists the recommended freezing time for common foods:

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Food Shelf Life Resources
Meat and Seafood    
Bacon 1-2 months How to Package Meat for Freezing
Chicken or turkey, whole 1 year  
Chicken, pieces 9 months  
Chops (pork, veal, lamb) 4-12 months  
Fish 3-8 months  
Ground meats 3-4 months  
Ham 1-2 months  
Hot dogs 1-2 months  
Lunch Meat 3-4 months  
Organ meats 1-2 months  
Roast 4-12 months  
Sausage, smoked 1-2 months  
Sausage, uncooked 1-2 months  
Shellfish 3-12 months  
Steak 6-12 months  
Wild game, uncooked 8-12 months  
Dairy    
Butter 6-9 months How to Freeze Butter
Buttermilk 3 months  
Cheese, hard 6 months  
Cheese, shredded 2-3 months  
Egg substitute 12 months  
Eggs, shelled 12 months How to Freeze Eggs
Ice cream 2-4 months  
Milk 3 months  
Leftovers    
Broth 2-3 month  
Casseroles 2-3 months  
Chicken nuggets/patties 1-3 months  
Fish 3 months  
Gravy 2-3 month  
Meat or poultry 2-6 months  
Pasta 2 months  
Pizza 1-2 months  
Soups and stews 2-3 months  
Baked Goods    
Bread/rolls, unbaked 1 month  
Bread, baked 2-3 months  
Cake, baked (frosted) 1 month  
Cake, baked (unfrosted) 2-4 months  
Cookie dough 3 months  
Cookies, baked 6-12 months  
Pie, fruit (baked) 6-8 months  
Pie, fruit (unbaked) 2-4 months  
Pie, pumpkin 1-2 months  
Rolls, yeast 3-6 months  
Fruits and Vegetables 8-12 months  
Other    
Nuts, salted 6-8 months  
Nuts, unsalted 9-12 months How to Store Nuts
    ©Erin Huffstetler, Frugalliving.about.com

Sources: USDA, National Center for Food Preservation, Food Marketing Institute

See Also:

  1. About.com
  2. Money
  3. Frugal Living
  4. Food Savings
  5. Preserving Foods
  6. Freezing Foods
  7. The Shelf Life of Frozen Foods

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