How long does food stay fresh in the fridge?
How often do you grab something a food of the fridge and wonder if is still safe to eat? Does an expiration date matter after you have opened the packaging?
I pondered these questions last week after I took a bottle of mustard from my refrigerator. Being a thrifty (read cheap) person, I didn't want to throw out the mustard if it was still good.
I researched the this and I no longer have to wonder no more how long refrigerated food is safe to eat.
This is an alphabetical list of some commonly refrigerated condiments and food.
If eggs are stored on a shelf in the interior of the refrigerator, they will be edible for 30 to 40 days.The shelf is a better place to store eggs then the door because the temperature stays cooler and more constant in the interior of the fridge.
If eggs are not kept in the carton, you can still check if they are fresh. Place one in a deep bowl filled with water. A good egg will lay on the bottom of the bowl. A stale one will raise up vertically because as an egg gets older air begins to seep in through the shell.
Fish and shellfish
Clams, mussels, fish and shrimp should not be refrigerated longer then two days. Bacteria grows quickly in seafood.
If you store your canned tuna or cooked fish tin a plastic airtight container, it will be good for four days.
Fish that has been properly smoked can be refrigerated for two weeks.
The FDA's guidelines suggest disposing of ham after it has been in the fridge for five days.
If you are really tired of ham sandwiches and other leftovers after a huge holiday meal, just put the ham in a plastic bag and throw it in your freezer.
Ketchup and BBQ sauces
Most people who can salsa or tomato sauce at home know that the acidity of tomatoes helps preserve tomato sauces.
Barbecue sauce and ketchup will still be edible up to four months after you have opened it if it is stored in the refrigerator.
Hot dogs and sandwich meats
If you made hotdogs or sandwiches last week and then put the leftovers in the fridge, it is time to toss them out. After opening the package most of these meats keep for only seven days.
These meats will still be edible for two weeks if the original package is not opened. If you are not going to use the sandwich meat or hotdogs within a day or two, store them in the freezer.
Gone are the days of worrying about spoiled mayonnaise. The eggs used to make store bought mayonnaise have been pasteurized, making the refrigerated mayo safe to eat for two months after opening.
If you make your own mayonnaise with unpasteurized eggs, you only have three days before it spoils if it is kept in the refrigerator. If making sandwiches with homemade mayonnaise, keep them refrigerated until eating.
My mustard doesn't need to be trashed for a few more months. It keeps for a year after it has been opened if it is properly refrigerated.
Mustard that has spoiled will smell rancid and it will become a brownish-gray color.
Pickles that are in a vinegar brine last for one year - unless people stick their unwashed hands into the jar to snag one.
Toss the whole jar if the pickles grow mold, smell bad or become mushy.
Relish is another food with long shelf life in the fridge. Slather it on your hotdogs and brats worry free for up to a year after opening.
If the smell or color becomes unpleasant, toss the relish into the garbage.
Since I am not a frequent salad eater, my salad dressing can sit in my fridge without being used for months. It is a good thing both the creamy and vinaigrette dressing keep for nine months after being opened.
Unopened soy sauce will last indefinitely. Once opened it will stay edible for two or three years if stored in a low-humidity cool space, preferably the refrigerator.
If a mold forms in the bottle, toss it.
I have always refrigerated my Worcestershire sauce so it surprised me that many people don't. I was needlessly worried.
Though refrigerating Worcestershire sauce slows the growth rate of bacteria, it isn't necessary to keep the sauce safe.
Worcestershire sauce is a stable product and it can last at room temperature for a long time.Keep it in a cool area away from excessive heat and humidity.
When the sauce gets old, it will start tasting and smelling odd. It will still be safe, but you probably won't want to eat it. If a mold starts growing in it, toss it in the trash.
Microbes in your food
© 2014 Gable Rhoads
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on October 08, 2015:
This is an interesting hub. I recent thrown out 3 salad dressings--two viniagrettes--since they expired in June. This is useful and good to know.
Gable Rhoads (author) from North Dakota on March 14, 2014:
Me too. I was surprised about the pickles. I don't think I've ever kept them in the fridge that long.
mylindaelliott from Louisiana on March 13, 2014:
Good hub. I like you am thrifty and don't want to throw any of those things away before I need to do it.
Gable Rhoads (author) from North Dakota on March 12, 2014:
Thank you prestonandkate. I wonder if these foods can really make you sick or if they will just taste bad. Hmmm....
Preston and Kate from the Midwest on March 11, 2014:
Great hub. The title of your hub grabbed me since I've pondered how long these condiments last. Just last week, I took a bottle of salad dressing out that had expired and told my guest it was up to them whether or not they wanted to use it. Thanks for posting! -Kate
Gable Rhoads (author) from North Dakota on March 11, 2014:
Thanks kidscrafts. :)
kidscrafts from Ottawa, Canada on March 11, 2014:
Interesting hub about everyday food that we might find in our fridge! Thank you for sharing!