I don’t know why, but I always assumed that if you freeze something, it’ll basically stay good forever. Of course, I’ve pulled a few items out of the freezer that have freezer burn or that are very clearly no longer good to eat, but there are several items in my freezer right now that I know have been in there far too long.
In fact, the Good Housekeeping Institute just released a new set of guidelines for how long certain foods will actually stay good in your freezer, and let’s just say I have some cleaning to do when I get home today.
Beef and Chicken
According to the Good Housekeeping Institute, beef and chicken will last in your freezer for about 4-6 months– so that big bag of frozen chicken breast you bought in bulk a year ago? It’s gotta go.
I always keep frozen fruit and veggies in stock for smoothies, but there are a few bags that I know need the toss! Fruit will stay good for about 6-8 months when frozen.
Frozen veggies will last a little longer than fruit– they have a frozen shelf life of about 10-12 months.
Not that I’ve ever struggled to eat ice cream before it went bad, but it’s important to note that ice cream is only good for 3-4 months in the freezer.
If you have trouble remembering how old certain items are, you can label them when you first stick them in the freezer, and live by the FIFO method: First in, first out. Keep the items you’ve had the longest in the front of the freezer and keep newer items near the back.