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Food storage tips and storage times

Storing your food properly is one of the easiest ways for your household to save money. Get your food storage right and you could reduce the average $2000 a year that Victorian’s spend on the food they throw away.

Your fridge

Try to

  • Keep all ready-to-eat foods visible and in your line of sight.
  • Use clear airtight containers to store your leftovers.
  • Stack upwards rather than pushing items backwards.
  • Store ready to eat foods above raw foods.

Try not to

  • Overpack your fridge. Your fridge has to work harder to keep your food cold and it’s easy to lose track of what you already have.
  • Store potatoes, onions or tomatoes somewhere cool and dry, away from direct sunlight.
  • Put ripened fruit in the fridge, store in airtight containers away from your vegies so they don’t shorten the lifespan of your crisper items

Your freezer

Try to

  • Freeze excess foods (such as bread, cakes and cheeses) or liquids (such as pasta sauce and stock).
  • Label the date you freeze your leftovers and consume within 3 months for best condition, refer to the Shelf Life Tips sheet for more detailed information.
  • Store in airtight containers or thick freezer bags to prevent dehydration and freezer burn.
  • Freeze foods in the amounts you'll defrost and serve them in.

Try not to

  • Overpack your freezer
  • Put hot foods directly into your freezer. Cool foods in your fridge first, then transfer to the freezer.
  • Eat foods which may have defrosted and refrozen in your freezer - this is a serious food safety hazard.

Your pantry

Try to

  • Store dry goods in clear, airtight containers
  • Know the difference between 'best before' and 'use by' dates. While foods shouldn't be consumed after a 'use by' date, a 'best before' date is simply an indication of when a food is at its best. Many dried and packaged goods are still fine to eat after this time. The only items you can't eat after their best before date are eggs. 

Try not to

  • Store opened goods in their original packaging where they might be susceptible to weevils. Otherwise, ensure you seal the packaging to keep it airtight.

Shelf life tips

Knowing how long food stays fresh is a great way to reduce your household food waste.

Remember to always check the ‘best before’ or ‘use-by’ date before deciding what to do with your food. Foods with a ‘use-by’ date should not be eaten after that date has passed. A ‘best before’ date is simply an indication of when a food is at its best and foods can still be consumed after this date.

Food

Fridge

Freezer

Pantry

Bread   7 days 3 months 4 – 6 days
Milk  7 – 10 days 3 months  
Fruit  7 days 3 months 1 week
Vegetables  7 days  12 months  
Potatoes & onions  3 months   No 1 – 2 weeks
Fresh herbs 6 days    
Beef  2 days  8 months  
Chicken  2 days  9 months  
Pork  2 days  6 months  
Lamb 2 days  12 months  
Fish & seafood  2 – 3 days  3-6 months  
Deli meat  4 days    
Eggs  1 month  1 year with prep*  
Yoghurt 14 days    
Cheeses  14 days  6 months  
Butter  3 months 9 months  
Cooked rice  2 days  3 weeks  
Cooked pasta  3 days    

Remove shell before freezing. Beat just until blended, pour into freezer containers, seal tightly, label with the number of eggs and the date, and freeze.

Fruit and vegetable smart storage guide

Reduce waste by getting your food storage right. Follow this guide to keep your fruit and vegetables fresh and tasty. Remember don’t wash your produce until just before you use it.

Fruit and vegetable smart storage guide (PDF, 270.96KB)

Fruit and vegetable smart storage guide (DOCX, 435.64KB)

Nuts being stored in containers