View Full Version : Food storage question- How long is too long?
08-13-2001, 08:35 PM
This is a little embarrassing to admit these pack-rat tendencies, but oh, well...
I am wondering about food safety for my upright freezer. It gets opened very infrequently, and quickly, and is packed full for top efficiency :) So, how long do you think it is safe to keep these items:
IQF chicken breasts
beef (steaks and ground sirloin)
The other question is about homemade jams, preserved with the hot water bath method. The flavor is raspberry, and the seals seem to be intact, very tight and "sucked down." But they are from 1998! I hate the thought of wasting the precious raspberry jam jars, especially since we picked the berries, and it's my favorite flavor. I don't know how we overlooked them, since we usually give them as gifts. Are they safe to eat? What if I open one, and know the seal was intact, and it looks fine? Part of me says "Food poisoning isn't worth this temptation," and the other part of me says "They look fine..."
Thanks in advance for any advice. I think I need to refer to the pantry inventory sites that were discussed a few months ago, so I can have a better grip on my supplies.
I've had the same dilema myself. There was an earlier thread in which several people said they had jams from 1999 they were still using. I think color is the first thing to go with jam, and I also think, but cannot tell you for sure, that the main spoilage problem with jam is likely to be molding. If the seal is tight, the color, smell and general appearance are all good, my guess would be it is probably okay.
08-13-2001, 11:20 PM
I agree with Beth about your raspberry jam dilemma. I would use it if the seals are tight and the jam doesn't look or smell like it has deteriorated.
As far as the stuff in your freezer, I once read that if the food stays frozen, it will never become unsafe to eat. Over time, however, the taste and texture will go downhill. My freezer recommends six months max for most meats, poultry, fruits and veggies, one month for ground meat and sausage, and three months for seafood, soups, stews, breads, cakes, pastries, and ice cream.
Here you go, ladies. Try this on for size:
08-14-2001, 07:26 AM
Okay, I hesitate to answer this, but feel I must dive in! I just came back from visiting my grandmother recently. She lives down in S. Indiana, so she does A LOT of canning and freezing. She has tons of "cans" of food down on the shelves in her basement, and I'd say if the seal is unbroken, and the food doesn't look and/or smell bad - go for it.
As far as the freezer goes, let me tell you that while there we had turtle soup that was 2-3 years old, bock sausage that was at least 5 years old, and blackberries that were 14 years old. That's right! 14 YEARS OLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :eek: Now, if she hadn't told me, I wouldn't have been able tell the difference, but I'm glad my husband wasn't there, because he's always kidding me about how long my grandmother stores food.
Now, I don't know why she has this stuff in her freezer for so long, because as I said, she does a lot of canning and freezing. Maybe she doesn't rotate her freezer foods, or maybe she and my grandfather just can't eat all the food that they garden every year. (He's 83 and she's 81).
So while I wouldn't recommend keeping your foods for 14 years, I'm here to say that even if it was (as long as it hadn't defrosted and refroze) you'll probably live. ;)
08-14-2001, 07:45 AM
I actually was thinking about this myself a couple of weeks ago (as I was about to use some ground beef that had been in my freezer for a while), and I looked at the USDA web site for their guidelines. They do have "suggestions" for how long certain meats should be in the freezer, but they say up front that these "guidelines" are for taste only -- the meat is still safe to eat, it just may get freezer burned or lose taste after a while.
As for cans -- I'm not sure. I thought eventually that some of the aluminum from the can could seep into the food. I usually through cans out that have been in my pantry for more than 1 1/2 years or so.
Check these links
08-16-2001, 02:11 PM
Good advice, funny anecdotes, helpful links...thanks, everyone! The 14 year old berries really got me smiling...I thought my four year old blueberries were something, but that now seems bush-league! :)
I think I'll go ahead and savor that raspberry jam.
08-17-2001, 07:53 PM
Originally posted by breadmama
...I thought my four year old blueberries were something, but that now seems bush-league! :)
Don't you mean BLUEBERRY bush-league?
Okay, okay ... Bad pun. I couldn't help it. It runs in the family! :D
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