Just How Long Can Food Last in the Freezer?
Food can last indefinitely in the freezer if the freezer is kept at 0 degrees. The quality of the food, taste and consistency, is what puts a time limit on freezer storage time. Freezer storage times vary depending on what type of food you are freezing.
Raw meats definitely maintain their quality the longest. Here are some average times:
- whole chicken – 1 year
- chicken pieces – 6 to 9 months
- fatty fish such as salmon – 2 to 3 months
- leaner fish such as cod or flounder – up to 6 months
- ground meat – 2 to 3 months
- roasts/steaks/chops – 6 months
Once the meat has been cooked or added into a dish, the freezer time reduces:
- cooked chicken – 4-6 months
- cooked fish – 3 months
- cooked ground meat – 2 to 3 months
- casseroles – 2 to 3 months
- soups and stews – 2 to 3 months
Fruits and vegetables can generally be kept frozen for 8 to 12 months without losing taste. Ice cream generally keeps 2 months without developing ice crystals.
Something to keep keep in mind when freezing food; freezing doesn’t kill bacteria, it only inactivates them until thawing. Make sure you reheat all food properly to ensure no bacteria growth.
What happens to your food in the freezer in the case of a power outage? In a full freezer, your frozen food should remain safe up to two days if the freezer door is kept shut. In a half full freezer, the safe time drops down to one day. If your freezer is only half full and you are worried about the food keeping, you can group foods together to help them stay frozen longer. You can also buy bags of ice to place around or on the food to help keep it frozen until the power turns on again.