No matter if you are a prepper or not, you should still know what foods can you keep for a longer time in the fridge without spoiling, this way you do not waste the food and your money. Most people tend to buy their food in bulk once a week, although for the most part this is a good idea, but some food items will go bad even before you have tasted them. After you have bought your week’s supply of food, you will most likely forget what you have actually bought.
The foods that last a long time in the fridge are beets 2-3 weeks, carrots 2-4 weeks, citrus fruits 1-3 weeks, cabbages 2-4 weeks, pre cooked meats 2-6 weeks, fresh bacon 1-3 weeks, smoked meats 2-8 weeks, eggs 2-4 weeks, dry cheese 2-8 weeks, fruits 1-2 weeks, margarine 4-12 weeks, bread 1-2 weeks, nuts 4-12 weeks, and potatoes 4-12 weeks.
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A lot of people will buy what they need plus what they feel like eating that day, without thinking how long these foods will last in the fridge. If you open your fridge door and you smell something nasty coming out of the fridge then some of your food items have gone bad. Throwing food out when it goes bad is a good idea, the problem is that some food items will be contaminated in your fridge as well, which will accelerate their decay.
If you want to live as frugally as possible then you should focus on having food items that have a long shelflife in the fridge. You can get a couple of items which have a shorter shelf life in the fridge but you should eat them first. The good news is that you can extend how long different types of foods last in your fridge and you can do that by storing them correctly. For storing food in your fridge you can use plastic containers and zip-lock bags as well.
By storing your food items correctly in the fridge you will extend their shelf life and you will no longer have a nasty smell coming out of your fridge if one of the food items has gone bad. Even if the fridge is fairly cold, most food items will still decay and the fridge will only slow down their decay. Even if you use food items that last a long time in the fridge you should still put them in plastic containers or zip lock bags, this way the spoiled food will not make all your food items smell like something is rotting in your fridge.
As a general rule you should not wash or rinse fruits and vegetables before you place them in the fridge, most of them are sprayed with preservatives which extend their shelf life, and the water will wash down the preservatives and once the fruit absorbs the water it will start to decay in a couple of weeks. If you want to know what types of food last for a long time, even without refrigeration then check out my recent article Food that last for 25 years ( Top 37 ).
Beets 2-3 weeks
Although not the most delicious food items in this list but beets tend to last fairly long in the fridge. Just keep in mind that you should put them in a zip lock bag or plastic container and this way they will last for several weeks in the fridge. One tell-tale sign that the beets have gone bad is that they will have fluid coming out of them, and at that point, you have to throw them away. Make sure you get healthy beats, without any signs of damage, as these will last longer in the fridge. If you often eat canned foods and you want to prolong their shelf life then check out my recent article How to store canned food after opening? ( Safe and Easy ).
Carrots 2-4 weeks
If you store your carrots in plastic containers than they can last for even a month in the fridge. Carrots tend to turn into a soft mush after a couple of months even in the fridge, so try to see if they are soft or hard from time to time. If you find that they are starting to get soft, then taste the carrots and if the taste is good then you can use them for cooking. Once a carrot starts to become soft it is only a matter of time until it will turn into mush.
Citrus fruits 1-3 weeks
Citrus fruits are jam-packed with vitamin E and antioxidants which prolong their shelf life even in the fridge. The problem is that most people just place their citrus fruits in the fridge and forget about them. After the first week, the exterior of the citrus fruits will harden and the fruit will start to dehydrate and spoil. On the other hand, if the fridge is a humid environment than the citrus fruits will turn brown and rot after a while.
Make sure to wipe your citrus fruits with a dry towel, this way you eliminate most of the water on its surface. Once they are clean just place them into a zip lock bag, and you will find that even after several weeks their shell isn’t hard or brown.
Cabbages 2-4 weeks
Cabbages tend to last a fairly long time in the fridge, although some people put their cabbages in the freezer, but in my experience, the cabbages turn into mush if it has been previously frozen. Shake the cabbage on top of your sink a couple of times, sometimes there could be insects between the leaves, but do not actually wash the cabbage with water, instead wipe it clean with a clean towel, place it in a zip lock bag, and put it in the fridge.
Pre-cooked meats 2-6 weeks
Generally speaking, pre-cooked meats will last for a long time in the fridge, especially if they are some kind of dry meat. Usually, these pre-cooked meats are already packed in an airtight bag, and for the most part, they are also sprinkled with preservatives. For as how long will they stay fresh in the fridge will depend on what kind of brand you are using, just make sure that when you are buying the pre-cooked meat that it doesn’t have a visible liquid inside the package, as this is the first sign of them going bad.
Fresh Bacon 1-3 weeks
Fresh bacon tends to be placed into a salt bath during processing although this is not the case for every brand. Fresh bacon which doesn’t have any added salt content will last around a week, but the ones which are fairly dry will last a lot longer. You should definitely place the fresh bacon in a zip lock bag, this way if it starts to spoil the bag will trap its smell and it will not make your entire fridge smell like rotten meat.
Smoked meats 2-8 weeks
Smoked meats will last for a fairly long time in the fridge, these tend to be salted and smoked which will make it difficult for the bacteria to use it as a food source. On certain occasions, you will find a thin layer of mold forming on the smoked meats if you have not placed them into a zip lock bag. The biggest factor which will increase the process of the smoked meat going bad is the humidity, every time you open and close your fridge door there will be small water particles forming on the meat and on the sides of the fridge, this is why you have to place them into a zip lock bag.
Eggs 2-4 weeks
Eggs will last around 2-4 weeks in your fridge without any problem, but this is one of those foods that you should not place into a zip lock bag. The eggs need oxygen to be preserved for a long time and if you place them in a zip lock bag you will only accelerate their decay. Use the egg tray in your fridge or store them in their cardboard packaging, don’t place them into a bowl as if one of them cracks it will lower the shelf life of every egg in the bowl.
Dry cheese 2-8 weeks
Dry cheeses have a long shelflife, for some of them like the Parmesan you could extend their shelf life for several months in your fridge. The biggest factor which determines how long will they stay fresh is the humidity, so make sure to place them into zip lock bags, and every type of dry cheese has to be in a separate zip lock bag. The reason why they need to be placed separately is because all dry cheeses have different times of decay, and the last thing you want is one of them go bad and contaminate the others as well.
Fruits 1-2 weeks
Generally speaking, most fruits will last around 1-2 weeks in your fridge, the trick is to place them into zip lock bags and not washing them before. If you wash the fruits before you place them into your fridge you will only accelerate the rate of which it decays. Most fruits will start to ripen in the fridge, so if you get some green fruits you can have them last even longer in your fridge.
Margarine 4-12 weeks
I know you can’t believe it is not butter but margarine has a fairly long shelf life and it will not lose its taste even after several weeks. You should definitely place the margarine in a plastic container as this contains a lot of water, which might accelerate the rate of decay of your other foods in the fridge.
Bread 1-2 weeks
Most people do not keep their bread in the fridge, but you can extend its shelf life by simply placing it in the fridge, just make sure you place the bread into an airtight bag. Do note that I am talking about real bread, and not the sugary foam which a lot of people confuse with bread, this has an even longer shelf life as it is mostly made of chemicals.
Nuts 4-12 weeks
Generally speaking nuts do not need to be kept in the fridge as they tend to have a fairly long shelf life, although some nuts will go rancid after a while. If you put the nuts into the fridge then you will extend their shelf life even longer. just make sure you place them into zip lock bags.
Potatoes 4-12 weeks
Potatoes tend to last for a long time even if you do not place them in your fridge, the problem is that most potatoes will sprout after a couple of weeks, which will make them have a bitter taste. If you are using potatoes frequently for cooking then grab a couple of them, place them in a zip lock bag and store them in the fridge. Generally speaking, unpeeled potatoes will last the longest, in your fridge. If you have sprouted potatoes than you can still use them, for more information check out my recent article What to do with sprouted potatoes? ( Top 8 Uses ).
As you can see there are plenty of foods that last relatively long in a fridge, if you store your food items correctly then you will extend their shelf life for an even longer time. Fruits and vegetables should not be washed before you place them in the fridge, if you wash them you will only accelerate their rate of decay.