Which food does not spoil

Frozen food also expires: This is how long these foods can be kept!

Many believe that food cannot spoil in the freezer. But even frozen foods cannot be enjoyed indefinitely. How long can french fries, pizza and meat keep?

Especially if you have a large freezer, you are sure to find one or the other food from a bygone era. Much is still edible, but you should be careful with some dishes.

Frozen food from the supermarket

The best before date on the packaging indicates how long frozen food from the supermarket can be kept. But that only applies if the products have been frozen throughout. If you notice any changes in smell or appearance, it is advisable that you cut off the affected areas and heat the dish well before eating.

In the video: Four myths about frozen foods

The frozen food is not spoiled as a result. This also applies if the best-before date has already expired. "If the shelf life is exceeded, the quality suffers. For example, the dish loses its taste and vitamins. But you can still eat it," says Antje Gahl, nutritionist at the German Nutrition Society.

Bad French fries stay limp

Frozen pizza usually has a shelf life of twelve months. If you eat them later, you have to expect bad taste. So the edge is dry and no longer turns brown in the oven. The topping also tastes rancid.

French fries in the freezer can be kept even longer than pizza: namely up to 18 months. Whether the potato sticks have been in the freezer for too long can be seen in the oven: because old fries stay limp.

Frozen French fries: When they no longer keep, they stay limp. (Source: bigacis / Getty Images)

Minced meat and sausage spoil faster

But how long can you store home-cooked or fresh food in the freezer? "Ready-cooked foods, such as sauces, keep for three months if they are frozen," says Gahl. When freezing meat, it should be noted that not all types have the same shelf life. Poultry stays fresh for eight to ten months, while minced meat or sausages spoil after one to three months.

It takes the longest to freeze a roast: it can be kept in the freezer for up to twelve months. The color of the meat reveals whether it is still edible: If there are dark spots, the meat tastes rancid or leathery. As a rule of thumb, the fatter the meat, the shorter its shelf life.

Fresh meat: do not interrupt the cold chain

If you have bought frozen meat in the supermarket, you have to make sure that the cold chain has not been broken. Then the best before date on the packaging applies.

If you freeze meat yourself, it will last one to twelve months in the freezer, depending on the type of meat. There is also a guideline table from the consumer advice center:

fleshStorage time at -18 degrees Celsius
beef10-12 months
veal9-12 months
Lean pork6-8 months
Pork fat4 months
Minced meat lean1-3 months
Minced meat fat1 month
chicken8-10 months

How long can frozen fish be kept?

Frozen fish can be kept for a maximum of four months. If it lies in the freezer for a long time, an intense fish odor becomes noticeable. There is a loss of taste especially with types of fish with a high fat content. Salmon or trout have a rancid aftertaste.

But there are also exceptions. Fish fingers can be enjoyed in the freezer even after twelve months. However, if you wait longer to eat them, the fat will get old and the fish fingers will no longer taste fresh.

Crustaceans and molluscs such as oysters, prawns, crabs and snails can also be frozen. For example, oysters have to be cooked, removed from the shell and packed in portions.

Watch out for stains on fruit and vegetables

If you put fruit and vegetables in the freezer, you can take your time with consumption. "Many varieties, such as beans, cauliflower and broccoli, can be kept refrigerated for up to twelve months," says Gahl. In general, vegetables keep best if they are briefly blanched before freezing. Fruit, on the other hand, should be pre-frozen so that the individual products don't stick together. To do this, for example, place the individual berries on a tray until they are frozen through. Soft fruits will also be less mushy after thawing if you add a little sugar beforehand.

You can tell whether frozen vegetables are already spoiled by their white or reddish-brown discoloration - they should then be thrown away. In addition, if stored in the freezer for too long is noticeable in the saucepan at the latest: the vegetables become mushy. Herbs that have been frozen for more than a year will lose their essential oils.

Bad ice cream tastes like rubber

The shelf life of dairy products varies greatly. Depending on the variety, the food can be frozen for between two and twelve months. Ice, for example, lasts up to a year.

If it gets bad beforehand, you can tell by the rubbery layer on top of the ice. Butter can be kept for six to eight months when frozen. If you freeze it for longer, you can tell by the rancid smell of the thawed butter that it is bad.

Shelf life of frozen bread and pasta

Bread should only be frozen briefly. Because if it's left in the freezer for more than three months, unsavory white spots form on the dough and crust. It is best to pack the bread whole or in slices in portions. You should only pack bread rolls fresh and use them up after one to three months.

Raw dough can also be frozen. Puff pastry is best and will keep frozen for about four to six months. Yeast dough and pizza dough can be stored in the freezer for about one to two months, shortcrust dough for two to three months.

Certain types of cakes and tarts also stay fresh in the freezer for some time. Buttercream cake, for example, lasts for one to six months, yeast cake for one to two months and sponge cakes for up to four months.

Which foods should you not freeze?

There is also a whole range of foods that can no longer be kept in the freezer, but instead spoil quickly, changing their consistency or taste.

  • Raw eggs burst in the shell, boiled eggs turn glassy
  • Raw potatoes turn out sweet
  • Pudding, gelatin dishes become watery
  • Meringue and macaroons become tough
  • Lettuce collapses when frozen
  • In the case of mayonnaise, the ingredients separate from each other
  • Water-rich foods such as lettuce, fresh salads, radishes, radishes, raw peppers, cucumbers, raw tomatoes, watermelons, whole grapes, whole raw apples, pears and melons become mushy when thawed and lose their typical consistency
  • Dairy products such as yogurt, sour milk, sour cream and creme fraiche flake and become gritty

How does freezer burn arise?

Even when frozen, food can dry out. This is then shown in the so-called freezer burn. It can be recognized by a white or brownish-red discoloration on the food.

Freezer burn on frozen meat: Although the food concerned is not directly spoiled, in many cases it is no longer edible. (Source: Niehoff / imago images)

If the products come into contact with air during freezing, for example because the packaging is damaged, such a freezer burn can occur. But also strongly fluctuating storage temperatures ensure the dry areas. The food is therefore not spoiled, but it can become tough and leathery.

Check out the video above to see what is true of four great myths about frozen foods, or click here.

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