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shelf life of food

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Here’s a handy chart showing the shelf life for many common foods. Do any of these surprise you?
As you may know, expiration dates are often wildly inconsistent with reality. You may be pitching food that’s perfectly good.
Comments below:

The Shelf Life of Food

The Damsel is no expert on this topic, but she does think one item on this infographic is quite wrong . . . the one about eggs. A few hours on the counter and they are bad? No. Many countries don’t even refrigerate eggs in the store. They are sold at room temperature. Yes, refrigerate your eggs when you bring them home, but it’s perhaps an example of a food where folks have become overly cautious. No one wants salmonella, but eggs sit in the nest for a “while” before being picked up, yes?

And yes, they can be frozen. See this post: How to freeze eggs

And this: Testing eggs for freshness

There you go.


Infographic by LindsaySnowOsborn.
Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.
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  • Zach Watson

    I agree with you on the eggs, they can last a VERY long time without refrigeration, I know this from a lot of personal experience, learned from a friend 😀

  • Lisa

    The reason we are told to refrigerate eggs in this country is because store-bought eggs are thoroughly washed. If you get your eggs straight from the chicken, they have a natural coating on them that will protect them without refrigeration, as long as you only wipe them with a dry towel.

    I grew up in the suburbs where our eggs were always store-bought. When we dyed boiled eggs for Easter, we left them in a basket on the kitchen table as a centerpiece for about a week before we put them in the fridge. And I’m still alive and kickin’!

    Another thing to make note of: Mayonnaise used to be made with raw eggs. That is why everybody is so scared of unrefrigerated mayo. However, it is my understanding that today’s mayo is made from pasteurized eggs and, with all its added chemicals, is virtually indestructible.

    My rule is if it smells okay and if it’s not fuzzy or slimy, take a little taste. If it tastes all right, then go for it! What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.

    • thedamselindisdress

      I agree!

      My son in law recently proved this to me. He was eating mayo that had been out for over a day, and I nearly lost it. We all think that is the most perishable thing in the world, right? But you are correct about the pasteurization.
      I get my eggs “straight from the chicken” but they are way too filthy to merely wipe with the dry towel, ewwww. My chickens think it is amusing to use their nesting boxes for toilets. GROSS.
      Margot (The Damsel)

  • Laurie Nguyen

    Thanks for posting this great chart!

    • thedamselindisdress

      Hi Laurie!

      Thanks for your comment on the Old School. Just to let you know…the Old School has a new home. More recent posts can be found at http://www.mynewoldschool.com
      See ya over there!
      Margot (The Damsel)

  • Chris Contreras

    Actually, you can freeze eggs for up to a year. You just have to crack them and put them in a container for freezing. It’s not a bad idea if you have chickens who lay more than you can eat or give away. You can check it out here –> http://www.incredibleegg.org/egg-facts/eggcyclopedia/f/freezing-eggs

    • thedamselindisdress

      Thanks, Chris! Very good to know.