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How long can frozen food be in the freezer before it shouldn't be eaten?

(8 Posts)
SmashedMug Wed 21-Feb-18 03:18:15

I don't know if I've imagined this but is there a time length that frozen food (e.g. Chicken nuggets bought at the shop, ready meals bought, frozen peas etc) can be stored at home before it shouldn't be eaten but like separate from the actual use by date? Something to do with domestic freezers not being as good as shop ones? Or have I lost the plot and the use by date is all I need to worry about?

Just asking because I've found a treasure trove of frozen stuff underneath my ice cream and I know it's been in there at least two months!

Ivebeenaroundtheblock Wed 21-Feb-18 03:22:25

I believe most items 6-12 months.

AbsolutelyCorking Wed 21-Feb-18 03:23:34

I wouldn’t eat meat that’s been in the freezer longer than 6 months.

MerryShitmas Wed 21-Feb-18 03:32:44

You can safely eat most things after years but I wouldn't after 6 months (meat or frozen meals) because it would either have the texture of a ping pong ball or be very dry on account of freezer burn.
12 month for everything else (potato based things like chips, or desserts, etc.)

BothersomeCrow Wed 21-Feb-18 03:46:28

Assuming the freezer hasn't defrosted, it should be safe forever but textures will suffer. I'm fairly sure some food at the ILs has been a decade old, but meat will still make a decent stew.

BarbaraofSevillle Wed 21-Feb-18 05:01:26

As others have said, chances are that it will never become unsafe (I believe they have found things frozen in the Antarctic from early explorers over a hundred years ago that have technically been safe to eat) but the texture may suffer, especially if not well wrapped up.

I am currently trying to run down my freezer because the age of some stuff is ridiculous and it's depressing me (and we need to prepare for the day it needs replacing as it's about 20 years old and modern fridge freezers have a smaller freezer section due to more insulation - there has been times when we just wouldn't fit everything in if we needed to buy a new one) and only last week I ate mushy peas that I know were in there 15 months (left over from Bonfire night 2016!) and they were fine.

But you're not imagining the guidelines for storage time. If you look on the box of some packaged food there's stars and guidelines, but it doesn't matter in most cases, but might be an issue if your freezer is the 'tiny bit in the top of the fridge' kind as these are only -6 or -12, one star or two star and my box of frozen fish pieces says one week or one month for these types of freezer. But if your freezer is a proper freezer, you'll be fine, although I would probably chance it for the things that have been there about 2 months, because that's nearly new to me.

I'm waiting for the day that I get to the 6 year old peanut sauce (I bought it when I was working away on a very notable work project, which is how I know how old it is - I don't have that much encylopaedic knowledge of the contents of my freezer, there have been some surprises and disasters along my journey of playing freezer surprise and when I take an old batch cooked 'thing' to work for lunch, it isn't always what I expect. I've taken to keeping emergency canned soup at work or I just go out to McDonalds if the food isn't edible when I defrost and heat it).

SmashedMug Wed 21-Feb-18 10:31:20

Yay, thank you everybody! I will give the stuff a try then! It seemed such a waste to throw it away so I'm glad I checked on here now grin

GetsPostByOwl Wed 21-Feb-18 10:43:18

If it hasn't suffered any damage then go for it! I have no limit on frozen foods really. If it's been there a very very long time (like well over a year) I would probably throw it out but it's rare I would bother freezing something in the first place that I wasn't going to eat.

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