Easily the best and worst part about adulting is stocking your fridge. It’s the best, because you finally get to pick out all your favorites — brie, kale, fresh strawberries. It’s the worst, because now you have to juggle expiration dates in your head. There is no worse feeling than coming home at the end of the day excited to cook chicken just to find out that your poultry is so not OK anymore. Keep everything straight with this handy list of fridge staples and when they usually expire.
1. Eggs: If you’re a make-ahead kinda gal, you can keep hard-boiled eggs in the fridge for up to one week with the shells on. Raw eggs keep a lot longer, with a shelf life of between three and five weeks.
2. Chicken: Raw chicken really only keeps in the fridge for up to two days. If you’re not sure when you’re going to use it, your best bet may be popping it in the freezer where it can stay for up to nine months. If you’re cooking your chicken ahead of time, it’ll make it a little longer with a fridge life of three to four days.
3. Milk: This one’s tricky, especially if you’re flying solo — how much milk is too much, anyway? Once you’ve opened it, your milk should keep for up to one week past the sell-by date printed on the bottle.
4. Veggies: Different veggies keep for different amounts of time, but a good rule of thumb is to remember that whole veggies will last longer than sliced ones. Some favorites to know include broccoli (three to five days), zucchini (up to one week), and squash (one month, whole). If you’re worried about it, stash your fresh produce in the crisper drawer of your fridge or in an air-tight container.
5. Yogurt: You might think because yogurt has good bacteria in it that it’ll last forever. This is not quite the case. Unopened, you can keep yogurt up to two weeks past the sell-by date on the package, but if you’ve caved and opened up that big ol’ container of Greek yogurt, then you’ve got just one week to gobble it up.
6. Fruit: Again, produce varies from type to type, and you should plan for whole produce to keep longer than the sliced variety. For example, grapes will keep for between two and three weeks. Strawberries may make it a week, while blackberries really only hold up for two to three days.
7. Juice: Just like a few other items on this list, juice will last longer when unopened. Most will make it a few months until you open them. Once opened, it’s going to be best if juice is consumed within seven to 10 days.
8. Leftovers: No, you can’t eat your takeout leftovers a week later. Most pre-prepared foods only last three to four days in the fridge. Try to work your extra pizza slices or cold egg rolls into your lunch plans to avoid losing out.
9. Opened Wine: Finally. Answering the real questions here. If you re-cork your bottle and keep it cold, then most whites or rosés will keep for between five to seven days, depending on the quality. It won’t taste quite the same the longer you keep it though, so try not to wait too long to finish.
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(Illustrations via Marisa Kumtong)