Various sizes and shapes of jars stacked on top of eachother, filled with fruits and vegetables.

Tips for building a pantry

  1. Purchase extras of the items listed below when they are on sale.
  2. Choose canned and dry foods that have a long shelf life and can be stored safely for long periods of time.
  3. Stock up on foods your family likes best.
  4. Choose a variety of foods so you can put together a meal from what is in your pantry.
  • Whole Wheat Flour
  • Dry Milk
  • Salt
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Cornstarch
  • Whole Wheat Pasta
  • Brown Rice
  • Dry Soup Mix
  • Whole Grain Cereal
  • Whole Grain Crackers
  • Whole Grain Pancake Mix
  • Whole Grain Bread
  • Peanut Butter
  • Sugar
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Soups
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Tomato Paste
  • 100% Fruit or Vegetable Juice
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Lean Ground Meat
  • Fish
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Whole Grain Bread
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Condiments
  • Oil
  • Vinegar
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Cinnamon
  • Chili Powder
  • Dry Onions
  • Garlic Powder
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Bouillon
Six jars containing various dry goods such as lentils, beans, and pasta.

Kitchen storage facts: How long will it last?

Nobody likes to throw out food, but sometimes it's the right thing to do because food can turn bad before it smells funny or looks strange. Foods maintain their quality, safety, and nutrients when they are stored properly used within a certain time. Here's how to get the most out of food dollars by storing your food properly.

Note: If you do not have a thermometer in your refrigerator and freezer, you may want to purchase.

In the refrigerator

Five plastic containers filled with food with white labels in a refrigerator.

Keep temperature between 34°F and 40°F

Fresh foods (in original wrapping)

Ground meat & poultry
1-2 Days
Meats and open lunch meat
3-5 Days
Unopened lunch meats
2 Weeks
Eggs (uncooked) in shell
3-5 Weeks

Leftovers (wrapped in plastic or in a covered container)

Poultry covered with broth/gravy
1-2 Days
Cooked meat & poultry dishes
3-4 Days
3-4 Days
Egg, tuna, macaroni, or potato salad
3-5 Days

In the freezer

Keep temperature below 0°F.

Freezer foods

Cooked meat and meat dishes 
2-3 Months
Fresh frozen hamburger or stew meat
3-4 Months
Fresh frozen pork roasts and chops
4-6 Months
Fresh frozen beef roasts, chops, and steaks
6-12 Months
Fresh frozen chicken or turkey pieces
9 Months
Fresh frozen whole chicken or turkey
1 Year
Frozen dinner or casseroles
3-4 Months

Note: These freezer time periods are for food quality rather than food safety.

Tips for safe dry storage

  • Keep food away from heat-producing appliances, like ovens and at least 6 inches off the ground.
  • Arrange older cans and packages in front for first use.
  • Store opened food like pasta in dry, airtight containers
  • Never store food near kitchen chemicals, cleaning products, or trash.
  • Never use food from cans that are cracked, bulging, or leaking.