Here are some tips on food storage and safety related to a few popular staples:
The higher the fat content, the more quickly the meat will go bad, Shelke says. If you refrigerate promptly after purchasing, you should be fine until the "sell by" date, but probably not far past it. Meat will last longer in the freezer, but not indefinitely. Frozen beef needs to be consumed within 3 months, while pork keeps in the freezer for 6 months, according to an IFT study. Frozen lamb, veal, poultry, and venison will last between 8 and 12 months. Just make sure you wrap your meat tightly in plastic and store it in a zipper-lock plastic bag. This prevents air from drying out and spoiling the meat, Shelke explains.
Spoilage depends a lot on the type of cheese, but a few guidelines apply, Shelke explains. American processed cheese in individually wrapped slices will last 1 to 2 months. Blue cheese will keep 3 to 4 weeks when sold as a wedge, but only 5 to 7 days when crumbled. Brie, Camembert, and any semi-soft cheese will last 1 week. Hard cheeses like Colby, Muenster, or cheddar can 1 month, but may develop mold. If that happens, cut away about an inch of cheese all around the mold, Shelke says.
Whether homemade or commercially prepared, you've got 3 to 4 days once the sauce has been opened before you need to dump it, Shelke says. Even if it looks and smells fine, bacteria can develop that your senses can't detect.
Salt, sugar, honey, cornstarch, and almost all types of rice never go bad if kept in a cool, dry place. Brown rice is the exception; it has a high oil content, and should be thrown out if it starts to smell rancid, Shelke explains.
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