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Proper storage of ingredients and baked goods is essential to keeping food fresh and tasty and not risking foodborne illnesses. Below you’ll find the USDA guidelines on how to keep food fresh and safe, and when ingredients or foods should be discarded.
Click the Food Storage Chart for Cupboard/Pantry, Refrigerator, and Freezer to learn how long you may keep many items found in your kitchen/pantry.
In general, foods made with eggs and milk such as pumpkin pie, custard pie and cheesecake, must first be safely baked to a safe minimum internal temperature of 160 degrees F (cheesecake at 150 degrees F). Then, they must be refrigerated after baking. Eggs and milk have high protein and moisture content and when these baked products are left at room temperature, conditions are ripe for bacteria to multiply. It's not necessary to refrigerate most other cakes, cookies or breads unless they have a perishable filling or frosting.
Each and every CraftyBaking recipe indicates proper storage guidelines to keep your baked goods at their best. However, we chose the conservative storage time for optimum freshness.
If you ever have a question, come talk to us and other members in the CraftyBaking Community. We would love to help!
FOOD SAFETY SUMMARY / USDA: Everything you want to know about food safety
Stored food slowly deteriorates, making it vulnerable to microbial contamination. The two main risk factors to causing foodborne illnesses are:
- Temperature, and,
- Time or the amount of time the food stays within a certain temperature.
Foods should be stored under these conditions:
- Refrigerator: 40 degrees F (4 degrees C) or below
- Freezer: below 0 degrees F ( - 18 degrees C)
- Room Temperature (Dry storage): 60 to 70 degrees F (15 to 21 degrees C) Canned goods
- Room Temperature (Dry storage): 50 to 70 degrees F (10 to 21 degrees C) Root vegetables (potatoes, onions), whole citrus, eggplant
- Keep everything clean -- hands, utensils, counters, cutting boards and sinks.
- Always wash hands thoroughly in hot soapy water before preparing foods and after handling raw meat, poultry or seafood.
- Don't let raw juices from meat, poultry or seafood touch ready-to-eat foods either in the refrigerator or during preparation
The USDA suggests storing cold foods at 40 degrees F or below and hot foods at 140 degrees F or above
Between 40 degrees and 140 degrees F, is considered the temperature danger zone, especially between 60 to 140 degrees F, where there is a rapid growth of bacteria and the production of toxins.
Degrees F TYPE
240 - 250 Canning: Low-acid foods (vegetables, meat, poultry in pressure canner)
212 - 240 Canning: High-acid foods (fruits, tomatoes, pickles in water-bath container)
165 - 212 Cooking: Cooking temperatures destroy most bacteria, but minimum internal temperatures (for 15 seconds) must be met in order to comply. Each food product has its own internal temperature requirement according to the FDA, USDA and individual state (health department).
Water boils at 212 degrees F. Generally, bacteria die when exposed to at least 10 minutes of boiling. However, not all foods can be boiled.
140 - 165: Store hot foods at 140 degrees F or above. Warm temperature prevents growth, but some survival of bacteria
Rapid growth of bacteria and production of toxins (60 - 140 degrees F); Some growth of bacteria (40 to 60 degrees F)
NOTE: Any PERISHABLE food exposed at room temperature for more than TWO hours of time, actual or cumulative*, should be DISCARDED. NOTE: 1 hour if the temperature was above 90 degrees F.
*Cumulative time includes all the time from the store to your fridge or freezer, the time the food is in the kitchen being prepared, the time the food is being plated, served or on display, etc.
Bacteria can multiply quickly in moist desserts that contain dairy products, so remember the 2-Hour Rule: Don’t leave perishables out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. If you’re not serving cream pies right away, for example, refrigerate them
32 - 40 degrees F: Refrigerator (40 degrees F or below)
Store cold foods at 40 degrees F or below - Slows growth of some bacteria
Water freezes at 32 degrees F - Freezer Stops growth, but bacteria survive