How long frozen food keeps?

Asked September 25, 2013, 6:42 PM EDT

I am cleaning out my freezer and have some blueberries from last year 8/12. Are they still safe to use in pies, cobbler and baking? I also have flour, grits and oatmeal that I do not have an expiration date on. How long can they be kept in the freezer or refrigerator?

Larimer County Colorado

1 Response

Good question. Recommended storage times vary and are determined according to best quality. Items can be frozen for longer periods and still be "safe" but there will be noticable decline in quality over time. That is also the reason you see "best if used by" dates on packaged items your purchase. Please refer to CSU Fact Sheet 9.310 Food Storage for Safety and Quality, available at: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09310.html. In general, the berries should still be fine for baking. Flour is best used within 1 year in the freezer, and since these are not expensive items, you probably should discared the flour, grits and oatmeal, as they often develop "off" odors after long term storage. It's a good idea to date mark all items that you freeze and use freezer bags or other airtight containers to help maintain freshness during storage.
Hope this helps. Thanks for using eXtension.