The Good Life

Shelf Life

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This time of year, your fridge is probably packed, and you may be wondering if you can eat all that food before it goes bad. Confused about what to keep and when to toss? Here, a guide to the lifespan of some staples.

Ever wonder why that wonderful fresh loaf you bought at the bakery grows mold in a matter of days, while the grocery store variety can last for several weeks? The difference is preservatives. But you can lengthen the shelf-life of bread by storing it in an air-tight container in a dry place.

When it comes to its edible lifespan, not all cheese is created equal. Hard cheeses (like Parmigiano reggiano) can literally last for years, while soft cheeses like brie or goat cheese will mold much sooner. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, soft cheeses should be tossed when you see mold starting to grow, but hard cheeses can be salvaged by slicing away at least one inch around all sides of the moldy area to make the remaining cheese safe to eat.

Cold cuts
If you buy your lunch meats freshly sliced from the deli counter, you want to make sure you eat them within three to five days. But an unopened package of deli meat can be stored for up to two weeks. Once you open it, the 3-5 day rule applies.

When you buy a head of lettuce at the store, it should keep, intact, for about two weeks. But once you open up the head and cut up the lettuce, it will start to spoil faster.
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