Skip to Content

Can You Freeze Food On The Use By Date

Can You Freeze Food On The Use By Date

Can You Freeze Food On The Use By Date

It is safe if you freeze food on the use-by date and can use it for up to 4-6 months of freezing. If kept frozen, you need not worry about the spoilage of your food. After freezing, if the packaging may expire, then it does not matter. Freezing food can extend its shelf life of the food.

Once a food has its “use by” date, you will need to also follow any instructions, like eating within one week of opening. If you want to enjoy a food while it is still fresh, use by the best by date, and be sure to follow any instructions. While carefully packing can help prevent freezer burn and prolong frozen foods shelf life, the simple fact is if you want to make your food taste as good as it possibly can, eat it ASAP.

While freezing your food allows you to store it much longer, it goes without saying that frozen foods will not last forever. You may be surprised to learn that you can freeze most foods much longer than you think, with no loss of quality. Proper freezing keeps foods safely for an undetermined amount of time, but food quality (e.g., flavor and texture) may decrease when stored for more time than recommended by the charts below.

To reiterate, because freezing food to 0degF or lower keeps it safe almost indefinitely, you should be able to defrost and eat any frozen meat or poultry at any given time (if properly stored). Raw, defrosted food may be frozen again, but only if it has been cooked since it was defrosted and before re-freezing. If you buy previously frozen meat, poultry, or fish from a retail store, it is possible to refreeze it as long as the meat that was formerly frozen has been handled correctly and kept at or below 40F all the time.

Once the food has thawed in the fridge, refreeze without cooking, though you might experience quality loss from moisture lost during refreeze. It is important to note, however, that although foods stored consistently at 0degF will always be safe, quality of the food after defrosting can still be affected over time.

Learn how long are frozen foods good

Food stored consistently at 0 degF will always be safe to thaw and eat; it is just that quality will take a hit over prolonged storage in a freezer. While prolonged freezer storage will impact any foods quality, it is also worth noting that raw meats and poultry retain quality for much longer than cooked meats and poultry. According to USDA, most foods ideal for freezing are freeze-able for an unlimited period.

Check out this frozen foods preservation chart to learn if cheese is freeze-able, how long chicken can be frozen, how long unskinned meats last in the freezer, and much more. Understanding the answers to these questions will help you determine which foods you can safely freeze, and for how long.

If you are using a microwave to thaw foods such as meat, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says that once it is thawed, you should immediately cook it. If you purchase freshly ground meat, and then roast/cook it (after sleeving, if that needs to be done ahead of time), then you can either allow it to cool down and freeze, or even simply place in the fridge overnight for use the next day. Just because it is one to two days past Use By does not mean eating the food is going to make you ill, though you will need to judge the quality of the food for yourself once it is done. Up to and including the use-by date on food, it is fine to consume food, but you cannot consume food beyond this date.

Even when The use-by date has expired in the course of home food preservation, if handled correctly and stored at or below 40degF, a food item should be safe, healthy, and of good quality. Once perishables are frozen, it does not matter whether or not the date has expired, as foods kept frozen consistently at 0degF or below are safe. Foods that look and smell good past their shelf life do not always mean they are safe to eat beyond that point.

If you’re interested in How to Prepare French Fries from Frozen, take a look at my other article.

Just because a package says that your food is supposed to be eaten at this point does not mean that it is unsafe. Contrary to popular belief, if your meat (or frozen foods, generally) does get freezer burn, it is actually not unsafe to eat. When frozen foods subjected to freezer burn are defrosted and cooked, they will taste reduced, with texture becoming grittier and stringier, due to exposure to freezer burn.

3 months is generally how long it may take for foods that are frozen in your regular home freezer to start developing freezer burn. This time frame applies to everything that you are freezing on your own: raw meat, cooked meat, prepared foods, breads, and frozen fruits and vegetables.

Types of perishable and non-perishable foods.

If you are freezing perishable items like meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, eggs, cheese, milk, yogurt, butter, creams, ice cream, frozen fruits, vegetables, breads, rolls, and pastas, you cannot freeze perishable items like meat past their Use By Date, as those items will have lost quality once frozen. For example, if you are freezing meat, fish, poultry, eggs, cheese, milk, yogurt, butter, cream, ice cream, frozen vegetables, fruits, breads, rolls, pasta, soups, sauces, desserts, jams, jellies, marmalade, honey, sugar, salt, spices, herbs, seasonings, condiments, oil, vinegar, salad dressings, dips, spreads, relishes, pickles, and other non-perishable foods, you can freeze them past their use-by date. For foods containing labels designed to maintain freshness and flavor, you may freeze as close to or earlier than the date.

If you’re interested in Foods That Are White, take a look at my other article.

The best-by date is only accurate when food is stored according to instructions on the label, such as stored in a cool, dry location, or kept refrigerated after opening. Food frozen at peak quality will have better flavor when it is thawed than foods frozen closer to the end of their shelf life, according to USDA Food Safety Guidelines. Either way, once in your freezer, you want to make sure that any foods are stored at or below freezing temperatures in order to preserve their color, nutritional value, texture, and – of course – taste. Yes, food goes bad before it is used-by date if it is left exposed to air, moisture, light, or heat.

Does frozen food stop it from going out of date?

The food will remain in a frozen state forever. That’s true; frozen foods never expire, go bad, or cause health problems as long as your freezer is plugged in and operating normally. Food stored consistently at 0 deg will always be safe to thaw and eat.

Can you freeze meat on the day of use-by?

Don’t consume, cook, or freeze your food after the use-by date. Even if the food has been stored properly and seems and smells OK, it might still be dangerous to consume or drink. Plan ahead though because many commodities, including milk and meat, may be kept before the use-by date.

Can you freeze meat on the day of the expiry?

Because freezing effectively pauses time, food will remain safe to consume for whatever long it is frozen. It can degrade, however, the main concerns are with drying out (freezer burn), absorbing scents, etc. rather than with safety. Since it is safe now, freezing it will make it even safer.