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Storing food for longer

Swap Well to Eat Well Food Storage Artwork

Below are tips to help you store foods for longer which means you will waste less.

There’s also information about use by and sell by dates printed on food packaging to explain exactly what they mean.

Click here to download this information as a toolkit you can keep


Swap Well to Eat Well - Information Pack

Storing foods

  • Store fresh fruit in your fridge e.g. apples, peaches, plums, berries, grapes (except bananas). Apples can last for more than 100 days in the fridge which is much longer than the fruit bowl
  • Store vegetables in your fridge e.g. mushrooms, green beans, cucumber, broccoli, carrots, cabbage. Carrots will stay fresh for up to a month in the fridge
  • Chop and freeze excess fruit and vegetables to use another day
  • Store potatoes, onions, garlic in a cool dry and dark place. They can all last several months if stored well
  • Freeze loaves of bread, crumpets, bread rolls, chapattis, wraps, naan breads, pitta breads or teacakes and take them out to use as and when you need them
  • Freeze milk or buy UHT (long life) milk this can help to save money by preventing waste. You can also freeze milk in ice cube trays so it’s ready to pop straight into your favourite hot drink
  • Freeze food right up to and including on the ‘use by’ date. If you’re not sure that you will eat it in time – just freeze it for another day
  • If you find you often waste fruit or vegetables, try buying them loose so that you only have as much as you need for the week
Swap Well to Eat Well - Food Dates

Food dates and what they mean

The date labels on some food packaging can be a bit confusing if you don’t understand the difference. This guide will help you save money and avoid waste.

These dates are for the shop and not for us at home. You don’t need to worry about them, but look out for yellow stickers and discount labels on foods if you want to grab a bargain when the shops want to sell foods off quickly

These dates tell us that food is still safe to eat after that date but the flavour and texture may not be as good as when it is fresh. Use your senses to make a judgement about if a food is still ok to cook or eat e.g. it’s smell, appearance and taste. Depending on how your food is stored, it has the potential to be good enough to eat for a long time after this date

Below is a guide to a few key food items and how long after the ‘best before’ date they can be eaten:

Food Expiry
Crisps 1 month
Crackers 6 months
Cereals 6 months
Jar of sauce (unopened) 12 months
Dried pasta 1-2 years
Tinned foods 1-2 years

These dates are about safety and are applied to foods that go off quickly. You should not eat food after the ‘use by’ date even if it looks and smells ok. However, you can freeze meat, fish, dairy products and chilled foods right up to and on the day to use safely in the future.

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