How Long Does American Cheese Last (In The Fridge, Opened and Unopened)?

You either love or hate American Cheese.

From Kraft Singles to Velveeta, the iconic slices of white cheese in a thin plastic casing and the grilled cheese sandwiches made with it, it’s one of the most-divisive cheeses.

Many even scoff that it shouldn’t even be considered a cheese because it’s not made from milk as cheeses have been historically made. Unsurprisingly, American cheese is processed; created from a mixture of other cheeses.

How Long Does American Cheese Last?

The good thing about American cheese being processed is that the shelf life is improved when compared to other cheeses. The shelf life of American cheese depends on several factors:

How long you’ve had it: The longer you have had American cheese in your refrigerator or freezer, the shorter its shelf life will be.

Temperature: If you keep your refrigerator above 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius), it will last longer than if it was held at cooler temperatures.

Opened or Unopened: This is key. When the cheese is exposed to oxygen it begins to lose quality until it becomes inedible. American cheese will last longer if you keep it in its original packaging and away from other foods than if you cut off pieces.

Proper Storage: Whether opened or unopened, the cheese should be stored properly to ensure it lasts as long we possible. Typically that means store them separately, placed in different containers or wrapped in foil or paper towels (which absorb moisture).

The average shelf life of American cheese is as follows:

Unopened American Cheese

Unopened American cheese will keep in the refrigerator for up to six months before it begins to spoil. Once opened, you should use it within one week at most. If the package is unopened, store the cheese in the coldest part of the refrigerator (the back of the bottom shelf).

Opened American Cheese

Opened packages of American cheese should be transferred to an airtight container as soon as possible after opening. If you’re not going to use it immediately, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or place wax paper on top of it to prevent other foods from getting contaminated by any bacteria present in the opened package. 

The refrigerated version should last about one week if wrapped this way; however, if you notice any signs of spoilage, such as mold growing on the edges or inside the package, throw it out immediately.

How To Tell if American Cheese Is Bad

close up shot of cheese slices

If you want to know how to tell if American cheese is bad, here are some signs to look for:

  • American Cheese Smell

The smell of American cheese can indicate whether it has gone bad. If the cheese smells sour or unpleasant, it has probably gone bad. It may be time to throw away the cheese if the smell is not bad but still different from what it should be. When in doubt, throw it out.

  • American Cheese Color and Texture

It is possible to tell if American cheese has gone bad by looking at its color and texture. The cheese should appear bright white with no discoloration or mold. If your cheese slices have brown or blue spots, they may have been exposed to air for too long after being opened.

The texture may also change slightly when you touch it — becoming softer than usual — which can mean that your slice of American cheese has gone bad.

Conclusion

To answer the question, it doesn’t matter if you buy prepackaged American cheese at the store or how long it says on the label, either three months or up to one year. Prepared American cheese will last for about six months in the fridge—a little longer if you don’t open packages. But remember: refrigeration isn’t needed to keep this cheese preserved. Just eat prepackaged American cheese within those six months (or less), and enjoy.

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How Long Is Chinese Food Good For If I’ve Properly Stored It?

Food waste is a major concern in the United States today. According to the Department of Agriculture, this accounts to around 30% to 40% of the country’s food supply. Most of the food waste can be attributed to grocers and retailers throwing away produce, meat, and dairy products that have surpassed their expiry dates. But food waste affects consumers as well. Many of us have felt guilty about tossing leftover Chinese food into the trash because we weren’t sure if the food was still safe to eat. 

There comes a time when it’s no longer safe to eat your leftover Chinese food and it should be thrown away to avoid illness. 

Below, you’ll find more information about when it’s best to discard your Chinese leftovers to avoid an upset stomach.

How Long Is Chinese Food Good For?

First off, “Chinese food” isn’t just one dish and it’s not definitely not limited to what you see at the steam table buffet at Panda Express; it’s a cuisine. Chinese cuisine is diverse – subtle and spicy, salty and sweet, sour and savory — Chinese cuisine is well-known for its great tastes and flavors.

It includes a wide variety of popular dishes such as fried rice, General Tsao’s, Orange chicken, chow mein, beef and broccoli , dumplings, kung pao chicken, dim sum, ma po tofu, noodles of all types, so take our advice and apply it carefully depending on what kind of Chinese food you’re referring to. 

That said, Chinese foods are like any foods that contain vegetables, meats and seafood – they’re very perishable, so you should put Chinese foods in the fridge as soon as possible.

When stored correctly, Chinese food can remain fresh for 3 to 4 days in the fridge. However, most people store it for up to 3 days only depending on the type of food and the ingredients used.

After that, spoiled Chinese food can cause food poisoning. Food-borne bacteria do not usually affect the look, smell, or taste of the food. Therefore, it is difficult to tell if the Chinese takeaway you ordered last week is currently safe for consumption.

To be on the safe side, avoid keeping your Chinese food in the refrigerator for longer than this period.

Food kept in the fridge does not go bad immediately after four days. The risk increases due to bacteria growth. You can freeze the food only if you want to eat it within the recommended time period.

However, just knowing what time to throw away Chinese food leftovers is just scratching the surface. It’s also important to learn how to store Chinese food properly so you can safely eat it again.  

Why Throw Away Spoiled Chinese Food

You run the risk of foodborne illnesses if you consume Chinese food that is infested with harmful bacteria. These pathogenic manifestations occur with the temperature between 4°C and 60 °C. Therefore, your aim is to protect your food from this danger zone. Make sure to store your food in the fridge within two hours. Otherwise, the bacteria would grow immensely, making the food unsafe for consumption.

How to Store Your Leftover Chinese Food

Let’s face it; most of us simply store Chinese food in the refrigerator just the way we bought it from the restaurant. However, this is not the best way to store the food if you want to extend its shelf life.

This Reheating Method Keeps Leftover Chinese Food Crispy

Store your Chinese food in sealed or airtight containers. Never store your Chinese food in the takeaway container. It is not ideal for long-term storage. Takeaway food containers allow in air that makes the food stale and create a good environment for harmful bacteria to grow. 

Avoid leaving your Chinese food on your kitchen counter. Instead, put it in the fridge once you have finished eating. 

You should put food in the fridge as soon as possible to lower the risk of ingesting food-borne pathogens.

Conclusion

If you have spent top dollar on your Chinese food, you’d hate to throw it out. To store your Chinese food leftovers properly, follow the above tips to enjoy eating it again. That way, you can save time and money. And if you’re not sure about the safety of your Chinese food, throw it away. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

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Can You Freeze Gravy? How Long is Frozen Gravy Good For?

Brown, delicious gravy from homemade veal or thanksgiving turkey is every bit tasty and our holiday dinners wouldn’t be complete without them. In fact, the National Consumer Survey (NHCS) revealed that over 130 million Americans used gravy in 2020 alone. 

Not your regular sauce, you might want to keep your gravy for another day or two without having to go through the stress of preparing it. This brings us to the question: is it safe to freeze gravy? And if so, how long is frozen gravy good for?

Can You Safely Freeze Gravy?

Can Gravy Be Frozen or Refrigerated? How to Thaw Properly - Fitibility

You could freeze homemade gravy ahead of your next meal. However, you must do it in the right way to avoid wasting your precious velvety sauce. Gravy begins to separate when not stored rightly, so you might want to freeze it not more than two hours after your last meal.

Also, dairy or cream-based gravies might not freeze as well as other gravy types. They are more likely to separate because of their content, so you might want to use a little quantity of fat or milk if you plan to freeze your gravy. Running gravy through a food processor might reduce the chances of separation. 

Storage Considerations for Gravy

  • Short-term freezing: You can keep gravy in ice-cube trays until they form cube molds. Once formed, put them in airtight or freezer bags and keep in the refrigerator. Do not store for more than three to four days. When you are ready to use it, bring the cubes out of the bag and thaw. If it looks like it is beginning to separate a bit, you could boil it for five minutes, stir, and safely eat. 
  • Long-term freezing: If you do not plan to eat your gravy that week, you could store it in a freezer for up to four months especially if it is flour-based. To prevent significant loss in quality over time, it must be stored in airtight containers. Ready-made gravy in cans should be stored in a cool, dry place and used before the expiry date.

It is not advisable to refreeze gravy once you have thawed it.

Using up your Leftover Gravy

Consume your leftover gravy as you would with a freshly prepared one. However, you must confirm that it is not spoiled. To prevent such a bummer, do not leave it out of the fridge for more than two hours since bacteria can multiply quickly under warmer conditions. Following FDA guidelines, you should throw your gravy away if you:

  • See any signs of mold growth
  • Did not get it into the freezer in time
  • Are not sure how long you have kept it in the freezer
  • Perceive any rancid smell

You do not want to deal with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms of food poisoning. After you are sure that your gravy is as good as new, defrost in a cold-water dish, pour out of the bag, reheat slowly under medium heat in a saucepan, and enjoy. If it is from the freezer, you could thaw it in the refrigerator overnight.

Bottom Line

When frozen properly, you can thaw and enjoy gravy with roast turkey, soups, biscuits, mashed potatoes, casserole, or just about any meal combo. If you are still reading this post, the chances are that you would not have to cry over another spoiled gravy.

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