One of the marvels of modern life is our ability to preserve food for long periods of time by freezing. Making meals ahead and freezing can be a huge help when your schedule and budget are tight, but it’s important to be aware of proper handling techniques and how long different foods will last in the freezer without going bad. Here are some favorite freezer foods and how long you can safely keep them frozen.
Chili: 4-6 months
Chili is one of those foods that just beg to be made in double and triple batches. Over time, the flavors marry and many people claim that chili tastes better after freezing. Properly frozen chili can last four to six months, according to StillTasty.com. So whip up a mega batch in the fall and you can enjoy it all winter.
Berries: 6-8 months
If you have access to local berries in the summer, you know there are few things better than a short cake or pie made with fresh berries. But they don’t have to be a summer-only treat, as they can be frozen and safely enjoyed for six to eight months, according to EatbyDate.com.
Soup: 2-3 months
Soup is mostly liquid, so you’d think it would keep well in the freezer. Of course the length of time you can safely store soup in the freezer will vary by the type of soup (does it have meat? milk?), Almanac.com recommends a two- to three-month limit for keeping frozen soup.
Girl Scout Cookies: Up to one year
Girl Scout Cookie season can last all year if you buy in bulk and freeze the extra. In fact, according to TheBestestEver.com, Girl Scout Cookies will keep for up to a year in the freezer, so buy enough and you’ll still be snacking on last year’s Samoas when you order the next batch.
Lasagna: Up to 18 months
Much like chili, lasagna is one of those dishes that tends to taste even better over time. Luckily it can live in your freezer for a very long time, according to StillTasy.com—up to 18 months. Have an extra tray waiting in the freezer and you’ll be ready to feed a crowd any time.
Bread: 3-6 months
You can often buy bread that’s nearing its Best By date at a discount, and it makes a lot of sense to do so even if you won’t be able to eat it in time. Bread can last three to six months in the freezer, according to TheKitchn.com, but note that after a month or so the flavors might begin to dull a bit.
Leftover Ice Cream: 2-4 months
According to StillTasty.com, an opened container of ice cream can keep in the freezer for two to four months if it’s kept frozen. And though soft serve ice cream might seem like a now-or-never proposition, people across the internet have tried storing soft serve in the freezer with mixed results. We’ve done this on multiple occasions and had good luck. If you decide to try it, be sure to chuck your frozen soft serve if it smells funny or has developed ice crystals on its surface.