HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Different Shelf Life for Different Proteins?

Just curious- if all else were equal, do certain proteins have longer shelf lives, refrigerated, than others?TIA.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. Well, if one counts Twinkies as a "protein," then I would say a Gazillion years.


      2 Replies
      1. re: Bill Hunt

        Allegedly the shelf life of a wrapped twinkie is about a month. after that the texture starts to change, although they don't look much different. And in spite of their reputation as the ultimate junk food, I don't know anyone who has been able to let a twinkie rest quietly on a shelf for that long unless they were doing it for dramatic effect.

        Drat Hunt, now I'm hungry for a twinkie of all things. I don't think I've had but one or two since high school. What exactly would you pair with a twinkie (and if you say KoolAid I may have to slap you.)

        1. re: KaimukiMan

          I did not mean to tempt you with the Twinkie.

          I once heard a scientist speak (probably not a "food scientist"), about a post-apocalyptic world, where only Twinkies and cockroaches would live through the nuclear devastation. I am thinking that the cockroaches and the Twinkies would have to share that world with Formosan Termites too, but do not know that for a fact.

          I need to take you to the Mississippi State Fair, where we could get Deep Fried (bacon grease) Twinkies... or maybe not?



      2. Definitely.

        Organ meats, seafood - a few days at most.

        Meat - less than a week.

        Eggs, tofu, soft cheese - weeks.

        Hard cheeses, cured/smoked meats - months

        Nuts, legumes - months to years.

        1. What's the old saying . . . company is like fish, after 3 days its time to go. Poultry maybe 5 days, fresh Beef/Pork in a cold refrigerator about 7-10 days, underline COLD refrigerator. Prepared meats and cheeses at least a month, some even without refrigeration. Oh, and because of the exposure to air, ground meats - well ground/chopped anything - will go bad faster than solid.

          You can usually tell by feeling it even sooner than smelling - except in the case of seafood - poultry and meats tend to feel a little bit slimy at least a day or too before they start to smell 'off' unless you have a really sensitive nose, and some people do. I had a neighbor who could open a refrigerator take one small whiff and tell you how long that piece of steak had been sitting in the meat drawer.

          1. descending order of time for animal based:

            exact time is uncertain.

            2 Replies
              1. I think meat can go quite a bit longer than what most here have posted. Haven't you had 50+ day aged beef? Our modern tastes have gotten used to supposedly fresh meat, but aged meat was very typical in the days before refrigeration. My recollection is that birds used to be hung until they smelled before they were deemed ready. I've taken a steak out of the wrapper, put it on a rack and let it "dry age" for over a week in the fridge before grilling it. Still here and doing it. Reading about how some fish is prepared for sushi in Japan, fish can be aged too.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Bkeats

                  <fish aged for sushi in japan> really. bk? brined/treated with something (sea salt, kelp....)? or you really mean unadorned aged? how interesting!