AIP Food Storage Basics

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One of the things that can become a big deal when you start AIP is food storage. Basically, prior to AIP, I really didn’t think a whole lot about this topic. I didn’t do much batch cooking, so I didn’t worry about how to store four quarts of bone broth or how long three baking sheets worth of roasted root veggies would keep in the fridge. I didn’t buy meat in bulk, so I also did not consider freezer storage. I knew, vaguely, those plastic containers weren’t great for health and environmental reasons, but that didn’t stop me from becoming the queen of collecting them (the cupboards bursting lids and containers everywhere every time they were opened). And, I’ll also confess that I was not a worrier about the dangers of old leftovers (if it isn’t stinky and moldy, I say, “Eat it!”).

Despite my “leftovers zen” attitude, I have decided that three years into my journey it is high time to up my food storage game. With that goal in mind, I’ve done a little research and put together a guide that I hope will help us all when we are standing in the kitchen, scratching our heads and wondering, “How do I store that? Will it keep?”

First, we have to consider where to keep food:

  • It is very helpful, with an AIP lifestyle to invest in a stand-alone freezer. Obviously, you can live a perfectly happy healing lifestyle without one, but if you have the space and the budget, it is extremely useful. Freezers come in several types, including chest, upright, and specialty. Chest freezers are normally a bit less expensive and they will keep your food frozen for up to 48 hours (if you don’t open the lid) if the power should go out. The drawback is that they are tougher to organize well. Uprights are more expensive and food will not keep as long if there is a power outage, but they are easier to organize. Specialty freezers are mini or portable versions. These might be a good choice for single folks that only need a little extra storage or for people with limited space. In my house we actually use a hand-me-down upright and it has been perfect for us.
  • Another very useful place to keep food is a pantry. Again, totally possible to do this without a pantry, but having a storage space that is cooler and dark is very handy. I have a small closet-sized pantry and I also cleared the bottom shelf of one of my lower corner cabinets to expand my space for things like winter squashes and sweet potatoes.
  • Refrigerators don’t really need to be discussed, but you may be surprised to find that you don’t need as large a fridge as you may have required before. Fresh, unprocessed foods mean my fridge is a pretty temporary space, not cluttered and overflowing with the typical bottles of old condiments and individually packaged snack foods.

Second, we have to consider what to keep food in:

  • As much as possible, it is a good idea to avoid plastic food storage containers. Now don’t stress out here! I’ve slowly been making this swap for years. I have mainly glass and stainless steel now, but some things I have still not completely figured out. For instance, I use (plastic) ice cube trays to freeze bone broth and then I transfer those cubes to (plastic) freezer bags. Also, most of my meat comes from the butcher (via my farmers) in vacuum-sealed (plastic) bags. Wrapping in wax coated butcher paper would be a better alternative, but I’m not there yet. I’m getting there and you will too. For more information on this topic, check out what Chris Kresser has to say here.

Finally, we need to figure out the how and when on different kinds of foods:

Meat, Poultry, and Seafood

Beef and Lamb: Fridge: 2-3 days, Freezer: 4-6 months

Pork: Fridge: 2-3 days (ham and bacon can go up to 2 weeks unopened), Freezer: 1-6 months (bacon on the shorter end)

Poultry: Fridge: 2 days, Freezer: 2-6 months

Seafood: Fridge: 1-2 days (shucked clams, mussels, and oysters on the shorter end), Freezer: 3-6 months (do not freeze live whole crab or lobster)


Apples: Fridge: 21 days

Avocados: Fridge: 3 days, ripen quickly at room temp in a paper bag with an apple

Bananas: Countertop: 5 days

Berries: Fridge: 2-7 days (blueberries on the longer end, cranberries will go for a month), best to wash and discard any moldy berries to prevent the spread of mold

Broccoli: Fridge: 7 days

Brussels sprouts: Fridge: 7 days

Cabbage: Fridge: 7-14 days (Savoy and Napa varieties on the shorter end)

Carrots: Fridge: 14 days

Cauliflower: Fridge: 7 days

Citrus (grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange): Fridge: 14-21 days

Cucumber: Fridge: 5 days

Garlic: Pantry: 2 months

Ginger: Fridge: 3 weeks

Greens (arugula, bok choy, chard, collard, kale, lettuce, mustard, spinach): Fridge: 3-5 days (if it is bagged or in a plastic container, pay close attention to the expiration date)

Herbs (fresh): Fridge: 3-14 days (leafy herbs on the shorter end), best to wrap in damp paper towel

Onions: Pantry: 2 months, Fridge: 4 days (cut)

Parsnips: Fridge: 7 days

Pears: Fridge: 5 days

Sweet Potatoes and Yams: Pantry: 14 days

Turnips: Fridge: 14 days, separate the leaves

Winter Squash (acorn, butternut, delicata, and spaghetti): Pantry: 3 months

Zucchini and Summer Squash: Fridge: 5 days

*For AIP, this list could be have been exhaustive, I decided to focus on some of the really common basics for simplicity.

Dry Goods

Baking Soda: Pantry: 1.5 years

Dried Fruits: Pantry: 6 months, unopened or 1 month, opened

*Flour, ArrowrootPantry: 3-6 months (in a sealed container)

Flour, CoconutPantry: 1 year (in a sealed container)

Flour, TapiocaPantry: 3-6 months (in a sealed container)

Herbs (dry): Pantry: 2 years

Spices: Pantry: 3 years, whole or 2 years, ground

*I saw a lot of conflicting guidance on storage of gluten-free starch flours, like arrowroot and tapioca; I boiled it down to the “average” answer for this guide.

Oils, Vinegars, and Sweeteners

HoneyPantry: 1 year, unopened or open

Maple SyrupPantry: 1 year, unopened, Fridge: 1 year, opened

Oil, AvocadoPantry: 9-12 months

Oil, CoconutPantry: 2 years

Oil, OlivePantry: 1 year, unopened or 6 months, opened

Oil, Palm (and Palm Shortening): Pantry: 1 year (based on package labeling)

Vinegar: Pantry: 2 years, unopened or 1 year, opened

Special AIP Items

Bone Broth: Fridge: 3-4 days, Freezer: 3 months

Pate: Fridge: 2-3 days, unsealed or 5-7 days, with a coconut oil or butter “seal”, Freezer: 2 months

Gelatin Gummies: Fridge: 14 days

There you are, some simple food storage guidance. Now we can all stop wondering!


The Ultimate Food-Storage Guide. (2012, April 1). Retrieved January 16, 2015, from

Bone Broth Frequently Asked Questions | Whole9. (2013, December 15). Retrieved January 16, 2015, from

Prasertong, A. (2012, November 6). Recipe: Chicken Liver with Sage, Apple and Thyme – Recipes From The Kitchn. Retrieved January 16, 2015, from

FOOD STORAGE — HOW LONG CAN YOU KEEP… (n.d.). Retrieved January 16, 2015, from

Dessinger, H. (2012, August 22). Sour Gummy Candy Recipe. Retrieved January 16, 2015, from

About Angie Alt

Angie Alt is part of the blogging duo behind Autoimmune Wellness. She helps others take charge of their health the same way she took charge of her own after suffering with Celiac and other autoimmune diseases; one creative, nutritious meal at a time. Her special focus is on mixing “data with soul” by looking at the honest heart of the autoimmune journey (which sometimes includes curse words). She’s also a world traveler who has been medically evacuated from two foreign countries. Strategizing worst-case scenarios is now something of a hobby. She is a Certified Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and author of The Alternative Autoimmune Cookbook: Eating for All Phases of the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol. You can also find her on Instagram.


  • AIP food basics | Healthy Body with Tamie Cox says

    […] When you do paleo food plans you have a lot of fresh foods in your fridge and cabinets here is some tips from the Autoimmune paleo on proper storage […]

  • Jennifer E. says

    Is the meat info based on cooked or uncooked? Also, how do you determine 30 or 60 days for the elimination diet?


    • Angie Alt says

      Hi Jennifer-
      The meat info is based on uncooked meats. As far as how long to stay in the elimination phase, it is all about what your body needs. If after 30 days you feel significantly better, most of your symptoms have abated, and your AI disease is no longer progressing, you may be ready to try reintros. If not, keep going & checking in w/ yourself monthly to see if you are ready. Most folks do need more than 30 days, ideally a 3 month period will give your body the maximum opportunity to heal. Some folks even need longer, for instance I needed over a year. Give yourself permission to take it slow & give your body as much time as it needs to heal.

  • Erin says

    Jennifer pointed out something helpful-how long can we keep cooked foods in the fridge before it becomes “unsafe”? Like breakfast sausage patties? Or even just leftovers from a big roast? Having leftovers or batch-cooked burgers around is so helpful…but not if they’re only good for 2 days 😛

    • Angie Alt says

      Erin, I think most cooked meat & poultry will be just fine for 3-4 days at least, as long as it is stored well in the fridge. Seafood, even cooked, is probably not as safe for that long though.

  • Sarah Policastro says

    Wow! I just eat fruits and veggIes when I get to them. I also don’t keep most fruit in the fridge. Also I thought honey never went bad? I don’t see any reasoning, so I’m wondering what exactly happens after the time listed?

    • Angie Alt says

      Sarah, the recommendations I used for the post were based on “best practice” standards and took into account not only how long foods stayed safe to consume, but also had freshest flavors and most nutrient value. I’m sure lots of fruit & veg are still good after some of the time frames mentioned, but they may not be at their freshest & most nutritious. As to honey, it’s flavor & color can be effected after an extended period of time, although it may not technically spoil. Honey is really only prone to “going bad” if it is stored improperly & absorbs enough water to host yeasts.

  • Medora says

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention the old-fashioned root cellar, still the best way to keep root vegetables, apples, and so much more for months, not just weeks. See to get started

    • Angie Alt says

      Medora, I am a big fan of the root cellar & had an impressively big one which my whole extended family used as a young child, but it wasn’t included in this list, because it is not a practical option for the average person these days.

      • Medora says

        It’s surprising how well food can be kept this way even if one doesn’t have an actual cellar. I guess “average person” equates to urban apartment-dweller, but there still are a few of us left in the sticks! I’d just encourage people to do a search on “above ground root cellar” to see what their options might be.

  • Suzanne says

    I just bought a vacuum sealer and was wondering what sealer bags you would recommend? Looked on Chris’s article with no luck. Thank you!

    • Angie Alt says

      Hi Suzanne! I don’t have any strong recommendations for you. In an effort to move away from plastics, I haven’t used or researched vacuum sealers.

  • Diane Cressy says

    Just ordered a freezer last week.. My fridge and freezer are overflowing and so are my cupboards.. Seriously, Mickey’s bacon beef liver pate only 2 to 3 days??? That just can’t be right!

    • Angie Alt says

      Diane, these recommendations are based on “best practices,” so they cover not just safety, but also flavor & nutrient value. I regularly have pate in the fridge for up to a week & love it, although obviously the best flavor is earlier in the week. 😉 Also, note that melting some butter, ghee, or coconut oil & pouring a thin layer over the pate to harden provides a seal that keeps it fresh longer in the fridge (& provides some yummy fat!)..

  • catherine says

    What is your opinion on those Green Bags and Green Storage boxes from Debbie Meyers. I find that they significantly extend the refrigerator life of fruits and veggies. I had fresh chard for 3 weeks with no discernable spoilage. Cooked and tasted fine-even crisp.

  • Ro says

    I read honey doesn’t go bad. Honey was found in the pyramids in the tombs and still good.

    • Angie Alt says

      Hi Ro-
      Please see my comment above to another reader regarding honey. 😉

  • Kelly says

    Great info!

  • […] AIP Food Storage Basics – Autoimmune Paleo […]

  • Liz says

    Most pple i know (gaps/aip) keep broth up to a week o_0 (as do i, and it’s always been ok …)

  • Such a great resource—thank you Angie!

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