This article originally appeared and was published on AOL.com
Each year, people throw away thousands of dollars worth of food. Most consumers use expiration dates as an indicator of food safety, but they aren’t always what they seem.
According to The National Resource Defense Council, the ‘sell by’ dates do not indicate whether foods are safe to eat — it simply predicts how long an item should be kept in stock.
Other variations such as ‘Use by’ and ‘Best by’ typically means the date the manufacturer predicts the product has reached peak freshness. It does not indicate spoilage.
So when does food actually go bad?
A good rule of thumb is to pay attention to when you purchased or opened the food, rather than what the packaging says.
Raw chicken can be stored in a refrigerator for one to two days after purchase. You can keep chicken in the freezer for nine months.
You can keep all your eggs in the basket. You can store them for three to five weeks after purchase. If you freeze them, they can last up to a year.
Once you open a jar of peanut butter, you can typically store it up to three to four months in the pantry.
Storing boxed chocolate in room temperature may last you six to nine months. Freezing your chocolate can last you up to 18 months.
This drink can usually last an additional week after the ‘sell by’ date. To be on the safe side smell your milk before drinking it. If the drink packs a sour smell or off-white color you’re better off tossing it.
If you purchase commercially packaged yogurt, you can keep it for about one to two weeks after the ‘sell by’ date. Freezing yogurt can last you one to two months longer.
Unopened salmon will last one to two days from the date of purchase, but if you freeze it day of purchase, you can squeeze out an additional two to three months for optimal taste.
Once you pop the cork of white or red wines, you can store them in the fridge for an additional three to five days. Unopened red and white wine can last you up to three years.
No need to toss this item. This natural sweetener can last you a lifetime.
More from AOL.com:
NOW WATCH: What Do Cockroaches Do And How To Get Rid Of Them | Everything Explained