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(Credit: Andrey Popov/iStockphoto)

It's an awful feeling when you're rummaging through your refrigerator or pantry and realize what you need for a recipe just expired. It gets worse when you never opened the package and it all went to waste.

The USDA's Foodkeeper app (iOS, Android) can help you figure out when your food is at "peak quality" to help reduce waste.

Foodkeeper was updated in October to include information on more than 650 food and beverage items. Users can find out how long food lasts, cooking safety tips, and how to store the food to increase its life.

SEE: 9 best food tracking apps

"Some foods may deteriorate more quickly while others may last longer than the times suggested," the app's description said. "The times will vary depending on the growing conditions, harvesting techniques, manufacturing processes, transportation and distribution conditions, nature of the food, and storage temperatures."

On top of reminding you when your food is about to expire, Foodkeeper will also let you know about food safety recalls.

The app lists different categories on the dashboard like baby food, baked goods, condiments, dairy, deli, meat, vegetarian proteins, and more.

If you're like me, your bags of salad are some of the first items to go. If you tap on "Produce," the sub-categories are Fresh Fruits and Fresh Vegetables. Vegetables list everything from artichokes to zucchini.

For example, Foodkeeper said that Lettuce (romaine and iceberg) lasts about one to two weeks if refrigerated from the day you buy it. There's an option to add the item to a calendar as well. The app also doesn't recommend freezing it.

Other items last longer if you freeze them or can be okay in the pantry. Foodkeeper gives tips to make an item last longer depending on where you keep it.

For example, the app recommends storing potatoes in the pantry and said they'll last one to two months. If you refrigerate, they'll last about two weeks. You can freeze them and they'll last 10-12 months, but only if they're mashed or cooked.

If you buy an item frequently, you can tap the heart icon in the upper right corner to add it to your favorites list.

Tapping the information icon next to settings will display up-to-date recall notices, general storage and shopping tips, educational videos and more.

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(Credit: Screenshot by Download.com)

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Takeaways

  1. The USDA's Foodkeeper app includes information more than 650 food and beverage items.
  2. The app can tell you how long from the purchase date that your food will last, the best (and worst) ways to store it and warn of potential recalls.

Also see

Shelby is an Associate Writer for CNET's Download.com. She served as Editor in Chief for the Louisville Cardinal newspaper at the University of Louisville. She interned as Creative Non-Fiction Editor for Miracle Monocle literary magazine. Her work appears in Glass Mountain Magazine, Bookends Review, Soundings East, and on Louisville.com. Her cat, Puck, is the best cat ever.