How long is leftover food safe in the refrigerator?


How long is leftover food safe in the refrigerator?

It is preferable to eat restaurant food within the first 3 days.

Photo: Julia M Cameron / Pexels

The safe storage and preservation of food is one of the important measures to prevent food poisoning. Keeping your food refrigerated helps keep it longer. The refrigerator doesn’t stop, but it does slow down bacterial growth.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note that bacteria can multiply rapidly in food if left at room temperature or in the “Danger Zone” between 40 ° F and 140 ° F.

Cooked foods should refrigerated or frozen as soon as possible within 2 hours after cooking or within 1 hour if the outside temperature is very warm, greater than 90 ° F.

To quickly chill food, divide the food into smaller portions or chunks and place it in shallow containers, then refrigerate or freeze. Placing it in individual servings also makes it easier and faster to reheat or thaw it.

According to Food Safety, leftovers keep refrigerated for an average of 3 to 4 days maximum. This includes pieces of red meat, poultry, and fish; soups, sauces, broths and stews, empanadas and nuggets; and dishes with boiled eggs.

Cooked eggs can keep for up to a week.

Cooked rice should be eaten within the first 3 days.

Washed and cut fresh fruit can be kept for 3 to 5 days before it starts to lose its freshness.

Once the can is opened, you can store your food in the refrigerator for up to seven days, depending on the type of food, preferably in glass or plastic containers.

Vegetables stored in an airtight container they can be kept from 3 to 7 days in the refridgerator.

Restaurant meals. Since you do not know how fresh the ingredients were before use, it is preferable to consume these foods within the first 3 days. If food contains raw ingredients, eat it within 24 hours.

Adequate time to keep leftovers in the freezer

In the freezer, foods that are continuously stored at 0 ° F or below can be kept indefinitely, although their quality will decline after a few months.

Leftover red meats as well as white meats keep their quality for 2 to 6 months in the freezer; the croquettes from 1 to 3 months; pizza from 1 to 2 months; while soups or stews with vegetables or meat for 2 to 3 months.

Signs of deterioration

Before consuming the leftovers you should observe them for signs of deterioration that they indicate have been spoiled, such as unpleasant odors, tastes and textures.

Spoilage bacteria can cause fruits and vegetables to become mushy or slimy, or meat to develop a bad odor. If you see mold on your food, don’t smell it, it could cause breathing problems.

If your food tastes bad, spit out what you haven’t swallowed and discard the rest.

Sometimes the refrigerator may not be set to the temperature necessary to preserve your food properly and prevent food from spoiling quickly. It may also be dialing in a temperature that it is not really cooling at. Thus you should check the temperature of your refrigerator and adjust it if necessary.

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