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Storing Leftovers 101
Foods don’t have to look or smell bad to be unsafe to eat.
As a general rule for most leftovers, especially any containing meat, fish, poultry, or eggs, is 4 days. 4 days, IF they’ve been handled correctly.
Bacteria grows best in a temperature range of 40° to 140°F, known as the danger zone, so make sure your leftovers cool quickly out of the danger zone.
1. Put leftovers in a wide, shallow container, and refrigerate them partially covered until chilled.
2. When chilled, cover as air tight as possible. Consume within 4 days.
3. Or wrap well and freeze. Eat within a few months for best quality.
Some more specific rules to follow:
Any food that remains in the danger zone for more than 2 hours, should be thrown out.
If you transfer milk or sour cream to a serving bowl, don’t return them to the original containers. Tightly cover the pitcher or bowl with plastic wrap.
Don’t wash produce before refrigerating it. The dampness can make it mold and rot quicker.
Don’t wait to refrigerate hot foods, modern refrigerators can handle the heat.
Don’t refrigerate sauce or juice in it’s original can. Once a can is opened, the residual metal on the rim can leach into food and leave a metallic taste.
Don’t pack your fridge too full. Cool air needs to circulate to keep food at a proper temperature.