How long can you keep cooked food in the fridge?
Food normally becomes unpleasant before it becomes actually dangerous. One thing always you keep in mind is that eating food that has been stored in the refrigerator for too long can lead to food poisoning. So, you should always follow your intuition to see if the shelf life and the food in the refrigerator are okay. In this article, you’ll look at how long it’s safe to eat leftovers kept in the fridge, including how to check if the food has gone bad. Do your best not to leave cooked food in the refrigerator for a week. Check how long does food last in the fridge in general.
The problem is that you have to worry about lipid oxidation that can occur even during refrigeration. Trying to reheat the food, the by-product of lipid oxidation is harmful to the human body. You should not keep cooked meats with large amounts of fat in the refrigerator for too long as iron from the meat is an antioxidant.
You must know there are many easily broken down nutrients such as vitamin C and vitamin B complex. In this case, oxygen can be the main culprit because vitamin C is a good antioxidant, which can react readily with oxygen.
You must not ignore the microbiological risks of food that you have stored for too long in the refrigerator. During this period, bacteria that can survive the cooking process can multiply and produce toxins that can cause food-borne diseases. You should not make a salad that is not cooked as it can be dangerous because moisture-proof microorganisms such as Pseudomonas can survive at low temperatures cause spoilage and deterioration of your food.
Risk Level of the Food Item (Low- Medium & High)
How long you can store food depends on several factors, including safe preparation, proper storage, and the type of food. Whether leftovers are roasted vegetables or fish paste affects how long they can be safely stored in the refrigerator. This is because some foods are more prone to harbor pathogens such as bacteria or toxins that can cause disease. However, leftovers often mix food groups. A good rule of thumb in these cases is to check which ingredients on the plate don’t spoil first. Seafood rice, for example, lasts only as long as seafood, which is a higher risk item than rice, as described below. If in doubt, it is safest to throw away leftovers within 3 days.
List of Low-Risk Food Items
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and Vegetables- You should always wash all raw fruits and vegetables thoroughly with clean water before consumption. The faster you eat, the better. You can store cleaned and cut fresh fruit for about 3-5 days. Fruits and vegetables with higher water content, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and strawberries, lose their freshness faster than fruits and vegetables with lower water content, such as kale, potatoes, and bananas.
You can store homemade bread at room temperature for about 3 days, whereas store-bought bread you can keep safely for about 5-7 days unless mold is visible. Never eat moldy bread. You can increase the shelf life of bread by 3-4 days by refrigerating it.
List of Medium Risk Food Items
You can store cooked pasta and grains such as barley and quinoa for up to three days if stored properly. You can keep desserts and sweets in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days.
List of High-Risk Food Items
Foods with a higher risk of food poisoning are those with higher protein and water content, two characteristics that allow certain microbes to grow.
You can store the rice within 1 hour after cooking, let it cool, and consume within 3 days. Rice can carry spores of Bacillus cereus. These bacteria produce toxins that can cause food-borne diseases.
Meat and Poultry
You can store ground meat and poultry cooked to a safe temperature in the refrigerator for approximately 1-2 days, below 41°F. Other meats and poultry, such as steaks, fillets, chops, and roasts, can store in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. If you thaw this before cooking, be sure to thaw it in the refrigerator. Never put it on the counter. Cook within 2 days of thawing.
Eggs, Soups, and Stews
Eggs are another high-risk food because they can carry salmonella. You should consume hard-boiled eggs within 7 days of cooking and refrigeration. You can store soups and stews, with or without meat or fish in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
The key to storing cooked food in the refrigerator is elementary. These foods should be sealed in an airtight container or tightly wrapped in a resealable storage bag. But it’s better to consume fresh food as it is good for your health. So, the next time you prepare your meal, you should finish it within 3 to 4 days of making it. If you plan to travel further in the week and plan to make a lot of food, eat wisely and freeze leftovers so they can be safely eaten until you need them.