Contact Us

Handling Leftovers with Care

Chaloner Woods/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

We’ve all had leftovers. I mentioned a newly agreed upon rule of the handling of leftovers this morning and Wally disagreed. So, it’s time to clear up the mysteries of leftovers.

I got my info from the FDA, their blog section, and a scientific study and thought I would share so we can all avoid the joys of food poisoning.

First, how long can leftovers be stored in the refrigerator? According to everything I have read, 3 days is acceptable. However, that is based on the quality of packaging. If you place a food item in the fridge that is loosely or not appropriately packaged, it needs to be tossed shortly after being refrigerated. Takeout food is a good example.

How long should food be at room temperature before it is unsafe to eat? As a hard and fast rule, food should be refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking. The clock starts the second the food is not being cooked. This includes restaurant food.

And the question that Wally disagreed with? When should leftovers be placed in the refrigerator. Due to bacteria growth in hot foods and the way that food cools from the outside in, placing newly cooked and still very hot food in the fridge is not recommended. Also, it is best to place leftovers in shallow containers so it cools evenly and there will be no bacteria pockets (caused by the hotter portions of the the food cooling slower).

One last note! Don’t forget to reheat thoroughly so every little piece of food has been heated sufficiently. Microwaves reheat in a spotty way due to the microwaves “bouncing” through the food.

It’s time to break out those leftovers!

More from the Whale

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://991thewhale.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on WAAL 99.1 FM quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here

Register on WAAL 99.1 FM quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!