How Long Do Leftovers Last In The Fridge (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Up to 4 days

Storing leftover foods needs to be done correctly to avoid repercussions. Leftover foods can cause food poisoning which would be very dangerous in some cases. The type of food to be stored would predict how long it can last in the fridge. It’s always good to store the leftover food at cool temperatures as it would increase their shelf life.

Food prepared by using rice can be stored for more than 4 days. The type of ingredients used in the dish would affect the shelf life of the food. The fridge is the best device where the leftover foods can be stored for preventing the growth of bacteria. The growth of germs and bacteria would increase the spoilage process of the leftover food.

The leftover food can transfer many germs to the stomach of humans which would cause symptoms of foodborne illness.

How Long Do Leftovers Last In The Fridge

How Long Do Leftovers Last In The Fridge?

Leftovers In The FridgeTime
In days4 days
In hours96 hours

There are many things that will affect the shelf life of leftover foods. These are:

The quality of the food- The preparation of the food would predict how long they can stay fresh. Foods such as pizza or burgers would not stay fresh for more than 4 days.

If someone tries to store rice or lentils in the fridge, then it would last around 6 days. The food which contains an excess amount of oil and spices would not last longer than the food prepared with very simple ingredients.

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Storage- The food should be stored using correct storage methods for keeping the leftovers fresh. People should use sealed and moisture-free containers to store the leftover food. The moisture contact with the leftover food would cause the food to spoil faster.

Everyone needs to use plastic sealed or airtight containers for storing food. There are many sealed bags available for storing the leftover foods in the fridge. Don’t let the leftover food sit out for a long time. Try to put the leftover food in the fridge at the earliest, as keeping it at room temperature for more than 2 hours would cause them to go bad.

People can also freeze the leftover foods in the freezer. They need to thaw it for around 25 to 45 minutes before having it in lunch or dinner.

Kind of food- There are many foods that can be stored for around 4 to 5 days. Foods such as pizza or burgers contain a lot of oils and ingredients which can spoil very early. Therefore, storing such foods for more than 4 days is quite herculean. Food such as rice, dal, and quinoa can be stored for around 6 to 7 days without any difficulties.

Why Do Leftovers Last In The Fridge For This Long?

The leftovers foods can be stored in the fridge for around 4 days without any issues. Make sure to not store the leftover foods in the doors of the fridge where the temperature fluctuation is high. The foods should be stored in the middle compartment of the fridge as the food requires constant temperature.

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The leftover foods would not stay fresh if they are kept in a wet and hot place. If someone is storing the leftover foods such as wraps in the fridge. Then it may stay fresh for around 5 days, but the stuffing inside the wrap would go bad very early.

Everyone should try to avoid the storage of extremely oily or junk food in the fridge for more than 4 days. The food would show many signs as an indication of the spoilage process. The food’s color would start changing and the taste would become different when they are getting worse.

Conclusion

The shelf life of leftover foods would depend on their preparation methods and ingredients. Storing the meats such as turkey or chicken would not last for more than 4 to 5 days. The person has to be careful about the storage and packaging of the leftovers before putting them in the fridge.

The person should avoid putting the food back in the fridge if they are heated in the microwave or thawed outside the fridge.

References

  1. https://lib.dr.iastate.edu/sir/vol2/iss1/3/
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09500690902792385