How long do leftovers last in the fridge, from chicken to pizza

 How long do leftovers last in the fridge, from chicken to pizza

According to the USDA, both leftover takeout and home  cooked foods should be refrigerated within two hours of eating. The scientific reason behind this guideline is that unrefrigerated foods will enter the temperature danger zone (40 to 140 degrees) after two hours. This is a safety issue because this high temperature allows disease-causing bacteria to grow and multiply, increasing the risk of food borne illness.

 The rate at which harmful bacteria can grow in this area is also significant. "For example, under perfect conditions, E.coli can divide (in two) every 20 minutes. As this growth increases, without proper refrigeration to slow their growth, [bacteria] can reach sufficient numbers (to cause foodborne illness) if left for more than two hours.
There are some situations where leftovers need to be refrigerated before the two hour mark.If the temperature is above 90 degrees, don't leave food out for more than an hour. High ambient (air) temperatures can lead to faster bacterial growth and, ultimately, larger numbers of disease-causing bacteria. 

How to properly store leftovers

Addition to storing leftovers in the refrigerator in time, it is also important to store them properly. This will reduce the chance of premature food spoilage. To store leftovers properly, store them in an airtight container or plastic container. Another way is to wrap food tightly in plastic. These measures will protect food from bacteria and other odors in the refrigerator.

How long does the leftover last?

 Typically, leftovers will last safely for three to four days if refrigerated within two hours and placed in an airtight container. After this time, the bacteria that cause disease are more likely to grow, even in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Also, these bacteria do not change in shape, taste, or regular basis. of food, so it is not always possible to determine whether the bacteria have reached a dangerous level. 

Also, there are some exceptions to the rule. Some fish will last less than three days. Examples include fatty fish (like mackerel and tuna) and squid, both of which last one to three days. Likewise, foods like cooked country ham or bacon can last longer, around seven days. In general, the longevity of processed meats is due to preservatives and other additives that extend their shelf life.


How Long Common Leftovers Last in the Fridge

Cooked chicken                                        3 to 4 days

 Pizza                                                        3 to 4 days

 Cooked ground meat (ex. taco meat)      1 to 2 days

 Cooked hamburgers                                 1 to 2 days

 Cooked turkey                                          1 to 2 days

 Cooked bacon                                           1 week

 Cooked rice                                               3 to 4 days

 Cooked pasta                                            3 to 4 days

 Hard-boiled eggs                                     1 week

 Mashed potatoes                                       3 to 4 days

 Soup                                                          3 to 4 days

 Store leftovers in the freezer

 If you don't think you'll be able to eat leftovers in the refrigerator within three to four days, transfer them to the freezer. Leftovers will keep forever, but they will have the best flavor and texture if you eat them within three to four months. (Be sure to you should list and write the ingredients to track how long they last.) Wash the leftovers thoroughly and store them in an airtight freezer bag or sealable food-grade bag, which will prevent leaks and help reduce freezer burn.

 Keep in mind that freezer burn will affect quality, but not food safety, says Richard. With that in mind, not all leftovers will be good in the freezer. Richard says: “Mostly, foods with a high water content are very sticky after thawing. Examples include lettuce, cucumber and tomato. Additionally, when frozen, dairy products can separate, and potatoes can become grainy.

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