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Leftover Concerns to Consider

By Brandi Goodman 

Whether you intentionally make extras to have something in the fridge for the next day or you simply didn't realize you made too much, leftovers need careful consideration. Rules exist to ensure people do not get sick from eating food that has sat out too long and been exposed to bacteria. Consider these leftover concerns so you can be safe eating.

Refrigerate Within 2 Hours

No food should be left sitting out for more than two hours. If you're leaving from a restaurant, the food should be taken home immediately to be put away. You don't want to go and do another activity afterward and leave it sitting in your car. This is especially true on a warm day. When you're having a get-together, it's also imperative you plan a particular time to eat and don't just leave everything sitting out for hours. Bacteria sets in quickly and can spoil your meal.

Reheat to the Right Temperature

Just because the food was once cooked doesn't mean it doesn't need to still be cooked again to make it edible. Too many people throw a plate of leftovers in the microwave for a handful of seconds and call it good. You should be making sure you're reheating things to 165 degrees so they are cooked through and safe.

Stick to a 4-Day Timeline

After placing food in the fridge, you should really stick to a four-day timeline of consumption. Once it gets passed these few days, it is bound to spoil quickly. You should never eat leftovers that have already been sitting for five days or longer. They will not offer the same taste and most will have started to turn bad by then. Throw away anything that's been sitting for more than a few days or you're unsure of when it was made.

Freeze Things You Won't Eat Fast

If you know you won't be able to eat the food within a few days, then freeze it immediately. Rather than putting the leftovers in the fridge from the beginning, place it in an airtight container in the freezer. Many foods can last for months if frozen, though you should still check on it periodically. Ice and oxygen molecules can get in and cause your food to be freezer burned, which will alter the taste and texture.

These leftover concerns should always be considered. Whether the food comes from a restaurant or your own kitchen, they should be put away promptly and eaten within a certain timeframe to ensure the best quality. Food should nourish your body, not make you sick.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Gilbert, Ariz.

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