The Shelf Life Advice Quick Reference Guide has answers about refrigerated unopened and opened foods. To receive your copy, type your email address in the box below and click "Sign Up".

How long can I keep refrigerated leftovers?

Leftover Food scientist Susan Brewer offers the following advice: the amount of time which leftovers are safe and/or of good quality depends on the leftovers.

 

Mixed dishes which contain (cooked) animal products (such as meat, milk, and eggs) tend to have the shortest shelf life both for quality and safety reasons. They may have originally had pathogenic bacteria associated with them. If cooking didn’t kill every single one, the bacteria can grow (slowly), making the product unsafe. Three days is the standard length of time recommended for these products.

Serving Guests Safely

Christmas dinnerYou didn’t invite invisible guests to your party, so don’t let them sneak in. Lock out those ugly pathogens that cause food-borne illness by following simple recommendations from food safety experts.

Hosts and hostesses usually prepare more than enough food, and guests rarely consume everything in sight, so, inevitably, after the event, party-givers often wind up with a packed refrigerator. Thankfully, food safety experts have also developed guidelines for safe handling of leftovers. 

Tips on Reheating for Safe, Yummy Leftovers

leftover pizzaRemember "srevotfel"?  You ate it, but perhaps you didn't love it. No, this isn't an exotic imported dish; it's just "leftovers" spelled backwards to avoid calling a re-warmed meal by an unappealing name. You'll probably have leftovers in your not-too-distant future. After all, you don't want your holiday spread to look skimpy; you know that, when the pickings seem lean, guests take less. But, when you cook too much for the size of the crowd you're entertaining, leftovers are inevitable.  So what, of all this stuff they didn't eat, can be safely reheated, and how can we make srevotfel taste good enough to be devoured with enthusiasm?  In the following Q/As, we have expert answers from our Board scientists and the U.S. government.  Let's begin with safety.

Yikes! The Turkey Is Done, But the Guests Are Delayed! How Do I Keep My Thanksgiving Dinner Warm?

Woman serving Thanksgiving TurkeyThe turkey is done, but where are the guests? Winter weather and too much traffic can slow down cars and planes. And then there are those who live around the corner from you but are chronically late for everything. Don’t invite them next year. Find prompter friends. But that doesn’t solve this year’s problem: how to keep food at a safe and appetizing temperature while waiting for dilatory diners. This article will cover holding techniques used by experts.  But first, some basics about food safety and the definition of a cooked turkey.

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