More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Food safety: How long can you keep leftovers?

Question: How long can you safely keep leftovers in the refrigerator?

According to the Department of Agriculture, you should eat refrigerated leftovers within four days to maintain food safety. If you don't anticipate being able to eat them within this period of time, freeze them immediately.

To help ensure food safety, refrigerate perishable foods quickly and don't let them sit for longer than two hours at room temperature or for longer than one hour if the room temperature is above 90 F (32 C). Perishable foods include meat, poultry, dairy, fish, eggs, side dishes and casseroles.

Before eating leftovers, reheat them thoroughly. Reheat leftover sauces, soups and gravies to boiling. If you're using the oven to reheat leftovers, set the temperature to no lower than 325 F (163 C) to ensure they're reheated quickly. Because bacteria multiply between temperatures of 40 F (4 C) and 140 F (60 C), reheating in slow cookers or chafing dishes isn't recommended.

Uncooked foods, such as cold salads or sandwiches, also should be eaten or refrigerated promptly.


I recall an article several years ago warning against storing home made pesto, made from home grown basil, because of the risk of developing deadly [DEF]anerobic bacteria[/DEF]. Home made pesto should be used immediately and leftovers discarded.

This would not apply to commercial pesto, which should be processed to remove any of these organisms.

Pizza, on the other hand should be stored no longer than tomorrows breakfast:clap:
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