A lot of the food order restaurants will have a large portion sizes. It may not be possible to eat it all in one sitting, and you may end up taking some of your food home and putting it in the fridge.
But once you’ve had a filling meal at the restaurant, how long will it be before you are wanting that same food again? You may not feel like eating the food the next day.
You have to consider how fresh the takeaway food is
So, how long can you keep takeaway food in the fridge? You have to consider its shelf life, as letting it sit for too long uneaten can cause it to go bad.
Food that is already been prepared, been eaten from, and then placed into the fridge has a limited shelf life. That shelf life tells you how long you can expect it to stay safe to eat before bacterial growth causes it to be unhealthy and unsafe.
If enough bacteria grows on your food and spreads throughout the food, when you eat it, that can give you food poisoning.
Bacteria in your food can cause you to feel unwell
So you need to be really careful about how long food has been unrefrigerated when you eat it. You may have an upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhoea, and other symptoms of food poisoning.
If the food poisoning is severe enough, you may need to go to the doctor, take medication, or rehydrate with fluids.
You want to avoid all that, of course, and that means knowing how long your food is safe fo. How soon should you eat takeaway food before it has been allowed to go bad? Let’s discuss.
How Long Is Your Takeaway Safe for in the Fridge?
Once you put leftovers or takeaway in the fridge, it’s only going to be good for three to four days. Any longer than that and it’s very likely to be riddled with bacteria and on the verge of being unhealthy for you.
You can use the three-to-four-day rule as a guide for most takeaway food in your fridge
After about four days, bacterial growth will start to be widespread enough that the food can give you an upset stomach or some other kind of food poisoning. Before then, though, it should be safe to eat.
Of course, the shelf life differs from one kind of food to another. Some foods may be okay for an entire week in your fridge, whereas others will be more susceptible to bacterial growth.
You can use the three-to-four-day rule as a guide for most takeaway food in your fridge. In some rare cases, the food might not even last that long.
Look at the food and see if it is a little bit off. If it seems to be abnormal in its look or appearance, you probably shouldn’t take the risk of eating it. Better to trash the food than to end up vomiting later on.
You may think you’re wasting perfectly good food, but if you vomit it up, you’ll be wasting food then as well.
Some foods are more prone to spoilage than other, like poultry, fish, eggs, and most meats. Just give them a little sniff before eating them, and you can save yourself a lot of trouble.
However, visual and scent tests are not surefire ways to tell if something has gone bad. You may even want to taste it a little in some cases to determine if it’s spoiled.
Even that may not be a flawless indicator of whether the food is okay to eat. If it’s past four days in fridge storage, then you should probably just toss it out.
How Quickly Should You Refrigerate Chicken?
If you’re concerned about food going bad and you want to extend its shelf life as long as possible, make sure it gets refrigerated as soon as you can. So, if you’re eating out and taking some of the food away, you probably don’t want to go watch a movie right after.
It’s better to take your food straight home and put it into the fridge. If it’s sitting at room temperature for more than a couple hours, it’s likely to spoil in that time.
Consider how much time the food has already spent in the kitchen at the restaurant, on your table as you ate it, and then in your vehicle on the ride home. All of that adds up, reducing its shelf life and increasing the risk of spoilage and food poisoning.
Foods that are sensitive to spoiling faster, like those listed above already, are ones you’ll want to place into the fridge sooner. What foods might be okay to sit out for a few hours before putting them into the fridge and still last for three or four days once refrigerated?
Fruits, veggies, pastas, and breads may be okay outside the fridge for a while, but you still want to make sure they are refrigerated as soon as you have the opportunity.
How to Prepare Your Leftovers
Once your food is stored in the fridge, it is okay for a few days, but how do you prepare it to finish eating? There are a few important tips I want to share with you to help prevent foodborne illness and food poisoning from your takeaway meals.
First of all, make sure that the food is kept in the fridge until you’re ready to eat it. Don’t allow it to sit out on the counter for hours, as that encourages bacterial growth.
You can reheat food in the microwave or on the stove. You may even want to warm up some food in the oven, but keep your leftovers in the fridge while the oven heats up and until you’re ready to place the food inside the oven.
You probably shouldn’t use a slow cooker to reheat your takeaway, as it won’t get hot enough to kill bacteria. Any kind of heating method you use needs to utilizes high heat in order to destroy bacteria that has grown on the food.
No matter how safe and careful you’re being with the food, it’s likely to have some bacteria on it. It may have picked that up in the restaurant while it’s sitting in the open air, in the carton it’s packaged in, or at your home.
There’s microscopic bacteria everywhere
And you need to take measures to kill the bacteria on the food before you eat it. If you’re dealing with cold takeaway, you should freeze it if possible. Then, allow it to thaw out before eating it.
Once you’ve reheated your food, it should be eaten immediately. Don’t allow it to cool back down and don’t place it back into the fridge after you have reheated it.
Your takeaway leftovers are likely not going to be safe to eat if you reheat them at home, put them back in the fridge, and then reheat them once more.
To ensure your safety, make sure your reheated leftovers reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit or 74 degrees Celsius. You can use a food thermometer to check the temperature.
This is the right heat level to ensure that most types of harmful bacteria are killed in the heating process.
Don’t take risk with your food. If you reheat it and are not able to finish eating all of it, you may need to toss it in the trash, share it with someone, or give it to your pets, if you have any.
It’s better to let it go to waste than to try to test the limits of its shelf life and risk food poisoning.