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This Food Storage Mistake Is Ruining Your Leftovers

A man putting a container of leftover food in a microwave.
TommyStockProject/Shutterstock.com

Leftovers are great, right? You get two meals for the price (or prep) of one, but your food storage choices could be ruining them.

If you’ve ever placed hot food in a storage container and shoved it in the fridge, you could inadvertently be creating a breeding ground for bacteria and ruining those precious leftovers.

Food has what’s referred to as a “danger zone.” This is the temperature range in which bacteria are most likely to grow. The zone falls between 40-140 degrees Fahrenheit. When food is in this temperature range, the number of bacteria can double in as little as 20 minutes.

Heat gets trapped in the containers when leftovers are placed inside while they’re still hot. This causes the food to stay in the danger zone for longer, which can ultimately give bacteria more time to grow in that precious spaghetti.

The best thing to do is let your food cool—for no longer than two hours to avoid the danger zone—and then place it in the fridge.

After that, a food’s lasting power will vary, so be sure to be extra careful and make sure you’re storing last night’s dinner/today’s lunch in quality containers with proper sealing.

[Via All Recipes]

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »

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