How Long Should Leftovers Be Kept for Safe Eating?

Not all foods are created equally!

August 24, 2018

© Yap Kee Chan | Dreamstime.com

Before I even get into what how long certain takeout or restaurant leftovers can be kept, I must make a confession. Generally, I do not eat very much. I always have leftovers. And when they come to my refrigerator, they likely will die there because when it comes to food I can be a bit of a weirdo. 

I think this is something I picked up from my grandmother who was super weird about eating certain foods at restaurants like chicken because it may not be cooked enough. Thankfully, my food oddities do not run that deep. But I am a bit sceeved out by leftovers in the fridge. I especially dislike the Thanksgiving turkey leftovers in the fridge because that smell permiates everything else in the fridge and makes me want to gag! I do love turkey, but not when it's been in the fridge and cold for days!

So what's the rule of thumb when it comes to keeping foods? It all depends on the item. According to Marketwatch, here's the rule of tumb they follow for these common leftover foods. 

1. Sushi: Eek! I love sushi, but only when it's super fresh. When it comes to store bought sushi, I am very, very careful to check the dates and will try to get it freshly made to be extra safe. Experts say sushi is one of those things you should eat and not take home but not because eating it a day later will make you sick. It's more of a texture thing and it's likely to be mushy and slimy. Gag!

2. Chinese Food: This is one of those food items that I believe to be better cold. Call me a weirdo! This type of leftover has a fridge life of 2-3 days. 

3. Mexican Food: One of my favorites! This can last 3-4 days depending on the item. Keep in mind though if something has sour cream or guac on top of it, it's likely to get very mushy. If you know you will be taking leftovers home, ask for these condiments on the side. 

4. Pizza: Again, one of my favorite foods to eat the next day cold! Typically, pizza is good for 4 days! 

5. Salad: I love salad, but it tends to not have a long shelf life. You may be able to get up to an extra day out of it if you have the dressing on it. But after that point it will be wilted and gross. Again, if you plan to take home salad leftovers, get the dressing in the side so you can keep it crisp up to 4 days!

I am really trying to work on my leftover food issues. I try to order things I know will keep well as I know I will have leftovers. 

What's your favorite food to have leftover?