Getting Sick

Updated 7/18/2019

Leftovers are a handy way to cook once and eat twice. However, some foods not only lose nutritive value when reheated, but can become dangerous. Improper handling and storage of leftovers can allow bacteria to grow and result in food poisoning. Check out these tips for keeping food safe to enjoy for future meals, as well as which foods should never be reheated.

16. Reheat Only Once


When preparing leftovers, keep in mind that foods should never be reheated more than once. If you bake a large casserole for dinner and intend to enjoy it again the next two days, be sure to reheat only one serving at a time. Reheating the entire casserole and then refrigerating it again can allow the growth of bacteria that will make you sick. Only reheat the amount you plan to eat. If any of that portion is left uneaten, throw it out.

15. Observe the 2-2-4 Rule


When storing and reusing food, keep the 2-2-4 rule in mind. The first 2 in this rule reminds you that food should be placed in your refrigerator within two hours of preparing. This means not leaving food sitting out on the table or countertop for long periods of time. The second 2 is a reminder to pack food in a shallow dish of two inches high. This helps the food chill faster than placing it in a larger container. Divide a large pot of soup or large casseroles into several smaller containers for faster cooling. The 4 reminds you that leftovers in your refrigerator should be eaten or frozen within four days.


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