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   Apr 10

The VERY specific way you should reheat and store leftovers to avoid food poisoning (and you should never keep anything for longer than three days)

Good Housekeeping Institute (GHI) shares its guide to leftover storage

It warns millions of us are at risk as improper storage can cause food poisoning

You should regularly stir food while microwaving to make sure all parts cook

Saving leftovers for the next day’s lunch is a great to way to save money and eat more healthily.

But a new report reveals that millions of us could be storing and reheating our leftover meals the wrong way – and it could be putting our health at risk.

Unless certain dishes are stored or reheated in the right way, dangerous bacteria could grow and give us food poisoning, according to a new Good Housekeeping Institute (GHI) guide.

It has revealed the safest way to reheat and store common leftovers such as chicken, rice and dairy products – and nothing should be kept for longer than three days.

The guide reveals how to keep and reheat everything from milk and meat to spinach and potatoes.

The GHI guide reports: ‘We all love leftovers, but they can be a health risk if not stored and reheated correctly.

‘You need to know how to make sure that your money-saving dinner isn’t making you sick.’

Some of the advice is for health reasons, but GHI has also served up tips that will help you store your leftovers better.

How to store and reheat leftovers safely


The danger is in the storage more than the reheating as the bacteria Bacillus cereus can survive in rice when cooked and left at room temperature.

Let rice cool for no longer than one hour and then keep in the fridge no more than one day. Only reheat once.


Cover and cool to room temperature before putting in the fridge and only store for up to three days. Do not reheat more than once and make sure it is 75 degrees centigrade throughout after reheating.

Red meat

It can be left in the fridge for a few days and eaten cold but if reheated then let it warm up to room temperature first.

Microwaves can ruin the texture on steaks and roasted meats. Better results come from frying each side in a pan for 60 seconds to warm it up.


All cooked potatoes are fine in a fridge up to three days. Roast potatoes should be reheated in a low oven or dry frying pan rather than the microwave otherwise they will go soggy.

Green veg

Previous warnings against reheating spinach and other leafy vegetables have been reversed and current guidelines are that reheated veg is safe as is eating them cold.

Simply chill to room temperature after cooking and then keep in the fridge for up to three days.


Leave cream, yoghurt and creme fraiche in the container in which it came and put back in the fridge as soon as possible.

But if it’s been served up in a glass or bowl, do not return it to the original container, simply wrap it up tight and store in the fridge.

Cans and tins

With half a tin of beans or soup the danger is that the metal from the can will leach into the food and leave a metallic taste, so put in a separate container, cover and chill for up to three days.

One tip is to continually stir food when it’s microwave so that it doesn’t end up boiling hot in some parts and cold in others, which can lead to bacteria growth.

It also advises that you should transfer recently cooked food to another dish so that it cools quicker and then store them in individual portions.

Food should be cooled down before it goes into the fridge as otherwise it can lower the temperature of your appliance and cause bacteria to grow in all your groceries.

However food should not be left out of the fridge for more than two hours, otherwise it can become a health risk.

The GHI said: ‘Portion out food or meals into individual portions when putting them in the fridge or freezer so they are ready to grab and go and you avoid reheating foods twice as this can lead to bacteria growth.’

Source: Daily Mail

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