How Safe Is It To Put Warm Leftovers In Refrigerators?

How Safe Is It To Put Warm Leftovers In Refrigerators?

Store food properly to keep it fresh. Read on to know if it’s okay to put warm leftovers in the fridge.

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Globally, we waste a third of the food produced, food that is still fit for human consumption. On the other hand, 10.7% of the world’s population (approximately) is suffering from chronic undernourishment. Now once you’ve digested that fact, let us tell you that you can cut down on food wastage and save money to a great extent by being a little smart. In most Indian households, putting away still warm leftovers in the refrigerator is common practice.

But is it really okay to store food that way? Refrigerators are indeed meant to preserve food, so does temperature really matter? If you’re unclear about the proper handling and storing of leftovers, read on. We’ll bust a few myths for you.

Table of Contents

Can You Put Hot Food In The Fridge?

In a nutshell, no, storing hot food in the fridge is a bad idea. Not only can the food lose its nutritional value, but it might also be spoiled. If the food is straight-off-the-stove hot, the invasion of Salmonella bacteria can ruin the dish completely. Additionally, if there are other containers of food next to it, cross-contamination is a high possibility. Additionally, hot food can put unnecessary pressure on the fridge’s motor, and while new ones might be able to bear the load, it’s the older refrigerators that one needs to worry about.

Also Read: Mishry Reviews: Best Refrigerators In India 2021 – A Buying Guide

It’s a bad idea to put hot food in the fridge as the food may lose its nutritional value

A good way to store food is to chill the container in ice water for a while before putting the food away. However, it’s completely fine to put lukewarm food in the refrigerator and you don’t need to wait till it reaches room temperature because 40°F or lower is safe enough. Having said that, if you prefer it at room temperature, don’t let leftovers stay on the kitchen counter for more than two hours, or else it might attract bacteria.

It’s completely fine to put lukewarm food in the refrigerator and you don’t need to wait till it reaches room temperature

Young kids, older people, and pregnant women, or anyone with weak immunity are more sensitive to food-borne diseases or food-poisoning, so we need to be extra careful for them.

Small airtight containers cool food down quicker. Got a big bowl of your favorite curry leftover? Don’t store it in the same bowl as it will take time to bring the food down to a fairly low temperature. There must be enough space between the containers for air circulation. Overstuffed fridges can be a hurdle for maintaining ideal temperature inside. Food contains many types of bacteria that may have some pathogens. Air circulation and cross-contamination can distribute them rapidly, so it’s necessary to cover food well. Be twice as aware if you’re storing hot liquids such as soups and stews.

There must be enough space between containers for air circulation

Don’t expect too much from your senses to test the quality of stored food. You may not always get a foul odor or a bad taste in the mouth just because the food has gone bad. And sometimes, even a small bite is enough to make you sick. So if a particular eatable looks rather unappetizing, our suggestion would be to get rid of it.


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