Ever cooked a big batch of rice at the beginning of the week in an effort to be thrifty, only to get to Thursday and you've forgotten all about it?
Not only are you angry at yourself for being so wasteful, but now you’re actually considering the idea of eating it -- well, STOP RIGHT THERE -- because cooked rice isn’t safe to eat after three days in the fridge.
In fact, there’s a whole bunch of foods that aren’t safe to eat after a certain amount of time in the fridge -- and more importantly, need to be stored in a specific way -- to ensure you don’t get sick.
“Food safety isn’t just about storage, it’s part of the process, but what you do before and after storing food can impact on how long you can store it and how safe it is to eat,” Aloysa Hourigan, a senior nutritionist from Nutrition Australia told The Huffington Post Australia.
First and foremost, food that’s been cooked should be put in the fridge as soon it has stopped steaming instead of waiting for it to cool -- and the fridge temperature should be at five degrees centigrade.
“When we think of food safety, there are low and high risk foods,” said Hourigan.
Low risk being fruit and vegetables and high risk being foods that contain protein and have moisture in them -- so things like dairy products, eggs, chicken and meat.
“Also, when storing leftovers, choose smaller containers as opposed to larger ones, so that it cools down in the middle quickly enough to prevent bacterial growth which occurs during what’s called a temperature danger zone.”
Yes, the speed at which something cools or defrosts is super important when it comes to food safety.
Chicken and red meat should be defrosted in the fridge -- not on the bench -- and frozen seafood should be run under tepid water and left no longer than 24 hours after being defrosted.
Here, a guide to exactly how long you can store certain foods for:
If the shell is still on, will keep in the fridge for up to one week.
If peeled, eat that day.
Cooked rice and pasta
Once cooked, if stored at the correct temperature (five degrees centigrade, as soon as it has stopped steaming) you could keep in fridge for up to three days (72 hours).
Frozen raw foods (e.g meat, poultry)
Can be thawed and stored in fridge for up to two days (48 hours) and they should be defrosted and thawed in the fridge -- not out on the bench.
Eat within three days (72 hours) and if eating as warm, reheat to a high enough temperature (at least 60 degrees C).
Up to 72 hours as they’re not a high risk food.
If you’ve popped it in the fridge as soon as it has stopped steaming, you could go up to 48 hours.
If you’ve used milk, yoghurt or grated fruit, 48 hours is safest.
Interestingly, ginger is better stored in the freezer, as it will keep for longer.
Belongs to the onion family, which is better stored out of the fridge. If it sprouts, you can still use it -- but it will have lost some of its flavour.
It will last a few days in the fridge before mould will start to develop -- but it’s not a high risk food.