How Long Do Cooked Vegetables Last in the Fridge?

How Long Do Cooked Vegetables Last in the Fridge?

More people than ever are making an effort to include fruits and vegetables in their diets, and that often means cooking some for dinner – but what do you do with the leftovers? Knowing how long to store them for and how to store them can make a big difference to your food waste and your grocery bill, so it’s important to understand this topic.

How long do cooked vegetables last in the fridge? Most cooked vegetables will last between three and seven days in the fridge, and some will last for up to ten days if stored correctly. It’s important to be aware that different vegetables have different storage estimates, so don’t just assume there’s a blanket rule for all of them. Canned vegetables will generally last longer than freshly cooked ones.

How Long Can You Keep Fresh Vegetables For?

In general, you should be able to store cooked vegetables in the fridge for up to a week as long as they are promptly refrigerated and kept in a sealed container. However, some vegetables will only last around three days, and those with a high water content should be used up more quickly if possible.

Many people treat vegetable food safety with less seriousness than meat, and on the whole, meat is more dangerous when improperly handled. However, vegetables can be a breeding ground for dangerous bacteria, so be cautious and don’t assume that vegetables can be kept indefinitely.

Cooked vegetables will not keep as well as raw ones because they tend to be softer and have more moisture in them – and both conditions encourage mold to grow inside the vegetable. If you have a choice between storing your vegetables raw and cooking them, it’s generally better not to cook them.

In general, cooked vegetables like potatoes will last better than things like bell peppers and eggplants, because the moisture content is lower and the vegetable is firmer.

How Should You Store Vegetables in the Fridge?

Before putting cooked vegetables in the fridge, give them a little time to dry out if they have been boiled or steamed. You don’t need to actively dry them, but allowing some of the water to evaporate off before you put them in a container may help them to keep better.

Once your vegetables are reasonably dry, transfer them to an airtight container, put the lid on, and place them in the fridge. Being kept below 40 degrees F will slow the spread of bacteria and keep the vegetables good for longer.

You should allow vegetables to cool before you put them in the fridge, but do so as soon as you can once they are cool. Placing warm vegetables in the fridge can raise the overall fridge temperature and this may make your other foods deteriorate and go moldy faster.

What Happens If You Leave Vegetables At Room Temperature?

If you leave vegetables at room temperature for more than a couple of hours, bacteria will spread through them and make them unsafe to eat. You may find that vegetables are safe for an hour if the room is reasonably cool, but you should not leave vegetables out for more than two hours overall.

Many people do leave vegetables at room temperature for longer than two hours and find that there is no issue with reheating them, but it is best not to do this. Don’t eat vegetables that have been left out overnight or for several hours, even if you reheat them thoroughly. It’s possible that they could make you very sick.

How Do You Tell If Vegetables are No Longer Safe to Eat?

In general, vegetables will show signs of decay through scent and appearance. If you’re unsure about any vegetables that you have cooked, thoroughly inspect them. Mold may appear as white or blue or green flecks on the surface of the vegetables. You might also notice that they have a strange smell.

When you aren’t sure about vegetables, take them out of the fridge and inspect them thoroughly. You should look out for signs of discoloration or fuzzy flecks. If they have become very wet, they are more likely to be moldy.

The texture may also give you a clue. If the vegetables have turned mushy or slimy, they should be thrown away. Gently poke vegetables to test for the texture.

It’s best not to taste vegetables that you think have gone bad, but if you do, they will probably have a sour or sandy flavor. Do not eat them if they have any strange taste.

Can You Leave Vegetables in the Pan that They Were Cooked In?

It is better not to do this for several reasons. Firstly, the pan will likely stay hot for longer, and keep the vegetables hot for longer than if you transferred them to a new, cold container. Secondly, the pan may not be designed for long term storage.

If your vegetables are salty, they may ruin the coating on your pans if they are stored in them for long periods, and if the pans are made of aluminum or copper, they may leach chemicals into the food. Instead, transfer vegetables to a food-safe Tupperware and keep them there.

Can You Freeze Cooked Vegetables?

Yes, it’s safe to put cooked vegetables in the freezer. You should do this as soon as possible after cooking them, rather than keeping them in the fridge if you are not going to eat them soon after.

It’s again best to allow the vegetables to dry a little bit before freezing them, and to keep them in an airtight container to reduce freezer burn. Aim to use frozen vegetables up within twelve months, and defrost them in the fridge or the microwave.

Some vegetables will freeze better than others; things like potatoes, green peppers, celery, and cucumbers do not fare well in the freezer. They will turn limp and soggy.

Final Thoughts

Cooked vegetables will last for about three to seven days in the fridge, with canned vegetables faring better. If you have kept vegetables in the fridge for more than a week, they are likely to have gone bad, and they should be discarded.