If you have ever ended up with leftover Chinese food in the fridge and found yourself wondering whether it is still okay to eat, you aren’t alone. Chinese food often results in leftovers because there are so many delicious dishes to try – but how long do these remain safe to consume?
How long does Chinese food last in the fridge? As long as you store the Chinese food in the fridge, it should last between 3 and 4 days, although different ingredients might result in different longevity. Don’t eat Chinese food that has been left at room temperature; this isn’t safe. Chinese food must be refrigerated as soon as it is cool enough.
How Long Does Chinese Food Last in the Fridge?
In general, Chinese food will last for about 3 or 4 days in the fridge. If you have purchased something with a particularly short shelf life, such as shrimp, you may wish to use the food up more quickly, because it may not be safe to store it for as long.
It’s important to think about all of the ingredients in your meal when you assess its storage. These will make a difference to how long you can keep it for. Vegetable-based dishes should last longer than meat ones.
Always use the shortest shelf-life ingredient to make the assessment of how long the food should last. If the shortest shelf-life ingredient will only keep for 2 days but the rest of the food would usually keep for 4, make sure you are using it up within 2 days. Contamination will quickly spread throughout the dish and there is no way to avoid this.
How Do You Make Chinese Food Last for Longer?
To maximize the shelf life of your Chinese food, put it into a clean, airtight container before refrigerating it. Some takeout containers are not fit for long-term storage, so choose a proper food-safe container, and make sure that it has a good seal.
Minimizing the airflow is a good way to ensure that the food lasts well, so keep the lid on at all times, and keep it cold. Above 40 degrees F, bacteria grows in food very much faster, so it is important to ensure the food is chilled at all times. As soon as your food has cooled to room temperature, transfer it to the fridge.
Don’t put the food in the fridge before it reaches room temperature, however. Putting hot food in your fridge raises the temperature inside the fridge and can compromise the safety of the other food you have in there.
You can cool Chinese food quickly by spreading it out so that the heat can dissipate. Tipping it into a cold container will also help.
Can You Leave Chinese Food on the Counter?
No, you can’t leave Chinese food on the counter. Food that is left at room temperature for more than two hours becomes unsafe to eat and should be thrown away.
This is true even if you have vegetarian Chinese food; it will still grow bacteria too quickly for it to be safe to eat. Reheating will not get rid of the toxins produced by this bacteria, even if it kills the bacteria, so make sure you refrigerate the food as soon as it is cool enough for you to do so.
If the room is hot (90 degrees or more), you will need to refrigerate the food within an hour in order to maintain its safety.
Can You Freeze Chinese Food?
If you aren’t going to use Chinese food up fast enough, you may be wondering whether you can put it in the freezer. Often, you can, although some ingredients may not freeze particularly well. Eggs can take on a rubbery texture, for example.
If you are going to freeze the Chinese food, make sure you prioritize putting it in the freezer as soon as you can. This increases the chances of it lasting well and ensures that it is as fresh as possible when you come to defrost it.
When you are ready to eat the Chinese food, thaw it in the fridge overnight. Only microwave it to defrost it if you are going to eat all of it straight away, as it will not be safe to store it again once it has been microwaved.
How Do You Know If Chinese Food Has Gone Bad?
It can be challenging to tell if Chinese food has gone bad, so don’t eat it after about 3 or 4 days. You can also check the food by smelling and inspecting it, and looking for changes in its appearance and texture, although this will not give you a definitive answer.
If the food has developed a slimy or squishy texture, it is no longer good to eat. Gently poking it should tell you whether this has occurred.
Secondly, if the food has notably changed in color, it may have gone off. Meat, for example, often takes on a gray hue, or may develop little white or blue flecks on its surface. Vegetables may turn gray or moldy.
The smell is often another good indication. If the food smells vinegary or sour, it is no longer safe to eat. When in doubt, discard the food, as food poisoning can be serious and even fatal in some cases.
Can You Safely Reheat Chinese Food?
Yes, you can microwave Chinese food to reheat it safely. However, you should minimize how often you reheat it, because each time it will pass through the “danger zone” at which bacteria’s reproduction rate is massively increased.
It is best to reheat Chinese food in small portions and leave the remainder in the fridge. This will ensure it stays as fresh as possible for as long as possible.
You can usually keep Chinese food in the fridge for a few days. As long as you are prompt about refrigerating the food, even meat and fish should keep reasonably well, although it is always best to be cautious. Do not eat Chinese food that is more than 4 days old, or that has developed a strange smell or appearance.