How to Store Your Leftover Food to Prevent It From Spoiling

This can save your food from turning bad.

Photography: Shutterstock

The worst thing that can happen to your leftover food is that it goes bad. You may have stored it too long that it developed mold, turned sour, or it just dried up into something harder than bone. However, it's when you store leftover food diligently and still end up with food that goes bad that can be frustrating.

What's making your food turn bad faster than it should?

One possible reason is any of these:

  1. You returned leftover food into the pot.
  2. You handled the food with a used utensil.
  3. You stored leftover food without reheating.

Leftover food can be a food safety danger. That's because food naturally degrades over time and we can only freeze or slow its deterioration. Food that has been cooked can also harbor new organisms that may be become harmful if left to multiply as well.

The one thing you can do to solve this is to always reheat food before storing it. This is the leftover food storing step that can save your food from turning bad. The idea behind this is that any harmful bacteria will be killed in the cooking process. This is why cooked food lasts longer than raw food. You can do this in any number of ways. Here's how to do it:

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1. Boil then simmer for at least 5 minutes.

This works best with soups, stews, and anything that has a liquid or sauce. If the sauce is thick, add water to loosen the sauce before bringing it to a boil and simmering it down again to the thick sauce that it originally was.

2. Lightly fry food before consuming.

If you have fried food, you can store it immediately. However, you should refry the food in oil again or place it in the microwave, oven, air fryer, or toaster until reheated properly before consuming. 

Remember to stay safe when it comes to food since food poisoning can happen in your home. Here are basic reminders again on food storage safety, especially when it comes to your ulam:

  • Don't allow food to stay at room temperature for longer than four (4) hours to prevent bacteria from multiplying.
  • Cool then immediately store leftovers in clean and dry containers.
  • Reheat food to kill off any bacteria and prevent faster spoilage.

If you follow these steps, you can be more confident that your leftover food will turn into a fizzy bowl of soup the next day.

* * *

This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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