There’s nothing like eating a great meal two nights in a row. How can you make the most out of your leftovers? When should you throw them away? Here are the answers to 10 frequently asked leftover questions:

Question: How long before I need to refrigerate my leftovers?
Answer: Within two hours after cooking.

Question: How long can I keep refrigerated leftovers?
Answer: About three to five days.

Question: How do I store leftovers?
Answer: Store in airtight, shallow (1- to 2-inch deep) containers.

Question: At what temperature should I keep my refrigerator?
Answer: 40°F.

Question: How can I keep track of how old my leftovers are?
Answer: Label and date every container.

Question: What if I’m unsure how long my leftovers will keep?
Answer: Check them daily for spoilage.

Question: What should I do if I suspect a leftover has gone bad?
Answer: If in doubt, throw it out. NEVER taste a questionable leftover.

Question: What if my refrigerator is too full for everything?
Answer: Get rid of a few things—cold air needs to circulate in order to keep foods fresh.

Question: How long can I keep cooked meat and meat dishes?
Answer: Three to four days in the refrigerator and two to three months in the freezer.

Question: How long can I keep cooked chicken and chicken dishes?
Answer: Three to four days in the refrigerator and four to six months in the freezer.


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