We all have leftovers lurking in our refrigerator. Without a doubt, they are often lifeguards at the end of a long and hard day at work. But what we often don’t realize is that some of these foods cause more harm than good after being reheated. Since the decline in nutritional value to contamination by bacteria such as Escherechia coli or Salmonella , these risks to health are very real. Here are 7 foods that could be potentially unsafe to eat when they overheat – particularly if they were not cooked or stored properly.
There is a good reason why most people eat freshly made eggs . In addition to knowing much better, it is also safer to avoid reheating the eggs, unless you know how to do it well. Bacteria can develop at temperatures between 4 ° C and 60 ° F and spoil the food or make it sick. Therefore, it is never a good idea to leave cooked eggs at room temperature for a long time and reheat them for later use.
How to stay safe: You can store cooked egg dishes in the refrigerator for a few days, but you should consume them no later than 3 to 4 days later. Also, avoid keeping eggs out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours. And you should not more than an hour if the weather is warmer and temperatures are above 32 ° C. When reheating eggs, make sure they reach an internal temperature of at least 73 ° C before eating / serving them.
“A food that should never be reheated and reused is the oil that has been used for frying”.
Although it may seem like a waste to throw a large amount, it may be better for your health to do just that. When oil is heated to fry something, the structure of the oil is destabilized and it breaks. If it has been heated to more than 190 ° C, it accumulates a toxic substance called HNE or 4-hydroxy-2-trans-non-nuclear that raises your levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) bad cholesterol. This in turn is responsible for increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke, among other things.
How to stay safe: When any oil that has been heated for frying is reused, it decomposes even more and becomes more viscous and dark. If you notice that the reheated oil is sticky, dark, foamy or with a pungent smell, it is a sign that it is not safe to reuse it.
Potatoes come with a warning on this list. Not all potato-based foods are problematic when they overheat. It all depends on how well the potatoes store after cooking. Unfortunately, potatoes are the ideal environment for the culture of the botulism-causing bacteria Clostridium botulinum. If you leave them outside to cool to room temperature and do not store them to cool quickly in the refrigerator, you run the risk of allowing bacteria to thrive. If the potato is sealed, the oxygen is blocked, which makes it even more conducive for these bacteria to reproduce. This is also the reason why the storage of potatoes cooked in foil has been linked to some cases of botulism. Therefore, when they are finished reheating, especially if they are quickly placed in the microwave and the heat is not allowed to penetrate all the time, it could be a problem.
How to stay safe: Put the cooked potatoes in the refrigerator almost as soon as you have finished eating.
The rice to the like potatoes, may present a risk when reheated or reused. This is also due to bacteria that can multiply if cooked rice is not stored properly or if it is stored for too long. Rice has natural bacterial spores that can sometimes survive the cooking process. Under the right conditions, such as leaving it at room temperature, these spores multiply. Unfortunately, its overheating will not be enough to eliminate spores or potentially poisonous substances produced by rice. And that could cause a food poisoning attack.
How to stay safe: Be sure to store the rice as soon as possible after cooking. Also, do not overheat or eat rice that has been refrigerated for more than a day – it could cause digestive problems including diarrhea or vomiting.
Chicken is another preferred breeding ground for bacteria ranging from Escherichia coli to Salmonella and that can cause you to get sick with diarrhea or food poisoning. If the chicken you plan to reheat has not been cooked and stored properly, you run the risk of having these problems.
How to stay safe: Chicken, like any meat, should be prepared properly by cooking at least 73 ° C. Once cooked, it should be cooled and stored in the refrigerator within 2 hours of cooking. Have leftovers for a maximum of 2 or 3 days. Be sure to reheat the chicken for at least 2 minutes at a temperature of 70 ° C or higher. Take special care if you reheat in the microwave, as it is possible that the chicken does not heat up completely. Use a food thermometer to check if the temperature of the thickest / central portion of the chicken has reached at least 70º C.
Mushrooms are best consumed the same day. It is known that the protein content of fungi deteriorates rapidly if they are not stored correctly. It is also likely that fungi are infected by microorganisms.
How to stay safe: Store mushrooms in the coldest part of the refrigerator within 2 hours of cooking. Discard them if you have left them out for more than 2 hours. Use them in 24 hours. Heat it once to 70 ° C and avoid storing or reheating it further.
7. Spinach, Beet and Celery:
Spinach is a healthy food option that can give you lots of vitamins and minerals. However, it is also a vegetable with a high nitrate content. And while that is fine in itself, these nitrates become nitrites due to bacterial action – and this is not good if you are already consuming many nitrites and nitrates in your diet. Very high consumption of nitrites through diet has been linked to an increased risk of cancer. In babies, excess nitrite in the body is combined with oxyhemoglobin that carries oxygen to form methemoglobin that is not capable of transporting oxygen. This in turn can cause the “blue baby syndrome”, in which the baby has respiratory and digestive problems since the tissues lack oxygen supply. All this can happen if you don’t store and refrigerate spinach properly. If spinach has been purified, the conversion accelerates even more. Beet and celery are other vegetables with a high nitrate content that can have similar effects to spinach when they overheat.
But keep in mind that this connection is still slight. The European Food Information Council, which had suggested this link for the first time, has recanted following questions about the sufficiency of the evidence. More research and more extensive studies are needed to clearly establish what is happening and the extent of the risk. But still it is worth playing with caution and store these vegetables carefully.
How to stay safe: Scalding spinach and celery can eliminate some of the nitrates they contain. You can also cook them immediately after cutting them. Always cool cooked spinach quickly and store in the refrigerator as soon as possible after cooking. Store at 4 ° C for up to 12 hours. For longer, it is safer to freeze. While reheating, make sure it remains boiling for a minimum of 1 minute after it boils.
3 Tips to Store Food Well:
Remember, storing food well is as important as heating it well. As long as you follow these tips to store food and reheat food to 70 ° C, there is no reason to worry.
- Cool the food quickly:To prevent the growth of bacteria, cool the food quickly to reach the safe storage temperature in the 4 ° C refrigerator quickly. Divide large amounts of food into shallow containers. Quickly cool hot foods in an ice bath or cold water bath.
- Wrap leftovers well:Cover leftovers, wrap them in airtight containers or seal them in storage containers (except potatoes) for storage in the refrigerator. Immediately refrigerate or freeze wrapped leftovers for rapid cooling.
- Store leftovers safely:Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days or frozen (-15 ° C or less) for 3 to 4 months. Although they are safe indefinitely, frozen leftovers can lose moisture and flavor when stored longer in the freezer.