Food waste is a matter of major concern the world over, and many of us try to avoid throwing leftover food away. Unfortunately, we sometimes overestimate the amount of food we need to prepare for our families. So we end up with leftover food like cooked veggies.
Learning how long cooked vegetables can last in the refrigerator can help you avoid wasting food and ensure you do not eat bad food.
Here, we’ll discuss how long cooked vegetables can be stored in the fridge and at room temperature.
How Long Can Cooked Veggies Stay In The Fridge?
If stored properly in a sealed container, cooked veggies like potatoes, turnips, and carrots can last between 3 and 7 days in the fridge. However, cooked canned veggies can last as long as 7 to 10 days.
What determines the amount of time cooked vegetables take to get spoiled is bacteria growth.
Bacteria like salmonella can accumulate very fast and can cause illness. Cooked veggies have more moisture content than fresh ones, and bacteria thrive in moist conditions. That’s why fresh vegetables last longer than cooked vegetables in the fridge.
How Long Can Cooked Veggies Stay at Room Temperature?
Food hanging out at room temperature is a formula for disaster and food poisoning. Cooked vegetables are not different. They are much more likely to go bad if they stay at room temperature for more than two hours.
During the summer, your kitchen will obviously be warmer. This is not the best time to store food at room temperature because it is hotter.
Most food-borne bacteria grow quickly between 4.5°C and 60°C ( 40 °F to 140 °F) – a range of temperature known as the danger zone. If you leave cooked veggies in your kitchen between this range for any amount of time, chances are they will develop bad bacteria.
Here are some best practices to follow:
- Store your cooked vegetables in airtight containers. Unsealed containers are a good environment for bad bacteria to thrive.
- Store cooked veggies in the fridge within two hours after cooking to avoid giving bacteria an opportunity to grow.
- Always get rid of any cooked veggies after seven days and watch out for any signs that show they have turned bad before
Signs That Cooked Veggies Have Gone Bad
Once the bacteria begins to break down the food molecules, it produces some sure-fire signs. These include when the vegetables:
- Have developed a greasy film
- Have mold
- Are discolored
- Have changed in texture
Those are all telltale signs that your cooked vegetables have turned bad, and you should discard them.
Keep in mind that it is still possible to get sick from leftover vegetables that do not show these signs. So make sure you know when you store cooked veggies in the refrigerator and throw them out after seven days.
As with any perishable foods you plan on consuming, it is important to properly store cooked vegetables because bacteria can accumulate on them, leading to food poisoning. Keeping your cooked veggies in the refrigerator is a fantastic way to save time, money, and the environment.