Unlike packaged foods available. If homemade leftovers can still consume. Use your senses and your best guess is usually the best way to determine if there was good food to eat or not.
Nobody likes wasting perfectly good food, but since leftovers don’t come with convenient “best by” and “sell by” dates, it can be hard to determine whether your homemade dishes are OK to eat or not. Here are some signs you may want to get rid of your leftovers instead of eating them.
According to State Food Safety, leftover food should be tossed after one week — but according to the USDA, a number of foods should actually be thrown out before that seven-day mark.
For example, per the USDA, cooked patties, soups, stews, and casseroles, should be in your fridge for no longer than three or four days.
That said, if you’re unsure of how long a food has been in your fridge, there are a few other signs you should toss your leftovers.
If your food looks moldy, it should be thrown out immediately. According to USDA guidelines, molding foods can have invisible bacteria and some forms of mold can cause illness, allergic reactions, and respiratory problems.
If a food shows no sign of mold, but you’re still unsure if you can eat it or not, try another method of inspecting it for freshness.
Before you eat anything, carefully check the food and ask yourself if all of the components are the same color as they were when you cooked them. For example, if beef turns from brown to gray or lettuce goes from green to brown.
If a food no longer looks like the color it is supposed to be, then it’s likely unsafe to eat. This leftover-checking method is most effective for meals that contain fresh ingredients such as produce, meat, and fresh dairy. For meals made with ingredients that contain preservatives, color can be misleading and you may want to look for other red flags.