These Habits Make Food Spoil Faster

These are the most common mistakes you're making.

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This has happened to many of us: you stored leftover food in the refrigerator, thinking that it will last a few days only to find that it has already gone bad within the next day or two. You already know that you should be transferring any leftover food in containers and placing these in the refrigerator to keep it as fresh as possible but there are instances when this effort is not enough.    

You may not know it but you may be committing mistakes that cause your food to spoil faster. Here's what you're doing wrong and what you can do to make sure that you can keep your food safe to eat longer instead.  


1 You didn't simmer the food again before storing it. 

This is the biggest mistake home cooks make. If you're not reheating food until it has boiled for at least 5 minutes before storing, you're going to make your food spoil faster. By allowing the food to come to a boil before cooling and then storing it in the refrigerator, you not only stave off food spoilage, but you also make it safe to eat.

One of the benefits of reheating food is not just to make it hot again, but also to kill off any food-borne bacteria that may have begun to develop in the food as it sat on your stove or table. Remember that heat is your biggest defense against getting sick since the intense heat will make your food safe to consume again. 

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2 You do not use serving spoons. 

The use of servings spoons and forks are sometimes disregarded when eating at home because we are after all family. Plus, it limits the number of dishes and utensils the designated dishwasher has to clean up.  

However, the use of serving plates and utensils is not only just for show, and there's a good reason why serving spoons and forks should be used at home, too.

Why? Using serving spoons prevents the cross-contamination of the food with the utensils that you and your family are using to eat. Not using serving utensils will not only speed up the spoilage of your food later on, but it can also pass on infectious illnesses from one person to the next if possible. You avoid this by using designated utensils for dishing out food to your dining plates.  

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3 You returned leftover food to the pot. 

This is another common mistake many people make. Dishing out food into serving plates and bowls is a common practice but it is also a common practice to not finish off everything. If you return food to the pot or pan from these serving bowls, you may be in danger of making it spoil faster, especially if you do not use separate spoons or forks to serve the food. 

The concept is the same as not simmering the food before storing but with the added aspect of it being exposed even more to food-borne bacteria because it may be contaminated by used utensils. To eliminate this danger, either simmer the entire pot of food before storing or keep this leftover food separate from the rest of the pot so it doesn't mix and become unsafe to consume later on. 

Photo by Riell Santos

4 You don't store creamy dishes immediately.

The fastest food to spoil is those with dairy products. Dairy products are notorious for spoiling easily and this is especially true for any dish that is creamy. Whether it has milk, cream, butter, and even processed cheese, the food is more likely to spoil faster just because it contains the ingredient. 

It's not the dish itself that makes the spoilage faster, but the milk itself that bacteria loves. If you store your milk and your cheese in the wrong part of your refrigerator, you know that it spoils faster in the areas that are not the coolest. The warmth of your kitchen is actually enough to start the development of bacteria! With milky and creamy dishes, store these immediately and properly after eating so you can stave off spoilage longer. 

Are you committing any of these mistakes? While you cannot prevent your food from spoiling, you can keep it edible and safe to eat for a longer period of time by knowing the mistakes you make when handling food incorrectly.  




Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

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