Signs You Should Toss Out Your Fruit Salad, Spaghetti, Lumpia, And Other Leftovers

You are not wasting food.

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Nobody likes to waste food, and that's a good reason to store any leftovers you had from the holidays in the refrigerator. However, not everyone is attentive to the food that you stored. Some may be eaten soon after storing while some may languish in the depths of the refrigerator, forgotten.

If you have leftover food such as spaghetti, macaroni salad, or even a fruit salad that wasn't stored in the freezer, you need to know if it's still okay and safe to eat. Contrary to what many believe, the refrigerator only stalls the passage of time instead of completely halting it. Food may and will still go bad even if stored correctly in the refrigerator. 

Should you ever have doubt about when you should throw away any leftovers, here are the signs you should watch out for that means your food has gone bad:

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1 The food has developed mold, smells off, or other signs it has spoiled.

Give the food a good look. If it has developed mold, it's best to toss this out since mold that is visible to your eye now has lodged itself deep within the food already. That's because mold spores are basically invisible to the naked eye since these are microscopic in size. So, even if you cannot see mold, it is already present in the air we breathe. While mold by itself is not dangerous, the sheer number of these is what can do harm. The fact that you're seeing it for the first time is a sign that it has vastly multiplied and that it has been stored for longer than it should have already. Toss the entire dish out to be safe.

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If the food smells off or has an odor that it shouldn't, this is another sign that it's gone bad and should be tossed out.

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2 It just doesn't taste right.

If the food looks fine, you may have given it a taste anyway. If at first taste the food doesn't taste right, it's a warning sign already. If the dish is fruit salad and it has a touch of sourness or tanginess that shouldn't be present, an ingredient in the dish has turned rancid and should be thrown out. If the dish has developed an earthy taste to the dish when it shouldn't, this may be mold and is best to toss out, too.

3 The pasta of the spaghetti and macaroni salad is mushy.

Anyone who loves making pasta probably cooks the pasta until just al dente. This means the pasta still has a "bite" or hardness to it. So, when you cooked it this way and your leftover pasta has become mushy even without reheating it, it's time to toss it out! The pasta has already begun to deteriorate and should be tossed out.

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If you didn't cook it al dente and it should be soft, one way to tell is if the elbow macaroni in your macaroni salad is softer than normal. When you can mash the pasta with a fork instead of cutting into the pasta, best to toss out the pasta dish.

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4 Meat, pasta, and other food feel slimy to the touch.

Even if the food looks fine, if you notice a glistening sheen on the food or if you touch the food and it feels slimy, this is a type of mold that is slime. This won't be pleasant to eat or to taste so best to toss it out before you do.

5 Green salads and other food that have changed color are probably spoiled.

If you prepared a green salad for the holidays, it's likely that if the green leaves are turned brown, it's best to toss it out. Any dressing you added prior to storing has likely made the leaves go brown too or even made it turn mushy faster. Toss these out.

Any food that changes color beyond what it normally looks like, such as beef that has gone from red to brown without any cooking or from a browned state to a gray or even green state should be tossed out as well. Check for off smells and a slimy texture along with the off colors of meat to give you more proof that it's best to toss out.

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Err on the side of caution! If you have any doubts that the leftover food you're about to eat is off in any way, pick another dish to eat. Your stomach as well as your taste buds will thank you.

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