Fact or fable: you have to let leftovers cool down before storing them in the fridge


This is what you should really do with your leftovers

Storing leftovers is really handy; you don’t have to throw any food away and you’ve got yourself a ready made dinner later in the week. But it’s not always all that easy to know how exactly you should be storing your leftover dinner. Can you put it in the fridge while it’s still warm? Or do you have to let the food cool down completely before transferring it to the fridge? We’ve got the answer to this burning question!

Do you really have to let the food cool down?


Perhaps you remember your mother or grandmother telling you that you should always let your leftovers cool down outside of the fridge before storing them inside it. But have you ever asked them why this is the right procedure? They probably didn’t have a clear answer to that question. That’s about right, because the ‘fact’ that you should let your food cool down first is a myth! In fact, letting the food sit outside of the fridge actually gives bacteria a chance to grow.


When food gets down to room temperature and remains so for two hours, bacteria start to develop and grow. That’s why leaving your food to cool down completely outside of the fridge actually increases the risk of you putting food with a whole bunch of bacteria in the fridge later. It’s best to keep the food at a temperature of 75 °C or put it in the fridge straight away. Another mystery solved!


It’s also important to make sure your refrigerator runs at the right temperature. The optimum temperature for your kitchen fridge lies between 0 and 4 degrees Celsius. Fungi and bacteria hardly get the chance to grow at these temperatures. Research has shown that loads of people aren’t even aware of the temperature of their fridge and that some fridges are as warm as 11 degrees Celsius. Listeria, which is food poisoning bacterium, grows at temperature about 5 degrees Celsius, so 11 degrees is much too high!

Read more: Which condiments should be kept in the fridge and which shouldn’t? We’ve got the answer!

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Source: Libelle.be | Image: FlickrKathleen Franklin, Introducing….My Fridge, license CC BY 2.0