If You Eat Leftovers You Should Stop Doing It Right Now – If you eat leftovers you will die. You could, of course, also be perfectly fine, and suffer no ill effects whatsoever. But unbeknownst to millions of people all over the world, last night’s harmless leftover steak and potatoes can harbor secret threats, and yes, a chance that you could actually die all because you decided to skip the rest of your main course and dive straight into dessert.
But why are leftovers so potentially dangerous, and what foods are more dangerous than others? Stay tuned as we explore why and how cold potatoes can and will end your life. From the moment a searing steak leaves the pan and hits your plate, bacteria start to invade it and multiply at alarming rates.
You may keep a spic and span kitchen, but germs are a persistent bunch and can survive even harsh cleaning chemicals. Also, countless studies have shown that most people don’t wash their hands nearly thoroughly enough to make a dent in the populations of bacteria happily making your digits their home and hearth.
What’s all that really mean though? Well, you know that plate you hand washed? Soap alone without appropriate friction is pretty lousy at killing off bacteria, so odds are that with the lazy two or three passes you gave it with the sponge, most of the bacteria that were feasting on your leftovers are all still there.
Your sponge itself by the way is practically bacteria nirvana, and most dish sponges are teeming with all sorts of stupidly dangerous bacteria. Every time you wipe your plate with a dirty sponge you’re less cleaning it and more simply smearing more harmful bacteria around, ensuring they’ll find their way to your food and into your body.
Then of course there’s your filthy hands and the billions of germs they come in contact with every day on various surfaces. Be honest with yourself, when’s the last time you washed your hands before eating? We thought so. Keep that in mind next time you’re chowing down on a burger at a restaurant and reach for the same sticky bottle of ketchup hundreds of people before you have manhandled before going back to pawing their burger buns.
Scientists caution that you should limit the amount of time food is in the ‘danger zone’, or between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit (4 and 60 C). These are the temperatures in which bacteria grow best, and every second your food spends in this danger zone is more bacteria you’ll soon be ingesting.
Our advice is to simply flip food straight from the red-hot pan into your mouth to be safe the searing burns you receive will destroy the bacteria that are already inside your mouth and throat because yes, harmful bacteria live even there. See, even your own insides aren’t safe. But suppose you’re like most people and enjoy a leisurely meal while watching another new episode of Stranger Things, and then after you’re done eating you realize you have plenty leftover for tomorrow.
In that case you probably do like just about any normal person, and stick the leftovers in tupperware or perhaps wrap them in plastic wrap and stick them in the fridge. Congratulations, now you’re probably going to die. But wait, because if you must eat leftovers, then there’s ways to make sure that you limit the hazards of spoiled food.
First, you should be aware that the fabled ‘smell’ or ‘taste’ test are not a valid means of ascertaining if food is still good to eat. Most bacteria simply don’t smell or taste like anything, even in really large numbers,and so food that smells, looks, and tastes perfectly fine could be in fact teeming with bacteria waiting to murder you.
The FDA recommends that you keep leftovers for no more than four days, after which even if they are kept refrigerated they should be tossed out. If you freeze food you can safely do so for three months, after which the bacteria’s society will have acclimated to an ice age civilization and begun to thrive once more.
Actually, no, it’s because generally speaking food tastes terrible after three months. Though many sources warn about the dangers of eating food frozen for too long, we’re going to call BS on that seeing as on January 17th, 1951, attendees to the Explorer’s Club 47th Annual Dinner ate 250,000 year old mammoth that had been frozen in permafrost.
If you insist on gambling with your life and eating leftover food though, the most important thing to remember is to cook your food until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 165 F, to ensure you kill off any surviving bacteria. If cooking in a microwave remember to turn your food regularly and even flip it, to ensure that it gets cooked regularly.
Slow cookers such as crock pots are very bad ideas for reheating leftovers as they often won’t heat food hot enough to actually kill bacteria. But what types of food should you never reheat? Aside from all of them, the following are particularly risky: Potatoes are pretty much the best vegetable in the world.
It makes up the better half of burgers and fries, and can be fried, baked, mashed, steamed,and seared without tasting terrible. Unfortunately potatoes are not as friendly as they seem, and for centuries they have been plotting their slow revenge on mankind for the way we dump their brethren into pots full of hot oil and baking ovens every day.
While a normal, uncooked potato is pretty harmless, once potatoes that are cooked begin to be left to cool at room temperature they can begin to form the bacteria which causes botulism and this is especially true if you wrap the potato up tightly in foil so as to keep oxygen out. Botulism can be so resilient that even reheating the potato may not be enough to kill the bacteria off.
Next time you decide to go out for dinner we recommend you order the french fries, because it’s us or them and we have to eat them all before they wipe humanity out once and for all. Most people love having mushrooms on their pizza, and these people are not your friends because fungus is not a food.
However if you happen to be a filthy fungus eater, you should be aware that after cooking mushrooms and then leaving them to sit at room temperature, proteins in the mushroom can be damaged and broken down by enzymes and bacteria. This can give you a pretty upset stomach, which isn’t as metal as potatoes literally breeding botulism to try and kill you before you can eat them, but still unpleasant.
Chicken is great for your health, and every doctor will recommend a healthy chicken diet over consuming lots of red meat. Yet when it comes to reheating, chicken is an absolute nightmare of bacterial overgrowth. If you do reheat chicken, you must ensure that it is evenly heated to at least 175 degrees, and it must never have been allowed to dip above 42 degrees while stored in the refrigerator.
If your chicken has been stored for longer than three days, just forget about it and toss it. Scientists are unsure why chicken is so dangerous compared to other meats, but have agreed it’s probably due to the same glitch in the matrix that causes most foods to taste like chicken because the machines have no taste buds.
Chicken is clearly out to murder us, and its attempts to end mankind begin even before it’s hatched out of its egg. The FDA recommends that you never leave cooked eggs out of the refrigerator for more than two hours, or one hour in hot weather. Salmonella multiplies stupidly fast in eggs and can leave you with a serious case of the Hershey Squirts or even be fatal.
The two hour/one hour rule by the way applies to any dish with egg in it, to include quiche and even casserole. Salmonella doesn’t discriminate, if a dish has so much as a hit of egg in it it’s going to jump right in and start binary fissioning all over the place- that’s the asexual process of bacterial reproduction by the way.
So next time you’re staying at a hotel and they have eggs on offer at the breakfast buffet, just skip on them and then call the police, because that hotel just tried to kill you. Who hasn’t reheated chinese food leftovers in their day? Well, people who don’t want to die, that’s who. It turns out that rice is also extremely hazardous to your health if eaten as a leftover, and that’s because cooked rice can become contaminated by a bacterium called Bacillus cereus.
While the bacteria itself can be destroyed with appropriate heating, it is able to produce spores that are very heat resistant, and toxic to consume. So while you may have killed off the actual bacteria, their children are hidden amongst your rice grains, waiting to wreak vengeance upon you for the deaths of their fathers.
Sort of like a food Taliban if you will. If you have to eat leftover rice make sure that you reheat it thoroughly, and if microwaving it that means taking it out, stirring it up, and sending it for another round of microwave radiation, but let’s be real, you know you have literally never done that before in your life because nobody does.
We just scarf down the boiling hot food at the top of our dish and try to mix it with the freezing cold food at the bottom. Aint’ nobody got time for proper food reheating techniques, but you should make the time,because after you die due to food poisoning you’ll definitely not have the time. If chicken is bad, seafood is worse.
In fact, the FDA recommends that you immediately toss out seafood if it’s been left out for more than two hours in cool weather or one hour in warm weather. Turns out that bacteria absolutely love growing on seafood, and unless the fish or shrimp you’re enjoying was caught and then immediately frozen, you’re probably in for a very long stay in the bathroom if you try to reheat old seafood.
Even worse, it’s basically impossible to tell when seafood has gone bad because well, it always smells like it’s gone bad- even when fresh. Take it from us and just stick to eating land animals, man was never meant to enter the briny depths of Poseidon’s realm, and doing so is likely to end up with the mighty god of the seas smiting you with explosive diarrhea.
Most of the food we’ve featured in this episode has been meats, which probably leaves plenty of you vegetarians feeling pretty self-satisfied at your lifestyle choice right now, convinced of your own immortality versus carnivores. Well, you leaf-eaters should think twice because it turns out that reheating root and leafy vegetables is potentially just as if not more fatal than reheating old chicken.
Spinach, lettuce, cress, and celery to name a few are vegetables rich in nitrates, which happen to be pretty good for the body. However when you reheat one of these vegetables the nitrites can convert into nitrosamines,and these are well documented carcinogens. Sure, old chicken could make you spend the next day and a half on the toilet, but spinach will straight up give you cancer if you reheat it.
Think you’re safe because you eat only kale and sunshine? Think again, not only does kale taste terrible but it is also silently biding its time, waiting for you to make the mistake of reheating it as leftovers, so it can unleash deadly carcinogens into your body. It turns out that eating leftover food is a pretty terrible idea, and some everyday dishes that we never even thought of as harmful can be pretty deadly even if properly reheated.
After watching this episode, we wouldn’t blame you if you opted to never eat leftovers again,but then again everybody knows that day old pizza is the best. While one takeaway from today’s episode is that we should only cook or order enough food to satisfy a normal sized appetite and not gorge ourselves on dangerous leftovers after wards, another is that food is dangerous and constantly trying to kill us, so we should eat as much of it as possible because at this point it’s either us, or it’s the food. This planet isn’t big enough for both of us.
Think you’re going to keep eating leftovers? Do you like to live dangerously? Who will win the war between mankind and potatoes? Let us know in the comments.