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Re-heating re-heated food -

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 19, 2012 at 2:07 PM

I have always been told that you should never reheat food that has already been reheated after it has been cooked for food safety reasons. For example - I made a pot roast on Monday, reheated them on Tuesday, didn't eat all the left overs - and reheated them again for lunch the next day. I did not experience any ill effects. Is there actually a food safety issue with reheating food twice, or is this an Old Wives Tale?

PS No lectures on nutrient loss on reheating food - but I hate throwing food away, especially when it tastes damn good!

46c9fbd45b82453f6a2dfe614a853314

(1876)

on November 19, 2012
at 04:35 PM

Thank you! The issue was more that I my eyes were bigger than my appetite and I reheated more than I thought I could actually eat. It is certainly not something I make a habit of, but something I encounter periodically.

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2 Answers

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1
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on November 19, 2012
at 02:20 PM

It is not a myth. But it is not as prescriptive as you suggest.

In the restaurant business, most health departments have rules that say food can only be reheated once, and usually there is a very strict limitation on which foods can be reheated. For instance, any food that is prepared for consumption cannot be reheated period. And any food that sits out between 40 degrees and 140 degrees for more than 20 minutes cannot be reheated period.

The reason is that food is susceptible to bacteria between 40 and 140 degrees. The longer the food is at those temperatures, the higher the risk. It is cumulative because many of the food poison bacterias can go dormant in the freezer, thus freezing does not necessarily kill off the bacteria (and thus rendering it uninfected).

For home prep, it is really about how much of a risk are you willing to take. For me -- in the case of a stew -- I would bring it back to a boil and then let it simmer for 20 minutes. At that point I would be willing to eat it regardless of the number of times it has been reheated. In the restaurant business you would get a critical issue flag for doing that. If it were a chicken breast, then I would only reheat once before tossing the rest.

Off topic, but you can also just break up stews into individual freezer containers and then reheat smaller batches...

46c9fbd45b82453f6a2dfe614a853314

(1876)

on November 19, 2012
at 04:35 PM

Thank you! The issue was more that I my eyes were bigger than my appetite and I reheated more than I thought I could actually eat. It is certainly not something I make a habit of, but something I encounter periodically.

0
61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on November 20, 2012
at 02:54 AM

If I cook it, I may reheat it more than once. Sometimes my eyes are bigger than my stomach and I refuse to waste good food!

If it is take-out or restaurant leftovers, I will only reheat once and toss any leftovers after a few days.

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