We all love to order Chinese food, not just for its delicious taste, but also for its quantity, as many Chinese restaurants offer large portions. And this makes us order more Chinese food than we need.
But what do you do if you have leftovers and don’t want to eat them anytime soon? Can it be frozen? Or how long is it good for?
Your Chinese food should stay good for about 2 to 3 days. However, to store it for later use, you must know the date when it was cooked.
Also, you must be able to tell whether and when your dish has gone bad by tasting it or doing a smell test.
Now that you know that you can store your Chinese food for later use, you must be wondering how to do so. Then, read on to know the ideal way to freeze your food.
How Long Can Chinese Food Last In The Fridge And Freezer?
Chinese food can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days. However, most people only keep it around 2 to 3 days. After this time, you are at risk of contracting food poisoning depending on what was in your food.
Bacteria found in food-borne illnesses typically do not affect the taste, appearance, or odor of the food. As a result, there is no way of knowing if your Chinese food from the past week is still edible.
To be safe, don’t keep your food in the refrigerator for any longer than this timeframe.
Here’s an interesting fact that we are sure you weren’t aware of. You can extend the shelf life of leftover Chinese food by freezing it! And, get this, it can be frozen for more than 3 months!
Foods like chow mein, fried rice, and other main course dishes can be stored in the freezer for an extended period of time. If done correctly, freezing them will have no effect on their quality or taste!
At this point, we would like to point out that home-cooked Chinese food freezes better than takeout. Don’t worry; your leftover takeaway can still be frozen. You simply have to eat it within 1 to 2 months rather than longer.
However, in order to relish frozen Chinese food, you must first understand how to freeze it well and then properly reheat it.
How To Store Your Chinese Food In The Refrigerator
Here is what you need to know before placing your food in the refrigerator.
These are some tips that can save your food from getting freezer burned.
- Keep your refrigerator temperature below 40° F. Bacteria that completely ruin food keep growing at this temperature.
- Food should be stored quickly. Perishable foods should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours.
- All foods should be wrapped or stored in covered containers. If the package is torn, keep the food in its original packaging. If you are re-wrapping, make sure to seal storage containers tightly to prevent loss of moisture and odor absorption.
- Avoid stuffing your fridge to the brim, as the food requires space for the air to properly circulate.
- If the food contains mold, dispose of it in a wrapper or bag to prevent mold spores from spreading.
- To remove mold spores, clean the moldy food’s container as well as the refrigerator or pantry. Because mold spreads quickly on vegetables and fruits inspect any items that may have been in contact with the moldy food.
- Sweep out your refrigerator once a week. Rather than risking food poisoning, throw out any suspect foods. When in doubt, toss it out!
Freezing Your Chinese Food
Follow these simple steps to get the most out of your takeout food if you freeze it:
- If you don’t store Chinese food correctly, it will spoil way quicker than it should
- Keep your meals in sealed containers at all times
- Take it out of the container it came in. They are not suitable for long-term storage
- Remember to put your Chinese food in the fridge within 2 hours of making it.
- You can also use cling wrap to wrap your food. The greater the amount of air removed from the containers, the better.
What Is The Best Method To Freeze Your Chinese Food?
If you are planning to freeze it for an extended period, there are two approaches you could take.
Freezer-Friendly Plastic Bags
This is one of the approaches, but experts advise against trying this one, primarily because it would necessitate more effort and cautiousness on your part.
However, if you still do, make certain that your containers are wholly airtight and have no leaks. Once frozen, store it in a way that other foods do not overlap with Chinese food.
Plastic/Aluminum Resealable Containers
When it comes to freezing most leftover food, plastic tubs that are airtight and can be frozen are your best bet. However, aluminum ones with tight seal-ability are also an option.
Before you start freezing, you should likely know what to avoid when freezing Chinese food so that now you understand what to freeze it in.
- Frozen items or items containing a lot of oil should not be frozen. When you thaw it, it will not pass the quality check
- Allow your Chinese food to reach room temperature before freezing. When hot food is frozen immediately, it could cause freezer burns
- Cooked food should be frozen within 2 hours of being cooked. When freezing takeout food, freeze it immediately rather than after you’ve finished eating some of it
- Always be cautious because you never know how long you’ve been seated out at the restaurant
- When freezing pre-packaged food for future use, ensure that you cook the rice or chow mein slightly before it is fully cooked. This way, when you thaw your food, you won’t overcook it.
What Is The Best Way To Thaw Chinese Food?
As with most frozen foods, the slow and gradual approach is the best method to thaw/defrost Chinese food. You don’t want to find a fast way to thaw your food because it could promote the growth of bacteria.
Allow your food to thaw gently and evenly in the refrigerator overnight.
Food defrosted in the oven or microwave may promote the growth of bacteria and deteriorate the crunchiness of your food.
That is not something we want!
How Long May Chinese Cuisine Be Kept Out In The Open?
No packaged food is safe to consume after sitting out at room temperature for more than 2 hours, according to the USDA.
As a result, Chinese food can only be left out unrefrigerated for two hours until it becomes unsafe to eat.
How Can Chinese Food Be Reheated?
Assume you saved your surplus Chinese food for a month. You just remembered and left it in the refrigerator to thaw overnight.
But, now that you’ve got perfectly fine Chinese food on hand, how do you heat it to make the most of it?
There are two options here:
1. Heat On A Pan or Skillet
Your first (and finest!) option is to heat your food in a skillet or pan. Simply heat some oil in a pan, toss in your rice, and cook until it is tender.
This will not only guarantee that your food is evenly heated but it will also improve the texture and keep your leftover Chinese from becoming mushy.
2. Use A Microwave
You can also reheat leftovers in the microwave. You may want to let your food reach room temperature first.
Then, put your food in a microwave-safe pan and add a few drops of water to prevent it from drying out. If the rice is gushing out of the container, put an upside-down ceramic place on top of it.
How To Know If Your Chinese Food Is No Longer Safe To Eat?
As previously stated, there is no right way of telling if your Chinese food is becoming contaminated with harmful bacteria. However, there is one option.
After you’ve defrosted and reheated your Chinese leftover food, perform a smell test. If your food has already gone bad and is no longer safe to eat, it will undoubtedly cultivate a foul, oily odor.
If it doesn’t feel any distinct from when it was frozen, go ahead and taste it.
The most effective way to approach this is to trust your instincts. If your food does not smell strange but you suspect it tastes subtly different, you should not use it.
Final Words on How Long Chinese Food Lasts
No one wants to waste their food, therefore the best option is to store it. However, you can keep them for a long time if properly stored in the fridge. Also, it takes a minimum of 2 days for your Chinese food to go bad if you do not store it correctly.
As a result, you should freeze your Chinese food as they mentioned in this blog to keep them fresh for at least 3 to 4 months.