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  #1  
Old 11-04-2009, 07:31 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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How long for leftover chili in the refrigerator?

I've been thinking that with prices rising in the cafeteria, I'd like to try the avenue of cooking up a big heaping batch of something once every week or two, and bringing a lunch to be microwaved. And last week, I made some chili for a potluck that seemed to work well enough, and I'd like to play around with the recipe, so that seems like it'd be a perfect match. But my freezer is teeny-tiny, only barely large enough for the things I keep in it as it is, so I'd have to keep my fortnight of lunches in the refrigerator, instead. So the question is, how long will leftover chili stay good in the refrigerator?
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  #2  
Old 11-04-2009, 07:35 PM
Amazingrace Amazingrace is offline
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According to stilltasty.com, you're looking at about 3-4 days. Not a fortnight, but maybe this will let you play around with a recipe once a week without burning out on chili.

http://stilltasty.com/fooditems/index/16809
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  #3  
Old 11-04-2009, 08:03 PM
Hockey Monkey Hockey Monkey is offline
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I'd go not more than 5 days personally.
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Old 11-04-2009, 08:22 PM
Ike Witt Ike Witt is offline
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of course freezing lunch sized portions of many different things may help keep lunches from being boring....
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  #5  
Old 11-04-2009, 08:36 PM
Omniscient Omniscient is online now
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Eh, most people are far too conservative on stuff like this. For something thoroughly cooked, salty and somewhat acidic it'll keep pretty well in the fridge. I'd go 7 days easy on chili, so long as it doesn't smell funky and isn't growing anything. 10 days is even a possibility if I were to heat it back to boiling and simmer it for a couple minutes on the stove before eating.

That said, you should be able to portion it out and find room in your freezer for a handful of servings. Buy some small freezer bags, the smallest you can get, sandwich sized, and dish the chili into them. Lay them flat and freeze, they will hardly take up any space at all and once they are solid they can stack or tuck into whatever nooks and crannies are still available.

Another great one is lasagna. It keeps well, reheats well and can be cut up into serving sized chunks wrapped and frozen into small easily packable sizes.

In short, your plan is fine. Make a big batch of chili and lasagna on the weekend. Portion and refrigerate half of each and freeze a couple servings of both too. It'll take up less space than a couple of ice trays and you can eat some this week and some in a month. Rinse, lather, repeat.
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Old 11-04-2009, 09:52 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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When I said that I only had barely enough freezer space as it is, I meant it: I already have every nook and cranny filled. I might be able to fit a couple in at times when various other freezer-contents are running low, but that can hardly be counted on. So it's the fridge or nothing.

I imagine that what I really ought to do is get a small standalone freezer, but given that I hope to be moving out within a couple of years, now might not be the right time.
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Old 11-04-2009, 10:09 PM
Omniscient Omniscient is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
When I said that I only had barely enough freezer space as it is, I meant it: I already have every nook and cranny filled. I might be able to fit a couple in at times when various other freezer-contents are running low, but that can hardly be counted on. So it's the fridge or nothing.

I imagine that what I really ought to do is get a small standalone freezer, but given that I hope to be moving out within a couple of years, now might not be the right time.
That's a plan. Those mini freezers are really cheap, like $200 tops. You'd make up that money in savings in a hurry by cooking for yourself and buying some stuff in bulk.

If you can't fit leftover chili and lasagna in your fridge I'm forced to ask what you possibly could have in there that's more important. I mean, if you're keeping multiple containers of ice cream and huge bulk bags of chicken breasts and bags of ice it seems that it might be worth sacrificing something else in order to bring lunches to work.
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Old 11-04-2009, 11:05 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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If you can't fit leftover chili and lasagna in your fridge
Freezer, not fridge. The above-freezing part is plenty roomy. But the freezer contains two cartons of ice cream, 3-4 frozen pizzas for the days when I don't feel like putting any effort into supper, a package of frozen bread dough, a pack of hot dogs, and a pound of kielbasa. It really is tiny, and it's not helped any by its tendency to frost up heavily within a month or so.
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Old 11-05-2009, 01:17 AM
GameHat GameHat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omniscient View Post
Eh, most people are far too conservative on stuff like this. For something thoroughly cooked, salty and somewhat acidic it'll keep pretty well in the fridge. I'd go 7 days easy on chili, so long as it doesn't smell funky and isn't growing anything. 10 days is even a possibility if I were to heat it back to boiling and simmer it for a couple minutes on the stove before eating.
Food safety is one thing. Taste is another.

I won't even begin to comment on how long chili, refrigerated, is "safe" to eat. Like Omniscient said - the salty and acidic nature helps this. I've pushed it to two weeks without getting poisoned, but I don't in any way endorse this.

Chili - at least my chili - starts getting "off" flavors around 4-5 days in the fridge. And no, I don't have a stank fridge. I keep it pretty clean, and rarely full of other "aromatic" foods. I don't think this is microbial or fungal, just the nature of a bunch of wonderful complex chemical flavors...well...being subjected to normal entropy.

Good chili doesn't keep long in the fridge, at least in my experience. Cook it, then eat most of it. Freezing is usually ok.
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  #10  
Old 11-05-2009, 07:29 AM
WOOKINPANUB WOOKINPANUB is offline
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I've kept my chili for over a week and it was even more delicious than the first day (if I do say so myself).
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  #11  
Old 11-05-2009, 07:37 AM
Manda JO Manda JO is online now
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This sounds a bit dumb, but do you have access to a freezer at work? I am pretty sure the one in our lounge is more or less empty.
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  #12  
Old 11-05-2009, 09:52 AM
pan1 pan1 is offline
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I make chili in a 5 gallon pot- it starts as 5 gallons but boils down to 2+ by time its ready to eat.

We make room in the fridge for the pot and keep it for up to a week. But, we boil it everytime we take it out to eat more.

Since my kids became teenagers. It doesn't last more then 2-3 days.
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:49 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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This sounds a bit dumb, but do you have access to a freezer at work? I am pretty sure the one in our lounge is more or less empty.
Now that you mention it...

I just checked, and unsurprisingly it's even teenier tinier than mine, but it's completely empty. I could probably fit a couple of servings in there, or maybe even three, if they're in flexible containers.

Further thinking about this, within a few weeks, I'll have an absolutely huge freezer available. I could just keep things outside the window, or on the balcony.
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  #14  
Old 11-06-2009, 10:12 PM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is offline
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The key, IMO, is keeping your fridge setting fairly low. I keep a thermometer in my fridge and it stays right around 35F. If I put a pitcher with water and ice in there, the ice doesn't just not melt over time, but the whole top freezes over.

I use a dutch oven pot on the stove, I think it's 5 quarts or so. I make chicken soup, split pea soup, curries, chili, stew, and other such in it, eat dinner/lunch when whatever I made is fresh and hot, let the whole pot cool on the stove (6-8 hours, sometimes overnight) and then just put the whole thing with the lid on into the fridge. 7 to 10 days and never had a problem. Been doing this for years.

I really think people who have a problem either think it's a problem because they're paranoid and have bought into everything harboring dangerous bacteria if it's at room temperature for more than 20 minutes, or they really have a problem because their fridge is too warm.
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  #15  
Old 11-06-2009, 11:47 PM
ZipperJJ ZipperJJ is offline
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My roommate had a huge batch of vegan chili that was made on Oct 17, and he just finished it Nov 2. He kept it in the fridge all that time. Didn't hear any complaints from him.

Granted, no meat, but still...

Personally I'm pretty big on "it goes bad when it goes bad" - meaning, if it smells or looks off, it's off. Otherwise, it's good.
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