It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to [email protected] and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.

Please note that the Ask Dr. Gourmet feature is restricted to questions regarding food and nutrition. Due to the many questions we receive, not all questions may be answered. For more specific questions about your individual health, please contact your doctor. About Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy



Ask Dr. Gourmet

How do you determine your leftover times?

Why does your Black Bean Soup only last 48 hours?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

black bean soup

When I list the leftover times in recipes I take into account two things. The main one is whether a recipe might be more likely to grow bacteria and become harmful with being kept too long. The other issue is how does a recipe taste and how well can it be reused.

An example of the former might be a salad dressing made with mayonnaise, that after being made and then refrigerated might be at higher risk for going bad by being taken in and out of the refrigerator.

The second is much more subjective. With the Black Bean Soup that you mention, I find that the soup becomes more grainy the longer it is kept - and therefore less palatable. This may not bother you, and the soup might be fine for you on the 3rd or 4th day.

Note that I do use an instruction in some recipes that the leftovers to "reheat gently." This is generally in recipes where there are ingredients that would break down too much or those that might become tough. An example would be a recipe with salmon like the Saffron Salmon Risotto. This recipe was actually designed to be a dish that would make good leftovers, but overheating the salmon will cause it to break into small pieces. On the other hand, recipes like Beef Stew that are reheated too much can cause the meat to become tough.

Thanks for writing.

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS
Dr. Gourmet