It’s a quiet Sunday afternoon, the best time to relax on your balcony with a couple of beers. What goes well with beer? The answer is simple; it’s pizza! After stuffing yourself with pizza and beer, it’s definitely time for some afternoon siesta!
Now that you are up from that wonderful afternoon nap, you realize you forgot to put the pizza in the refrigerator! It’s an extremely baffling situation – should you eat the pizza or just throw it away?
Of course, no one in their sane mind would want to throw pizza away. So you must definitely be wondering, how long can pizza actually sit out for? Do not worry! This post has the answer to your question and all you need to know about storing pizza.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), any food, whether hot or cold, left out for longer than two hours has to be thrown out. Hence, pizza left out for longer than two hours should be thrown away.
Now you must be wondering, so what if you left pizza out for a longer time? It’s possibly not going to do any harm! Of course, leftover pizza is a thing, and no one denies the fact that it tastes delicious!
However, pizza that has been left out for too long is definitely harmful to your gut. Let me explain all of this to you in detail.
What Happens To Pizza If It Sits Out For Too Long?
At this point, you know pizza should not be left out for longer than two hours. But what actually happens to pizza if it stays out?
Let’s start with quality. If you are a pizza lover, you will know that dry cheese does not taste good. Moreover, the crust loses its crispiness.
The toppings on the pizza? They definitely aren’t going to stay fresh for too long. Also, if your pizza has meat toppings, they are bound to smell bad if left out for too long.
Now, let us get to the health aspect. It is said that 40℉ to 140℉ is the perfect breeding ground for pathogenic bacteria. Pathogenic bacteria are responsible for food-borne illnesses. Moreover, the tricky part is that they don’t really affect the food’s taste, smell, or appearance.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll get sick. However, there is always that little chance of it happening. Hence, it genuinely is not worth taking the risk.
How Long Is It Okay To Keep Leftover Pizza?
As discussed earlier, it definitely is not okay to eat pizza that has been out for longer than two hours. But what if it has been out for less than two hours? What can you do then?
If your pizza has been out for less than two hours, you can definitely pop it in the fridge. This way, pizza can easily be stored for a couple of days without it going bad. Moreover, if it hasn’t been out for too long and you want to consume it right away, go ahead! Although, do make sure you heat it before you eat it!
There is one more important thing to remember if you live in a place with an extremely hot or humid climate. That is to make sure you throw that pizza out before it hits the two-hour mark. This is because bacteria multiply much faster in a hot climate.
Is It Okay To Leave Pizza Out Overnight Without Refrigeration?
Even if you leave pizza out in an air-conditioned room overnight, it still is not safe to consume. This is because the temperature of the pizza drops into the danger zone.
You must be wondering, what is the danger zone when it comes to food? The danger zone is the temperature range between 40℉ to 140℉.
Pathogenic bacteria double in number in as short a span as 20 minutes. Hence, if you leave pizza out overnight, it is bound to go bad and should not be consumed.
Storage Tips For Pizza
In case you have ordered the pizza way too early, and your guests are yet to arrive, do not worry! Here are some simple ways to store your pizza for longer without worrying about bacterial growth.
One way to store pizza is to keep it in the oven at 140℉. This will keep the pizza fresh and warm without burning it.
Another way is to store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Although there is nothing wrong with storing it in a cardboard box, an airtight container will prevent the pizza from drying up. You can store pizza for up to 4 days if stored in this manner.
One more way to store pizza is to freeze it. Pizza stays for up to two months if frozen.
Now that you know how long you can keep pizza out for, make sure you keep this in mind every time you reach out for a cold slice!
It may not have affected you in the past. However, there is always the possibility and risk of getting sick if you have pizza that has been left out for too long. The best thing to do is always keep it fresh!
Tell me in the comments if you found this article informative. I shall take your leave now. See you next time!