How long do bento ingredients keep in the fridge?

Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 6 years 36 weeks ago.

If I can think of one single question whose answer would help me be a better bentoist, it's how long bento ingredients (carrots, rice balls, veggie stir fry - anything) can be expected to sit in the fridge and still come out not only nontoxic but tasty. For instance, I stir-fried a little bok choy for bentos later this week this evening - but will it still taste good on Monday? On Thursday? Does anyone have any good guidelines?

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Bento-ing from: › Vermont › USA
Joined: 11 Mar 2008
User offline. Last seen 7 years 37 weeks ago.
Re: How long do bento ingredients keep in the fridge?

Hey purpleshoes!

While it's one single question, there's no single answer which will help. But never fear! Here are some basic answers: Carrots are great keepers, and will last for months, whole, in the veggie bin of your fridge. If you cut a bunch up into julienne (like for kinpira or other stirfries), and bag them up tight, they'll last for a week at least, and if they get too tired-looking, they can be used in soup, or in some sort of veggie/meat/tofu burger or patty.

For any sort of cooked foods such as stir-fry or casserole or steamed veggies, they'll generally last for at least 4 or 5 days in the fridge, and some cooked foods are great when stored in the freezer and then defrosted and then warmed up. Many vegetables are nicer if eaten soon after cooking, but there are lots which are fine for a few days --I'm thinking of broccoli in particular: I actually love steamed or boiled broccoli the next day, straight from the fridge, either with a bit of mayo or a nice drizzling of olive oil, vinegar or lemon, and salt & pepper.

One tip for stir-fried bok choi, and other foods which you're planning on eating over the course of several days: I will often stir-fry these until just almost done, that is, a little on the crunchy side, so that when I re-heat them they don't get too soft & mushy.

I found that I needed to learn a lot of this stuff on my own when I started cooking for myself --I guess I didn't pay enough attention to the family kitchen as a kid! The best tool you have is your nose --if you take a good serious sniff and it smells appetizing, and there's nothing visibly growing on it.. you're likely fine.

Good luck!


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