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8 Foods You Should Never Freeze

8 Foods You Should Never Freeze


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When you make enough soup to feed a family for months, you can just pop it into that time capsule we call a freezer.

Read More: 8 Foods You Should Never Freeze

But not every leftover can survive that deep freeze. Frozen food stored at a constant 0 degrees will always be safe, the U.S. Department of Agriculture explains — but that doesn’t mean it will always be palatable.

Check out this list before you pop something in the freezer to avoid an icky surprise in a few weeks. And be sure to check out our guide to how long food lasts in the fridge, too.

— Nancy Ryerson, HellaWella

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40 Foods You Should Never Put In The Freezer

Some things make sense to freeze&mdashnuts, berries, meat&mdashbut some people aren't sure about what they can and can't preserve otherwise. Here's a comprehensive run-through for you so you know next time you go to throw a 12-pack in the freezer.

Don't forget to pin it for later!

Watery veggies like cucumbers will freeze just fine, but it's the thawing process that gets messy. Cucumbers get limp and soggy once they're defrosted. You're better off keeping them cold and using a couple slices to reduce eye puffiness than to try and make a salad with a frozen cuke.

It's the same deal with watermelon as it is with cucumbers&mdashit's technically fine to freeze but the thawing bit isn't fun.

Different fruit, same deal.

Probably worse than overcooking pasta and letting it bloat with extra water is freezing it. Once you take it out of the freezer, it turns into a squishy puddle formerly known as noodles.

Don't store coffee beans or grounds in the freezer: Taking it in and out every morning will freeze and thaw the coffee, which can cause condensation and essentially ruin it. Plus, it'll absorb any funky freezer smells. That being said, feel free to store any unopened bags of coffee beans or grounds in the freezer for up to a month.

Two words: soggy mess. The crispy, crunchy fried bits will collect moisture when frozen and thawing this mess will only make the mushy matters worse.

After freezing and thawing milk, it's going to be really lumpy. This is not ideal for drinking. You can cook with it, however you should let it sit in the fridge to slow-thaw for a whole day before you use it.

The gooey inside of raw whole eggs will expand when frozen, causing a cracked and leaky mess in your freezer. Not to mention the potential for bacteria growth. Unfortunately, even cooked eggs aren't a good idea either. Same goes for egg-based items like mayo and meringue.

Don't even think about putting this creamy fruit (or is it a vegetable?) in the freezer&mdashunless you'd like to kiss that silky center goodbye. Like cheese, it'll totally lose its original texture. It's fine to use in a smoothie, though!


8 Foods You Shouldn't Reheat (Because They Could Poison You)

You&aposve never met a problem the microwave couldn&apost solve, right? Wrong. So wrong. Before you heat up those leftover potatoes, you might want to read this first.

I live alone, which means I usually cook things I can eat in one sitting. But occasionally, I have leftovers. As convenient as it is to pan-fry one juicy chicken breast on a hectic weeknight, sometimes I want a casserole, a pasta dish, or soup--all meals that weren’t necessarily created with single folks in mind. And when I cook those dishes to enjoy for more than one meal, the microwave becomes my reliable companion throughout the week. Or, at least it used to be before I discovered that reheating certain items can be a health hazard.

Certain cooked ingredients, if reheated (particularly after being stored improperly), can actually make you physically ill. And I don&apost say that to rile up panic, it&aposs simply important to be aware of the fact that heating foods changes their chemical structure, and for some ingredients, these changes that are spurred by temperature shifts can make the food incompatible with the human digestive system. So if you’re all about the leftovers, play it safe and avoid warming up these eight common foods a second time:

Saut too much spinach for a quick and nutritious side dish at dinner? If you can’t eat it all right after it’s cooked, it’s best to just toss it or eat the leftovers cold (maybe stir them into a pasta salad). To avoid food waste in the future, aim to cook only what you need for the meal at hand. Spinach contains a high quantity of nitrates, which provide vital nutrients our bodies need to function. When we eat certain vegetables raw, something magical happens in the body that turns those good-for-you nitrates into nitrites. Nitrates don&apost become a problem until the heating process activates them, prompting them to release poisonous carcinogenic effects when the body processes them. Every time you reheat spinach or other veggies that are rich in nitrates, they become increasingly toxic.

Here&aposs the deal on those spuds. When cooked potatoes are left out at room temperature or warmed up for a second time, they can take a toxic turn for the worst. Why? Warm temperatures promote the growth of the rare bacteria, botulism, that is commonly found in potatoes. If you can&apost bear throwing leftovers away, the best solution is to refrigerate uneaten cooked potatoes immediately. As in, don&apost pull them from the oven and let them stand for an hour or so until they reach room temp, and then pack them away. If you find yourself with quite a few leftovers, store the potatoes in multiple plastic containers and refrigerate promptly so that they cool down faster.

Celery and Carrots

The same rules outlined above for spinach likewise apply to celery and carrots. When possible, it&aposs safer to take celery and/or carrots out of a dish before reheating it.

Same deal as the potatoes here, don&apost leave rice out at room temperature after it&aposs cooked. If stored incorrectly, cooked rice can develop bacterial spores that may produce poisons that cause intense physical illness. These spores multiply faster at room temperature than in the fridge. To avoid food poisoning or other digestive upset, make sure those fluffy grains are stored in the fridge in an airtight container right after cooking.

Mushrooms are probably the most apt to make you ill of the items on this list, largely because of how vulnerable they are to microorganisms. When eating cooked mushrooms, it&aposs best to eat them immediately after they&aposre prepared. And if you plan to eat on them again the next day, make sure you eat them cold from the refrigerator because reheating mushrooms can be bad news for your belly.

We all know how good beets are, both in their flavor and nutritional benefits. But beets, like celery, spinach, and carrots, are rich in nitrates. Your safest bet for beets is to only cook what you think you&aposll actually eat in one sitting, or plan to eat them cold (like on salads and such).

A fantastic protein source for sure, cooked eggs can be a source of serious sickness when left at or re-exposed to higher temperatures. Whether boiled or scrambled, reheating eggs can be destructive to your digestive system. Not to mention. reheated rubbery eggs are kind of gross anyway. Just don&apost.

Another favorite protein source and dinner staple, chicken is kind of tricky when it comes to leftovers. The protein in chicken starts to deteriorate and causes digestive problems when it goes from cold to hot the second time around. A general rule of thumb if you want to enjoy leftover chicken warm is to reheat it in the microwave, a skillet, or the oven only one time after the original preparation. You also need to make sure it&aposs hot--as in completely hot through and through to the center of the piece of chicken, and eaten right away.

Now all of this is to say--don&apost live in fear of leftovers, but do be careful and mindful of how you store them and enjoy them for a second time around. Leveraging leftovers is a time-saving, cost-effective strategy in the kitchen and I don&apost plan on giving up on leaning on them anytime soon. The important takeaway here is that it never hurts to err towards the side of caution when it comes to what we&aposre putting into our bodies. And that includes being aware that some foods have a greater potential for toxicity when reheated than others. Does that mean that if you eat a reheated soup that contains celery and carrots or make a next-day hash using last night&aposs roasted potatoes that you&aposre guaranteed to find yourself with your head in the toilet (or worse)? Obviously not. I&aposm sure you&aposve done so plenty of times without harmful side effects, but you may have experienced some digestive discomfort that you don&apost even remember now--something mild that could have been worse under slightly different circumstances.

Point being, be cognizant of what you&aposre cooking and what parts of your dinner your packing for an office lunch the next day.


11 Things You Should Never Put in Your Freezer

It's been said before (on this website, in fact) that a stocked freezer is the best and easiest way to win in the kitchen. And that's true—most of the time. But there are a handful (well, a couple of handfuls) of foods that get strange when frozen and then defrosted. Here, 11 of them.

Is It Safe To Freeze, Thaw, and Re-Freeze Meat?


12 Foods You Never Knew You Could Freeze

If you only use the ol' icebox for storing frozen dinners and ice cream, you're truly missing out.

If you only use the ol' icebox for storing frozen dinners and ice cream, you're truly missing out.

Here's a cool secret: The freezer actually makes nuts last longer because it keeps the oils in them from going rancid. That's good news for all of us who like to buy them in bulk. Parse out whatever nuts you think you will eat soon and freeze the rest. They thaw quickly on your kitchen counter.

Made too much rice? Store it in a freezer-proof container and pop it in the freezer until you need it. When you're ready to eat it again, add the amount you want to a microwave-safe bowl or saucepan with a few tablespoons of water to warm it back up.

How many recipes call for only grating a small amount of cheese, leaving you with a sizable hunk leftover? Tons. Go ahead and shred all that cheese and freeze it in freezer bags. Next time you're in the mood for lasagna, enchiladas, or anything cheesy, just thaw and use. No more moldy cheese blocks!

Banana bread lovers may know this secret well. Freezing ripe bananas is a game-changer for all your last minute banana baked good needs. They're also terrific for adding to smoothies since it makes them creamier and you can use less ice.

If you left a little bit of wine left in the bottle after dinner, pour it into an ice cube tray. Just pop a cube into your pan the next time your recipe calls for some wine. Your pasta sauces will thank you. Or, if you want to use your new wine ice cubes for sangria, that's cool too.

Like wine, you can freeze bubbly in an ice cube tray and pop one (or two or three) cube into a glass of orange juice for an instant mimosa.

Bacon thaws really quickly at room temperature, which is great because we always want to eat it. Wrap 3 to 4 slices side by side in parchment paper before putting in a freezer-proof bag.

Frozen butter is a baker's secret weapon. Grate frozen butter in your doughs for the most tender piecrusts and biscuits. Just freeze the butter in its original wrapping inside of an airtight bag or tightly wrapped in foil.

Wash and pat your herbs dry. Chop into desired portions and spread them on a cookie sheet covered with plastic wrap in the freezer. Once frozen solid, take them off the sheet and put them in a freezer bag. Another option is to chop the herbs finely and place them in an ice cube tray covered with water. Then, pop an herb cube directly into your pan to liven up sauces or stews.

Whether it's homemade or store-bought, frozen cookie dough is your new best friend. Just scoop the dough out onto a cookie sheet and stick it into the freezer. Once frozen solid, put the individual frozen portions into freezer bags. Now you can bake as many cookies as you like whenever you want. Just add 1 to 2 minutes to the bake time.

Having sliced bread (or bagels) in your freezer is the best thing since sliced bread &mdash no really. It's best to freeze the bread when it's fresh, so decide how much you are going to eat straightaway and freeze the rest. To freeze, wrap in heavy-duty aluminum foil and place inside a freezer bag. Thaw in a 300°F oven, placed directly on the rack, for 5 to 10 minutes.

Like wine and herbs before it, egg yolks and whites go great in ice cube trays, too. You will have to thaw the cubes completely if using them to bake, but the whites can be defrosted right in the pan for omelets!

There's such a thing as too much whipped cream, but if you find yourself with extra one day, don't waste it. Dollop spoonfuls of whipped cream on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet and freeze until solid. Transfer to a freezer bag for instant hot chocolate toppings. The whipped cream will melt right into your mug! If you want to be fancy, you can pipe the whipped cream onto the cookie sheet instead.


10 Myths About Frozen Foods You Need to Stop Believing

Fresh isn&rsquot always best&mdashor the most convenient&mdashbut many folks turn their noses up at the fare in frozen aisles. Here, the myths that keep people from buying or eating frozen foods and what&rsquos really true.

The freezer is often the place of last resort𠅋oth for frozen meals you can make in a snap and for storing foods you want to cook, just not right now. However, the freezer can be a source of great joy if you know what you’re looking for or freeze the food properly in the first place. That may mean you need to relearn some basic frosty facts. Here, the most common frozen food myths𠅊nd why it’s time you stop believing them.

Myth #1: Fresh food is healthier than frozen food

Fresh is best, unless frozen is available. That’s right: frozen food is just as𠅊nd in some cases more—nutritious than fresh varieties.

Fresh food is often picked before the fruit or vegetable is ripe, then packaged, shipped, and stocked. The time from harvesting to your plate could be days, even more than a week. During that time, the food loses nutrients. In fact, fresh foods typically lose most of their nutrients—vitamins and minerals in particular—in the three days post picking. Frozen food, however, is harvested at peak ripeness and flash-frozen within hours.

A 2013 University of Georgia study looked at the level of nutrients in fresh and frozen food at the time of purchase and five days later. The day they’re purchased, both frozen and fresh food are nutritionally similar. After five days in the fridge, the fresh had less vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate than the frozen.


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There's no better way to turn fresh produce into a limp and soggy mess than by dumping it into the freezer. Lettuce, potatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, and apples all have a high water content, leading them to ice over in the freezer. When this ice melts upon defrosting, you'll be left with some seriously unappetizing fruits and veggies.


13 Foods You're Probably Storing Wrong

Are you guilty of popping onions into the fridge? Do you stash maple syrup in the cupboard? These missteps feel innocent enough, but certain staples could lose flavor and spoil faster if you store them in the wrong spot. To get the most out of your basics, take a good look around your kitchen and consider some smart relocation.

Apples

These will stay crisper and fresher in the fridge than on the counter — but stow them in a plastic bag, and don’t store them in the same drawer as your lettuce. Apples produce ethylene, a ripening gas that can make some vegetables go bad more quickly.

Brown Sugar

Some people keep this baking staple in the refrigerator, thinking it will help keep it soft. But actually, the trick to moist, pliable brown sugar is placing it an airtight container. Do that, and you can store it at room temperature.

Coffee Beans

Skip the fridge, which introduces moisture and can kill the flavor of your favorite brew. Beans will last at room temp in an airtight container, an open bag or a can for one week. Reserve the freezer for beans you want to store long term.

Dried Herbs and Spices

Heat, light and moisture will degrade the flavorful oils in many seasonings, which means keeping them on top of the refrigerator (which has a warm motor) or over the stove is a bad idea. Try a drawer or cabinet instead. Some exceptions: Sesame seeds, poppy seeds and Urfa peppers all do better in the fridge.

Ground Flax Seeds

As convenient as it sounds to keep it next to the cereal, ground flax should actually be frozen to maintain its healthful properties. After one month, however, the quality will diminish, so don’t store or grind too much at once.

Hot Sauce

Free up some space in the refrigerator door. Your collection of hot sauces will be perfectly fine at room temp for up to three years.

Maple Syrup

If you've invested in the pure stuff, move it to the refrigerator, where it will keep for up to six months. "Pancake syrup" and other artificial varieties are happy in a cabinet.

Thanks to the oils in almonds, pecans and walnuts, they'll last for only two weeks at room temperature. If you want to keep them for longer, store them in the fridge for up to nine months or in the freezer for two years.

Onions and Garlic

Your mother may have stowed them in the refrigerator produce drawer, but for maximum shelf life and flavor, they need a dry place out of the sun, where lots of air can circulate — a mesh bag or basket in your pantry will do the trick.

Peanut Butter

Processed PB is fine in the cupboard, but if you choose the all-natural variety, keep it in the refrigerator.

Sesame Oil

It goes to reason that if you should keep sesame seeds in the refrigerator, you should put toasted and plain sesame oil there too. It goes rancid faster at room temp.

Tomatoes

Sorry, fridge, but you’re making our tomatoes mushy. We’ll keep 'em on the counter instead.

Whole-Wheat Flour

Blame the healthy oils in the germ of this baking basic. At room temp they can go bad — an off odor and darker color are signs that your bag is past its prime. For maximum longevity, keep whole-wheat flour in the fridge for up to eight months or in the freezer for up to two years.


11 Foods You Should Never Put In The Freezer

Whether it's keeping food in the refrigerator that doesn't belong there or putting the wrong things in the microwave, misconceptions about preparing and storing food are widespread. The result: Moldy onions, flavorless tomatoes and kitchen explosions, to name a few.

But the refrigerator and the microwave aren't the only sources of common kitchen mistakes -- the freezer is also somewhat misunderstood. Yes, you can freeze just about anything (and we could all probably cut down on food waste by freezing more). Some things, however, are virtually unrecognizable once they've been frozen and thawed. In other words, you can freeze whatever you want, and use these foods frozen, but some foods don't hold up after being defrosted.

Here are 11 things you should not keep in the freezer.

Freezing food is a delicate matter. No matter what you're freezing, make sure to use it within nine months or so (yes, that means cleaning out your freezer), and also make sure to defrost it correctly. Most food requires adequate time for defrosting a slow thaw typically yields the best results. You should also be mindful of cooling dishes completely before freezing them, and storing them in freezer-safe containers.


8 Surprising Things You Should Never Eat if You're Trying to Lose Weight

Lots of experts say it's stupid to forbid yourself from eating certain foods &mdash that denying yourself something you really want to eat can ultimately lead to binge eating and eventual weight gain. So dessert isn't on this list &mdash it's OK to indulge sometimes! But some foods really do deserve the ax &mdash especially if you are trying to lose weight. In which case, avoid these foods (when you can!) to fend off cravings and hunger, and support your efforts to slim down.

1. Any snack that only contains carbs

When you eat crackers, dry cereal, bread, or rice cakes alone, your body converts the carbs to simple sugars and sends it directly into your blood stream. In response to the sugar rush, your body produces extra insulin, which helps your body absorb the sugar ASAP. The problem: You end up with low blood sugar and the same hunger pangs that led you to carb it up in the first place. You then may be inclined to reach for sugary foods with no nutritional value to satisfy your need for instant energy, says Charlie Seltzer, M.D., a weight-loss specialist based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Eat This Instead: Snacks that contain a combination of carbs, healthy fats, and protein. They take longer to digest, and will, therefore, tide you over for longer. (Another thing: When you treat snacks as balanced mini meals, they contribute to a balanced diet instead of just holding you over between meals.) Try a slice of bread with nut butter, or whole grain crackers with low-fat cheese, suggests Rachel Harvest, a registered dietitian affiliated with Tournesol Wellness in New York.

2. Frozen meals

To make fresh ingredients last extra long in your freezer, food manufacturers often load frozen meals with sodium, a natural preservative, Harvest says. Sodium makes you retain water, which bloats you up &mdash so you won't look and feel your best regardless of how much weight you want to lose.

Also: When food manufacturers try to squeeze a meal's worth of calories into a teeny-tiny box, every bite ends up containing lots of calories by design, Harvest adds. While large portions trick your brain into thinking your body is full, the measly portions found in freezer meals are inherently unsatisfying, even though they contain plenty of calories.

Eat This Instead: Pre-frozen leftovers. Just double up on ingredients the next time you cook dinner, then cool and toss leftovers in a microwave-safe container to keep in your freezer for one to six months depending on what you're cooking. Or stock your freezer with frozen veggies and your protein of choice (like chicken breast tenders, which cook faster than full breasts, or veggie burgers) to whip up a meal in the same amount of time it takes to cook a premade microwave dinner.

3. High-fiber snack bars

Yes, everyone needs fiber &mdash it keeps your digestive system churning and keeps you feeling full, even when you're cutting back on calories. What you don't need: Nearly one day's worth of fiber (about 25 grams) in one snack bar, with a diet that's otherwise devoid of it, Harvest says. "Fiber intake has to be consistent throughout the day to stave off hunger, improve digestive health, and not cause stomach upset."

Eat This Instead: Produce that's naturally rich in fiber &mdash any fruit or veggie will do. Make produce a part of every snack and meal you eat throughout the day, and you'll get your daily dose of filling fiber, no problem.

4. "Low-fat" foods

Research suggests that people tend to eat upward of 30 percent more when they know they're eating a food that's low in fat. The problem (besides overeating, which can quickly thwart your weight loss goals) is that when food makers remove fat from food, they inevitably remove some of the flavor. To compensate, they often add sugar, which makes the product even worse for you.

Eat This Instead: Healthy fats in moderation. That means dipping your baby carrots in guacamole (which is rich in monounsaturated fats) or hummus (often made with olive oil, another good source of the same healthy fats) instead of fat-free ranch.


8 Foods You Shouldn't Reheat (Because They Could Poison You)

You&aposve never met a problem the microwave couldn&apost solve, right? Wrong. So wrong. Before you heat up those leftover potatoes, you might want to read this first.

I live alone, which means I usually cook things I can eat in one sitting. But occasionally, I have leftovers. As convenient as it is to pan-fry one juicy chicken breast on a hectic weeknight, sometimes I want a casserole, a pasta dish, or soup--all meals that weren’t necessarily created with single folks in mind. And when I cook those dishes to enjoy for more than one meal, the microwave becomes my reliable companion throughout the week. Or, at least it used to be before I discovered that reheating certain items can be a health hazard.

Certain cooked ingredients, if reheated (particularly after being stored improperly), can actually make you physically ill. And I don&apost say that to rile up panic, it&aposs simply important to be aware of the fact that heating foods changes their chemical structure, and for some ingredients, these changes that are spurred by temperature shifts can make the food incompatible with the human digestive system. So if you’re all about the leftovers, play it safe and avoid warming up these eight common foods a second time:

Saut too much spinach for a quick and nutritious side dish at dinner? If you can’t eat it all right after it’s cooked, it’s best to just toss it or eat the leftovers cold (maybe stir them into a pasta salad). To avoid food waste in the future, aim to cook only what you need for the meal at hand. Spinach contains a high quantity of nitrates, which provide vital nutrients our bodies need to function. When we eat certain vegetables raw, something magical happens in the body that turns those good-for-you nitrates into nitrites. Nitrates don&apost become a problem until the heating process activates them, prompting them to release poisonous carcinogenic effects when the body processes them. Every time you reheat spinach or other veggies that are rich in nitrates, they become increasingly toxic.

Here&aposs the deal on those spuds. When cooked potatoes are left out at room temperature or warmed up for a second time, they can take a toxic turn for the worst. Why? Warm temperatures promote the growth of the rare bacteria, botulism, that is commonly found in potatoes. If you can&apost bear throwing leftovers away, the best solution is to refrigerate uneaten cooked potatoes immediately. As in, don&apost pull them from the oven and let them stand for an hour or so until they reach room temp, and then pack them away. If you find yourself with quite a few leftovers, store the potatoes in multiple plastic containers and refrigerate promptly so that they cool down faster.

Celery and Carrots

The same rules outlined above for spinach likewise apply to celery and carrots. When possible, it&aposs safer to take celery and/or carrots out of a dish before reheating it.

Same deal as the potatoes here, don&apost leave rice out at room temperature after it&aposs cooked. If stored incorrectly, cooked rice can develop bacterial spores that may produce poisons that cause intense physical illness. These spores multiply faster at room temperature than in the fridge. To avoid food poisoning or other digestive upset, make sure those fluffy grains are stored in the fridge in an airtight container right after cooking.

Mushrooms are probably the most apt to make you ill of the items on this list, largely because of how vulnerable they are to microorganisms. When eating cooked mushrooms, it&aposs best to eat them immediately after they&aposre prepared. And if you plan to eat on them again the next day, make sure you eat them cold from the refrigerator because reheating mushrooms can be bad news for your belly.

We all know how good beets are, both in their flavor and nutritional benefits. But beets, like celery, spinach, and carrots, are rich in nitrates. Your safest bet for beets is to only cook what you think you&aposll actually eat in one sitting, or plan to eat them cold (like on salads and such).

A fantastic protein source for sure, cooked eggs can be a source of serious sickness when left at or re-exposed to higher temperatures. Whether boiled or scrambled, reheating eggs can be destructive to your digestive system. Not to mention. reheated rubbery eggs are kind of gross anyway. Just don&apost.

Another favorite protein source and dinner staple, chicken is kind of tricky when it comes to leftovers. The protein in chicken starts to deteriorate and causes digestive problems when it goes from cold to hot the second time around. A general rule of thumb if you want to enjoy leftover chicken warm is to reheat it in the microwave, a skillet, or the oven only one time after the original preparation. You also need to make sure it&aposs hot--as in completely hot through and through to the center of the piece of chicken, and eaten right away.

Now all of this is to say--don&apost live in fear of leftovers, but do be careful and mindful of how you store them and enjoy them for a second time around. Leveraging leftovers is a time-saving, cost-effective strategy in the kitchen and I don&apost plan on giving up on leaning on them anytime soon. The important takeaway here is that it never hurts to err towards the side of caution when it comes to what we&aposre putting into our bodies. And that includes being aware that some foods have a greater potential for toxicity when reheated than others. Does that mean that if you eat a reheated soup that contains celery and carrots or make a next-day hash using last night&aposs roasted potatoes that you&aposre guaranteed to find yourself with your head in the toilet (or worse)? Obviously not. I&aposm sure you&aposve done so plenty of times without harmful side effects, but you may have experienced some digestive discomfort that you don&apost even remember now--something mild that could have been worse under slightly different circumstances.

Point being, be cognizant of what you&aposre cooking and what parts of your dinner your packing for an office lunch the next day.