Storing Leftovers In The Fridge
After large family gatherings or an event, we often find ourselves with tons of uneaten food. We may throw these leftovers since we don’t know what to do with them. Not only is this wasteful but can be costly as well. However, this does not have to be the case.
Instead of throwing away your leftovers, there are other ways you could use your leftovers, even for picky eaters. In doing so, you save money, prevent foodborne illnesses and stop wastefulness. Here are guidelines in using leftover food.
How Long do Leftovers Last?
This is usually dependent on the type of food and where you are keeping them.
Do not ever leave cooked food out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours from the time it’s cooked. Place the food into a refrigerator as soon as you’re finished with a meal to avoid food spoilage.
When placed in the refrigerator, cooked food that contains meat should be consumed within 3 days. Other foods should be consumed within 5 days of being left in the fridge. However, if you don’t think you will consume the leftovers within this amount of time, you could go ahead and place them in the freezer. Simply, reheat leftover foods in the microwave and your family would not even tell that it’s leftover food. Do be reminded that you should avoid overloading your fridge, packing too many items in your refrigerator can inhibit the cool air from circulating effectively.
Best Way to Store Food
If you use the original pan or dish, do cover them tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. A better way to package leftovers is to place them in smaller shallow containers. They will cool faster, and your family will be more likely to eat them if they’re in individual servings. Take for example, you could simply grab a container of leftovers if you do need something quick and readily available to eat.
Glass containers are excellent containers to storing leftovers. Not only do they not stain as easily as plastic ones, you are able to see the contents of each container. Whether you are storing leftovers in the freezer or fridge, label the date in which you have cooked the food, using a non-permanent marker. This can remind you of the number of days that your food has been in the refrigerator, allowing you to keep track of which foods you should throw away to avoid eating spoiled food.
Make sure you reheat food to 165°F and do stir the contents to ensure even heating of the leftovers. Leftover liquids such as soups, gravies, and sauces should be brought to a boil before being eaten.
Incorporate Leftovers Into Food Recipes
If you do have time to prepare food recipes, try making new meals with leftovers. Meats such as chicken and beef can be tossed into a salad, fajitas, wraps, quesadillas and enchiladas. Rice can be used to create fried rice or other rice dishes. Let your creative juices flowing! You’re more likely to use up your leftovers if you incorporate them into new dishes.
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