How long can I keep my leftovers for?

Safely storing leftovers is important to avoid wastage and food poisoning. Every once in a while you have leftovers in the fridge, it may be from a well-cooked dinner that you had and couldn’t finish off all the food or you ordered take out that proved to be too much for one dinner, you don’t have to throw away the food, you can store it in your fridge or freezer using plastic containers with lids (View More).

Food Poisoning
It results from harmful bacteria found in contaminated food. Normally, bacteria will not affect the general outlook of the food or its taste or smell, if you are not sure whether the food is good, it is important that you throw it away. Proper food handling and cooking can help prevent most cases of food poisoning. Perishable foods such as meat and dairy should be refrigerated as soon as possible; they should not be left in room temperature for more than one hour. Uncooked food too such as sandwiches should also be refrigerated or eaten right away. Between 40 and 140F is the danger zone where bacteria multiply very fast.

Storing Leftovers
Left-overs should be either refrigerated or frozen. Storing your leftovers in the fridge allows you three to four days before they can go bad. If you cannot eat the food in this time period, freeze it immediately. Proper storage of leftovers warrants that you use clean containers that are in good condition, plastic containers with lids are especially good. Some people believe in letting the food to cool before storing it in the fridge, however, it is recommended that the food is refrigerated as soon as possible even if they are still steaming. If you choose to freeze your leftovers, your food can stay longer without going bad, one to three months depending on the food.

Reheating Leftovers
When the time comes for you to eat your leftovers, reheat them using a microwave, stove or an oven and ensure the internal temperature hits 165 F this way the bacteria will be killed. It is also important that you stir your food when reheating it; slow cookers are not a good alternative to reheating the leftovers as the heat may not be enough to kill the bacteria. However, slow cookers can be used to keep the already reheated food warm.

Making Use of Leftovers
Different foods have different amounts of time they can last in the fridge at one time you can find that you have a lot of leftovers in your fridge and don’t know what to do with it. It helps to be creative in your kitchen look at what your leftovers are and find ways to make a meal out of them. You can use leftover grains to make fried rice, meat can be added to soup and make it more delicious, and fruits can be made into a salad. You don’t have to waste your food.