When it comes to party or just simple meals with family and friends, you normally end up having some leftovers which is actually normal if you don’t want a single person eating the meal be left unsatisfied because there is no more food. Leftovers are very impractical if you want to save money. So as most people do, they keep leftovers to be eaten in the future. But, is it safe?
Any food left uneaten after 2 hours it is cooked is already considered leftovers. The longer the time you store a cooked meal, dish or food, the more it is becoming unsecure and more prone to food poisoning. The foods you store are a combination of different food making it very prone to spoilage. This is not to prohibit you from storing leftovers because you also have to consider that there are hungry people out there who might want to eat your leftovers only if you gave it to them or simply, you may want to make sure that there is food in the fridge by the time you need it and there’s no one to cook. The best thing to do is to store your leftovers safely. Here are some steps to help you out.
- Leftovers should be reheated to 165 degrees Farenheit, refrigerated or frozen within two hours after cooking. If the weather is hot, make it within one hour such that food spoils easier when the temperature of the environment is high.
- Store leftovers in clean containers with tight covers. Avoid overcrowding your fridge with left overs such that it can be a reason for spoilage and contamination.
- Make sure that your hands are clean (meaning washing it with soap and water) before handling cooked food. Our hand is the most exposed to germs that can contaminate our food.
- Never keep leftovers for more than four days even if it is refrigerated or frozen. By this time, it is either contaminated or the quality of the food is no longer acceptable. It would be more efficient if you label your leftovers with dates when it is stored for you to properly monitor food storage.
- When heating leftovers, make sure that the food is heated completely to avoid presence of microorganisms that are not good for you. Warming is not enough, make sure that every single ingredients in your leftovers are well heated.
As most food technologists would say, “when in doubt, throw it out”. You wouldn’t sacrifice your health and your life just to consume leftovers that are no longer safe to eat. Many people suffered from food poisoning due to improper handling of food. Food spoils fast when it is not clean. Keep in mind that when you store leftovers, make sure that someone may actually eat it. Storing food which no one would eat can cause contamination and even affect those which are still in good condition. It would always be better if there are actually no leftovers and eating freshly cooked food, but if cannot be avoided proper handling and storage is the key in dealing with your leftovers.