Safety Tips For Leftover Food
Excellent food safety tips for leftovers from Food24, Luscious Leftovers. The article goes on to give recipe suggestions using leftovers, most of them involving animal foods.
BUT… following these food safety tips is important for vegetarians and vegans too. You too can get food poisoning if you’re not careful, and that’s some serious not-fun!
Foods left out more than two hours should be discarded. You can put hot food directly into the refrigerator or freezer. Divide leftovers into several shallow dishes so they will cool to a safe temperature quickly. Store cooked leftovers in shallow containers that are tightly covered. Try to exclude as much air as possible to reduce oxidation and loss of nutrients, flavour and colour. The smaller the container that you freeze leftovers in, the more quickly and safely the food will freeze and thaw. It’s also a good idea to label and date containers that go into the freezer.
Store highly perishable food in the coldest part of the fridge, preferably on a tray of ice. Eat it within two or three days, or as indicated on the product label. The coldest part of the fridge is on the middle and top shelves. The warmest part is in the door, so store eggs in their cartons on a shelf inside the fridge and not in the egg slots. (That also goes for prepared veggie foods like tofu, tofu dogs, seitan, etc)
Always reheat leftovers until they are piping hot all the way through and never reheat food more than once. Reheat soups, sauces and gravies to boiling. Stir to ensure even reheating.
To ensure even reheating in a microwave oven, cover food with a vented covering. Make sure to rotate and stir food halfway through cooking time and stir food again after cooking is completed. Allow food to stand for 5 minutes after cooking. Never reheat leftovers in a slow-cooker. The gradual heating promotes bacterial growth.
WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT!