5 Stay-Healthy Rules for Leftovers

How to store and reheat cooked food to swerve germs, bacteria and food poisoning

Most Popular

The way you store and reheat leftovers can also put you at risk, so here's how to make the most of your weekly shop without risking an upset stomach (or worse).

1. Chill food straight away (but let it cool first)

The main reason to refrigerate or chill food is to prevent the growth of bacteria, which can cause illness. Cold temperatures can slow down this growth of harmful bacteria, says David Gray, food hygiene quality advisor at the FSA. If you cook something and want to eat it again tomorrow, let it cool for a few minutes, then chill it in no more than ninety minutes, says David: 'It's so important to cool food down before you put it into the fridge, otherwise it raises the temperature of the fridge. One way to do this is to break up leftovers into smaller portions and then put into some tupperware and into cold water (that's what I try and personally do) for a few minutes. Then cover and refrigerate.'

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

2. Eat most leftovers within two days

In general, leftovers should really be eaten within two days – with the exception of rice which should be eaten within one day as it's a lot more susceptible to bacteria growth:

'What we suggest is don't keep food more than a couple of days. If you cook rice serve it as soon as it has been cooked and any leftovers should be chilled as quickly as possible, ideally within one hour, and not kept out at room temperature. Keep rice in the fridge for no more than one day until reheating and when you reheat any rice, always check that the dish is steaming hot all the way through. Do not reheat rice more than once.'

Most Popular

When you're reheating, make sure the food is steaming hot and heated thoroughly. Don't reheat any leftovers more than once.

3. Freeze leftovers before use-by date

You are able to freeze food up until it's use-by date. The same principle of refrigerating leftovers applies to freezing leftovers: wait until they are cool.

'Theoretically you can keep frozen foods for a very long time. If they remain frozen, any bacteria present won't be able to grow. Usually frozen food, like frozen veg, will have a best before date and after that date the optimum quality of the food may drop a bit. Still they should be safe to eat – as long as they are defrosted properly and then cooked properly.'

Make sure you always defrost leftovers completely, either in the fridge or in themicrowave. Reheat leftover food within 24 hours of it being fully defrosted until steaming hot, and do not refreeze.

LoveFoodHateWaste.com has a few handy frozen leftover tips:

  • You can freeze eggs but if you freeze them in their shells
    explosions may occur! Freeze eggs in two ways: either crack the egg
    and separate yolks and whites into separate plastic containers or food
    bags before freezing. This is handy for baking. Or, you can crack the
    egg into a plastic tub and beat it before freezing: great for omelettes
    and scrambled eggs. Put them in an airtight container and label with the
    date and the number of eggs you've used.
  • Tap the bottom of your bread onto a surface before freezing to separate the slices.
  • Freeze milk in ice cube trays to use when you need it. You can pop them straight into your tea or coffee.

4. Respect 'use by' dates

'Use-by' and 'best-before' dates are there for a reason, so follow them. Here's the difference:

  • Use-by-dates are placed on food by manufacturers as the date you shouldn't eat food after due to food safety.
  • Best-before-dates mean that while the food might not be unsafe to eat after the date, its quality may not be as high.

5. Be smart about your fridge layout

Store leftovers above uncooked food, so any juices from raw meat or fish cannot drip on to cooked food and cause contamination.

Via

What do you think?

Life
Share
This Depressed Egg Cartoon That's Taking Over Japan is the Most Relatable Thing on the Internet RN
One of Japan's most popular mascots is an egg with crippling depression...and he's cute AF!
Life
Share
7 Tips to Throw the Best and Most Stress-Free Dinner Ever!
Throwing a fabulous feast is not such a mammoth task.
Life
Share
Why Is The 'Tide Pod Challenge' The New Social Media Hazard?
Yes, we're ACTUALLY talking about the laundry detergent.
Life
Share
Not a Joke: Here's How to Buy a $1 House in Italy Right the F*ck Now
But — you guessed it — there's a catch.
Life
Share
11 Things You Need To Know About Your Vulva
You thought you knew all there was to know about vulvas? Ha, think again.
Life
Share
14 Signs You've Found Your Work Wife
They will always get you through the day.
Life
Share
9 Guys on the Most Regrettable Gifts They've Ever Gotten
Sometimes the thought does not count.
Life
Share
Your Horoscope for the Week of January 22
Everything you need to know for the upcoming week.
GIF
Life
Share
6 Exercises Women With Big Boobs Need in Their Lives
No sports bra layering required.
Life
Share
I Lost My Eye in My Third Trimester of Pregnancy
"I just want to make sure I'm here for a very long time for my children."