When in Doubt, Throw it Out
One of the best parts of Thanksgiving and the rest of the holidays is all the delicious food you get to eat. But all of that food typically leads to a lot of leftovers which is great for grabbing snacks and meals during the busy season. It can also lead to the number one question of leftover food, is it still good? Here are some tips for keeping your leftovers safe.
Mark Your Containers
best way to know if food is past its expiration period is to keep track
of it. Label your leftover containers with the type of food that's in
it, the date you made the food, and the expiration date of the
ingredients in it, such as milk and eggs. Keep older containers towards
the front of the refrigerator so you'll be sure to eat them first. Check
the labels on a regular basis and note the dates you wrote down. If the
container is still there after the food is past its expiration date,
throw it out.
Use the Freezer
To keep leftovers around
longer, store them in your freezer. Make individual containers of food
for each meal you plan to serve with it. Store just enough for a few
days in the refrigerator, and the rest in the freezer. When you've used
up the containers in the refrigerator, move a few more from the freezer.
This will keep your leftovers fresh and safe longer. You can even take
out a container from the freezer on the day you plan to use it. Just let
it defrost for a few hours before heating it up.
Learn how Long Food Stays Fresh
Different food has different expiration times. Poultry, for example, can last for months if it's already cooked and stored in the freezer. Fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, will only stay fresh for up to a week. Learn the proper storage times for your leftovers so you'll know when they're past their prime and should be tossed. You can use these time frames when creating your storage container labels. Mark the expiration date based on the guidelines, and throw away anything past its expiration date.
Don't Keep Leftovers Out
If your leftovers aren't being stored right away, they won't stay fresh for long. The best way to ensure your leftovers stay fresh is to store them immediately after your meal. When you're done eating, take the leftovers and place them in proper food storage containers. Update your labels if needed, then place them back in the refrigerator or freezer. If you notice a container of leftovers sitting on your kitchen counter for a long period of time, don't take chances. Throw it out.
Dry goods must be stored properly as well. Be sure they are safely placed in a sealed bag or container, and then stored in a cool, dry space, to prevent them from becoming stale. Check the expiration date and toss if it's come and gone.
Storing leftovers properly is important for
your health. By following these tips, you'll ensure the safety of your
food. If you're not sure if your leftovers are good, throw them out.