Storing leftover food the right way should be a practice as it ensures freshness and taste, plus keeping bacteria at bay. Picture: Supplied
Storing leftover food the right way should be a practice as it ensures freshness and taste, plus keeping bacteria at bay. Picture: Supplied

9 top tips on how to store leftover food

By Lutho Pasiya Time of article published Feb 7, 2020

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Storing leftover food the right way should be a habit as it ensures freshness and taste, plus keeping bacteria at bay. 

According to a dietitian Anne Cain, this is how you can properly store leftovers and other previously-cooked foods. 

  • Refrigerate foods quickly because cold temperatures keep most harmful bacteria from growing and multiplying. Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared food, and leftovers within two hours. Foods left out longer should be discarded.

  • Divide large amounts of leftovers into small, shallow containers for quick cooling in the refrigerator.

  • With poultry and other stuffed meats, remove the stuffing and refrigerate it in a separate container.

  • Place hot foods directly into the refrigerator or freezer, but don't overload the container. Cool air needs to circulate to keep food safe.

Storing leftover food the right way should be a practice as it ensures freshness and taste, plus keeping bacteria at bay. Picture: Supplied
  • Use refrigerated leftovers within three to four days. Freeze quantities that can't be used by then. Since bacteria can't grow at freezer temperatures, food is generally safe while frozen, but you'll need to use the frozen foods in a reasonable length of time for the best quality.

  • If you are reheating leftovers in the microwave, use only microwave-safe dishes. Remove food from plastic wrap, Styrofoam and or freezer containers.

  • When reheating in the microwave turn the dish midway through cooking, reposition it on a rotating table, rearrange or stir food, and turn large food items over.

  • Allow food to stand after microwaving because the food will continue to cook after the microwave is off.

  • Reheat leftovers thoroughly to a temperature of 74 degrees Celsius or until hot and steaming. Soups and gravies should be brought to a rolling boil.

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