If you were to ask a group of people what their favorite time of day is, chances are many will refer to a time when they’re eating. Let’s face it – food is one thing that can almost always put a smile on people’s faces! But, keep in mind that in some situations, such as after parties or going out to eat, there are most likely going to be some sort of leftovers. And leftovers, while still delicious, can be hazardous if not taken care of correctly.
To help you feel confident that your next set of leftovers won’t cause trouble for the person who eats them, we put together the following on leftover safety for you to follow:
Avoid the Danger Zone – As we all know, most food is perishable and does not last long outside of its ideal conditions. Between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F (aka the “danger zone”), bacteria can begin to grow on food, bringing with it the potential for foodborne illnesses. As a result, leftovers should be refrigerated as soon as possible (at least within 2 hours of cooking) or thrown away if they have been sitting at room temperature for more than this amount of time.
Cool Quickly – To lower the risk of bacterial growth on food, leftovers should be cooled to a temperature of 40 degrees F or less pretty much immediately. As you do so, pay close attention to the size of the container you choose to use. Why? Though bigger containers can cool more food, they also have a longer cool time, which means there is more of an opportunity for bacteria to grow.
Wrap and Seal – Once you’ve got all of your leftovers together, wrap them up in airtight packaging. Whether you use strong plastic wrap or resealable containers is up to you, but in one way or another all leftovers should be stored in a way where no bacteria or moisture can come into contact with them.
Thaw – To thaw food you can either use your refrigerator, cold water or the microwave. So which one should you choose? Although it takes the longest, using the refrigerator is the safest process. And don’t forget! Once you’ve chosen a thawing method, keep in mind that the food should be consumed within 3 – 4 days.
For more information on leftovers and food safety, check out this article by the USDA.
The next time you have leftovers after coming into Chip’s Family Restaurant, we hope you refer to this information on leftover food safety so that you can handle yours properly!
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