You will not feel worried about buying too much food or cooking too much for dinner if you know how to handle leftovers after a meal. You will not have to waste this food if you know how to store leftovers safely and efficiently.
It does not mean it is safe to eat leftovers, so you need to know exactly the kind of leftovers so that you can know how to store in the fridge. Here are general guidelines for preserving leftovers and specific notes for each type of food.
General principles when preserving leftovers
1. Places to store leftovers
All leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator for two hours after cooking. This principle is important to help to prevent the entry of harmful bacteria into the food.
2. Tools for preserving leftovers
The leftovers should be stored in shallow containers and then sealed or covered. This tool will help leftovers be cooled faster. So, you should invest in good boxes to store and preserve food in the fridge.
3. When to store leftovers
Do not wait for completely cooled food to store in the refrigerator. You should put it in the refrigerator early, even if the food is still warm. This will help to prevent bacteria from entering.
4. Safe temperatures to reheat leftovers
The leftovers should be stored below 5°C and heated to a temperature of at least 60°C. Storage at temperature above 5°C or reheating leftovers at temperature lower than 60°C will allow the bacteria to enter food and multiply.
5. General rules for preserving food in the refrigerator
When preserving many types of foods in the refrigerator, molds, smells and broken foods can affect other foods, you should pay close attention to the following:
- Splitting food: Divide the leftovers into small and flat containers so food can be quickly cooled. Some bacterial spores, fungi, which survive in the cooking process, can continue to grow if the food is kept at room temperature.
- Store food in the refrigerator early: Within 2 hours after cooking, food should be stored in the refrigerator. Today’s modern refrigerators allow food to be cooled even when they are hot or warm, so you do not have to wait until the food is completely cold.
- Do not store food in metal containers: You should not preserve leftover sauces or canned foods in the refrigerator. Once the metal box is opened, the metal left over the box can affect the food and make the food have the metal taste.
- Empty and clean up the refrigerator regularly: Do not store in the refrigerator with full foods. Cold air needs spaces to store food in the cabinet is stored at a suitable temperature and not broken.
How to preserve each type of leftovers
How to preserve meat
You keep all fresh meat, fish and poultry in sealed bags when purchased at the store. If you buy meat at the supermarket and have it wrapped, do not unpack it to wrap it. Covering meat increases the risk of meat exposure to harmful bacteria.
After cooking, the meat should be stored in the refrigerator for no more than 2 days. The excess meat should be reheated above 75°C. In addition, you should preserve excess meat in sauces, such as pasta sauce or soup. This helps to keep the meat moist and the taste of the meat better after thawing.
How to preserve vegetables and fruits
After cooking the vegetables, you need to cool the vegetables to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator. Vegetables should only be stored in the refrigerator for a short time and should be eaten within 2 days. For frozen vegetables, boil the vegetables and then put them in cold water, drain and add to the frozen bag.
You should preserve individual fruits and vegetables such as apples with apples, carrots with carrots… Fruits and vegetables that are easily dried should be stored in perforated or unopened plastic bags to maintain a moist environment but still allow air circulation.
Note: you should not wash fruits and vegetables before storing in the refrigerator. Washing fruits can cause them to break down faster.
How to store the bread
Preserving the bread in the cooler does not guarantee keeping the bread for a long time, so store it in the freezer. You should put the bread in a special bag to store the food, which helps to preserve the bread for several months.
If you want to heat bread or crunchy bread, sprinkle some water on the bread and bake it in the oven at low temperature before eating. The bread will still retain the characteristic taste.
How to store dairy products
If the leftovers are cheese, you should not preserve them in plastic bags as this will cause the fat and oil to stick to the bag, which will affect the taste. The best way to preserve cheese is to shred cheese in a bowl/box, wrap it in a food wrapper, and store it in a cold container. This will help you defrost cheese better and can store cheese for 2-3 months.
For cheese newly bought at the store, leave it in the package if not used immediately.
You should preserve cheese as well as other dairy products such as yogurt, cream in their containers. You should not put the milk or ice cream in the old container. Instead, put extra cream in a tightly closed container or use the covered paper to cover the cream.
When choosing to buy milk, choose the type of milk that is contained in plastic bottles instead of paper boxes and should only use milk that is still in use.
Each type of leftovers will have its own storage time and how to store. Learn to preserve your leftovers better. This will save you a fair amount of food.