Leftover Rules

The holiday always leave behind a lot of left overs.  So what are the rules about keeping them?  What can you do with them?  Read on to find out!

1.  Bacteria can grow above 40 degrees.  So make sure your fridge is colder than this.  It’s a good idea to test the temperature at least once a year with a thermometer other than the one built into the fridge.

2.  Refrigerate your leftovers within two hours of cooking.  Cut this down to one hour if it is really hot outside.

3.  In order to avoid cross contamination, store leftovers in containers with lids.

4.  If you want to put leftovers away quickly, place the sealed container or pan in a shallow ice bath.


5.  Make sure when you stock the fridge you are not blocking any vents and you are still allowing the cool air to flow.

6.  Clean the fridge of any spills or food debris.  This can contaminate other food items and grow mold or bacteria.

7.  As a general rule, discard leftovers within four days of storing them.

8.  When reheating food, make sure it reaches a temperature of at least 140 degrees.

9.  If you know you are going to have a lot of leftovers, consider doing a leftover swap with family, friends or neighbors,.  They may have had a different meal and changing it up meals your family might be more interested in eating “fresh” leftovers.

10.  Use a site such as http://allrecipes.com to type in an ingredient and find new recipes with it.  So if you have lots of of turkey, find new dishes you can make with it!  (One of my favorites is turkey pot pie.)

11.  Buy disposable food storage containers before the holidays.  Then, send some food home with your guests!

12.  Make sure you clearly label all leftovers with the contents of the container and the date you put them in the fridge.

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