Leftovers are the gift that keeps giving, but they need to be taken care of properly if they’re going to last. If you don’t store your meals the right way, they may wind up being filled with bacteria and germs instead of delicious flavors. Follow these four simple steps to make sure your leftovers are always safe to enjoy!
Abide by the two-hour rule. Bacteria can start growing on your food just two hours after your meal leaves the oven. So be proactive about getting your meals safely to the fridge!
Use small containers. Hot food that’s kept in a large container takes a long time to cool off. That warm spot in the center can grow bacteria, even if it’s in the fridge. To combat this problem, store your leftovers in dishes no deeper than two inches.
Reheat thoroughly. Even though your food has been cooked, it’s best to reheat leftovers to at least 165 degrees. That will kill any new germs that may have set up shop while it was in the fridge. Just make sure you wait for your food to cool down before digging in!
After four days, toss it. Leftovers will only last four days in your refrigerator. Any longer than this, and you’ll run a much higher risk of food poisoning. Plus it won’t taste very good anymore!