Leftovers are a staple during the holiday season. Whether you made the holiday feast yourself or are taking some home after a friends gathering, follow these 6 food safety tips to avoid improperly stored food that can form bacteria and cause you and your family a bad case of food poisoning.
- Set Proper Temperature – Make sure your refrigerator is set at 40 degrees Fahrenheit and avoid the USDA’s “danger zone” between 40 degrees and 140 degrees Fahrenheit where bacteria can grow and thrive.
- Smaller Portions – Divide cooked foods into small portions and place in shallow containers so they cool down faster in the fridge. For example, separating large pots of food like mashed potatoes or gravy into smaller containers allow the food to cool faster and prevent bacteria.
- Defrost – Defrost frozen leftovers in the refrigerator, using cold water or a microwave oven, and cook immediately after thawing.
- Two Hour Rule – Do not eat food that has been left out for more than 2 hours.
- Four Month Rule – Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days or frozen for 3 to 4 months. Frozen foods are safe to eat if kept for longer than 4 months, but it is likely to lose flavor and moisture.
- Leftover Leftovers – When you have “leftover leftovers,” it is safe to re-refrigerate or re-freeze the food.
From all of us at Mr. Mister, we wish you all a safe and happy holiday season.