Array
Home Care

How To Store Leftovers Properly

Here are easy hacks to help you deal with the aftermath of the holidays

Shares
Photography: Pexels (Main Photo)

If you’re one of those people who just can’t bear to let food go to waste, good for you. But that then begs the question: How does one store all the leftover food — especially if you’re going to pack ‘em all into a spatially challenged fridge? Here are some tips.

1. Leftovers should be stored within two hours.

The NHS (National Health Service) of UK recommends letting a dish cool down to room temperature before stowing it away. But contrary to popular belief, that’s not because placing food that’s still hot inside the ref will cause it to spoil; storing food before it has a chance to cool down will make your refrigerator work harder, thus hiking up your electric bill. And in reality, the longer you keep your food at room temperature, the higher the chances of bacteria developing AND thriving. So, as soon as possible, wrap up your leftovers and leave them to chill inside your fridge.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW



2. Label them properly.

Okay, you might be using translucent (or even transparent) containers or film wrap for your leftovers, but given the condensation that happens inside the fridge, it can still get a little difficult to tell what exactly that congealed brown stuff is. Spare yourself the trouble and put labels on each container for easy ID-ing.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

If you don’t like the additional task of labelling, use color-coded containers. For example, those with a red cover can be for meat, blue for fish and seafood, green for veggies, and so on. Another idea is to use sticky notes or non-toxic crayons to label your leftovers — they can easily be washed or wiped off, unlike stickers which can be quite a pain to remove.

3. Create zones.

Have a dedicated area in your ref solely for leftovers. Professional organizers recommend placing them right where they can be easily seen, and not stowed way out in the back. That way, you won’t forget — or neglect — them. Health experts also advise that leftover food be consumed within two days after storing.


ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

4. Use stackable containers.

Think of shelving your leftovers as working on a jigsaw puzzle. Each piece must fit well, so say bye-bye to bowls and do away with oddly or irregularly shaped containers. It’s best to use rectangle- and/or square-shaped microwaveable containers — yes, those disposable ones — so you can easily store them, and then take out for heating, eating, and throwing away later on.

Of course, make sure that when you stack the leftovers, do so such that you can easily see the labels or what’s inside it.

5. Freeze if you must.

If you still have a ton of lechon left over from the holidays and you know you can’t polish it off within two days, just place it in your freezer instead. Make sure to wrap it in a well-sealed, airtight container to prevent juices and sauces from leaking out. Keep frozen at zero degrees and it’ll be good for up to four months.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Note: For frozen leftovers, thawing them at room temperature isn’t enough. You’ll have to reheat until it’s hot and steaming — that’s to ensure that it’s safe (i.e. bacteria-free) for consumption.

6. Use resealable bags.

Ziploc bags are ideal for storing leftovers — you can portion off dishes to serving size (instead of taking out the entire dish and then storing the leftovers from the leftover) while keeping bacteria out and retaining moisture. Plus, you won’t have to deal with various food odors mingling with each other.


ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

7. Keep track of your leftovers.

Use a magnetic board, slap a Post-It note, or stick a piece of paper on the ref door where you can jot down the list of leftovers and when you first stored the items — this way, everyone can see which leftovers are still available. Update it regularly and by all means try to plan your weekly meal menu around them.

8. Arrange them according to their “best by” date.

As a rule of thumb, pizza, lasagna, and soups can be shelved in the fridge for 4 to 7 days; breads for 3 to 4 days; pies for 2 to 3 days; while ham can last for as long as a week. Place the easily perishable items at the front or create a special area for them (perhaps with a large, visible “Eat me first!” sign) so you know which ones to prioritize.

More on Realliving.com.ph

Shares

Latest Stories

This 28sqm Studio Unit in Bacolod is Perfect for Staycations

The design team created a compact yet inviting small home with a warmth that matches the vibe of the City of Smiles

7 Plants That Can Help You Keep Dengue Away

You need to do more than just plant them outside your home

Make Your Home Smell Like a Fancy Hotel for Less Than P700!

Shop for scented candles, room sprays, and more essentials while maintaining your budget

10 Things You Need to Clean to Avoid a Stinky Home

We tend to overlook how scent contributes to the first impression our house makes on guests �" or on us!

5 Organizing Ideas We Can Learn from this Family Home in San Juan

This home doesn't just have picture-perfect rooms. Let it inspire you to get organized.

Amoy Kulob at Mabaho? Here Are Ways to Keep Your Home Smelling Fresh

Because a beautiful house needs to smell good, too

Those School Buildings We Grew Up With Are Called Gabaldons

The President recently signed a law that mandates their conservation

These Are The Reasons Why You Have a Messy Home

Manage the clutter in your house with these tips from an interior designer

Which One is Best for Your Home: A Diffuser or A Humidifier?

Here is a quick guide between a diffuser and humidifier to help you decide which one is better for your space

6 Convincing Reasons Why It's Better to Rent Than Buy a Home

Paying monthly dues is less stressful compared to managing real estate taxes

9 Affordable Ways to Give Your Kitchen Cabinets a Makeover

Updating the look of your cabinets can greatly improve the overall ambiance of your kitchen

Is Your House Making You Sick?

Household pollutants may cause respiratory diseases and other health problems
Load More Stories

Get inspiring design ideas and handy hints.
Subscribe to our newsletter now!