Leftovers are great until they are past their prime or become refrigerator science experiments. Old leftovers can harbor bacteria, namely listeria, and cause illnesses long after the party is over. The other issue is mold. The refrigerator does a great job of slowing mold growth, but that’s all it does is slow it down.
The One Way to Tame Leftovers
How do we tame those (hopefully) glass and plastic containers from growing a jungle of critters to contend with later? Labels! Labeling the food is the best way to keep it from becoming mystery meat or something you have to sniff check (which I don’t recommend) and then quickly stuff down the garbage disposal.
How to Label
Label everything with what the item is and the date it needs to be used. The general rule of thumb is three days in the fridge and in the trash it goes. It’s not wasteful to throw out food past it’s prime. At the bottom of this post is a link to download a set of labels already for you to use! There are food item labels, dated and undated “Use By” labels as well as some blanks for whatever you need!
Have a Happy and Healthy Holidays!
Last, but not least, remember to reheat your leftovers to an internal temperature of 165 F. This can help prevent food borne illness which can from not killing all the bacteria that was able to grow in the fridge. Why 165 F? Temperatures much lower than that provide optimal breeding for bacteria and can result in more, not less, bacteria. If you put something in the microwave, be sure to pull it out halfway through reheating and stir. Microwaves cause hot spots and, again, we want to kill all the bac!
Enjoy your food! Enjoy your time! And now, you can safely enjoy your leftovers without them resulting a science experiment fridge!
Thanksgiving Food and Leftovers Printable