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Volume II
September 12, 2008

Tips For Enjoying Your Leftovers
By Camille Rhoades

Whether you just cooked a fantastic meal at home or went out to your favorite restaurant leftovers can be a great treat for later, but hey can also pose a food safety threat if not handled correctly.

I am guilty of putting my Styrofoam container in the fridge and leaving it until the smell of my previous dinner consumes my whole fridge and doesnít even seem appetizing anymore. I think we have all done that once or twice, but with the proper attention we can make those leftovers last longer, be safer, and maybe even avoid that post-chinese-fridge stink we all know!

Here are some tips for keeping your leftovers safe and delicious:

  • Put food in proper containers! This seems much easier when cooking at home, but is important any time you are saving food. The boxes a restaurant sends you home with are not good for long time storage. Take the time you put things in air tight containers and separate anything that needs to be separate and you will spare yourself a disaster later.

  • Improper refrigeration of foods or relying on smell to judge food spoilage is a recipe for disaster. Food may spoil long before it looks, smells or tastes bad. Make sure your refrigerator thermometer is working and check it to ensure proper storage below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • A meat thermometer is the only reliable way to ensure that leftovers have reached a safe temperature and taste their best. For a safe and tasty meal, always reheat leftovers to 165 degrees Farenheit.

  • Refrigerate restaurant leftovers within two hours of eating the meal; in hot weather (90 degrees Farenheit or above) this time is reduced to one hour. By the time they get to the table those foods have already been warmed for a while so you canít leave them in the car all evening and expect them to be safe later. Room temperature food can be a breeding ground for food born illness so be careful to get it in the fridge!

  • Label and date leftovers. Consume them within three to four days.

  • Beyond that, just use my momís favorite phrase. ďWhen in doubt, throw it out!Ē If you have a question about whether something is good or not, toss it. It isnít worth getting sick over the gamble just to have one more snack on those leftovers!

    After you make all the delicious recipes in this newsletter you will, no doubt, have a fridge full of leftovers you are planning to enjoy again. Follow these tips to ensure that you get the most out of them!

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