Last minute Christmas cancellations may have left you with more food than you expected this year – don’t forget your food safety training when you’re dealing with leftovers at home.
Storing in the fridge
- Cool cooked foods quickly. Bring the temperature down within two hours by leaving covered food in a cool area, and then placing in the fridge.
- Protect cooked food while storing. Keep cooked food well covered, ideally in plastic lidded storage boxes, and away from raw meats.
- Check your fridge temperature. Make sure your fridge temperature is between 0-5°C and that is not overfilled as this will prevent cool air circulating properly.
- Use cooked foods within three days of cooking.
Storing in the freezer
- Cool cooked foods quickly. Bring the temperature down within two hours by leaving covered food in a cool area.
- Wrap well and label with the contents and the date you place it in the freezer.
- To defrost, use the microwave defrost setting, or place overnight in fridge, away from raw meats.
- Ideally, use within three months, as the texture and flavour may start to deteriorate after this.
The key point to remember when storing cooked food is to avoid the DANGER ZONE -that means keeping foods below 8°C or above 63°C, to minimise the chance of bacterial growth.
As long as you follow the rules for storing leftovers safely, they should be good to use up in a new meal. When you reheat, the food will be passing through the Danger Zone, so make sure your food is piping hot before you serve. With a food thermometer, you can check it reaches at least 70°C for two minutes, or 65°C for ten minutes.
To learn more about food safety, in the home or in a catering setting, why not take a Safer Food Group training course? All of our courses are available online, and can be accessed immediately after purchase with a credit or debit card. PDF certificates are available upon successful completion of the course assessment.