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Helpful Hints Storing Leftovers


Storing Leftovers               

Storing leftovers should be done properly, since anything less could make you sick.

Warm food is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Normally you cook and serve food before any harmful growth occurs, but what about leftovers?
Safe storage means proper temperatures and proper containers. Refrigeration is necessary, but must be implemented correctly for a number of reasons.

First, refrigeration does not stop bacterial growth; it only slows it. Second, the refrigerator is for keeping things cold, not making warm things cold. Bacterial growth is rapid between 40 and 140 degrees so if you put warm food into the refrigerator, the bacteria will continue a rapid growth, and the food's warmth will raise the temperature of the refrigerator.

Thick foods, such as stuffing, beans, and stews have a long cooling time unless they are spread out on a pan. So on Thanksgiving, do not leave the stuffing in the bird when you refrigerate it.

Soups are another fertile breeding ground for bacteria. Soup should be chilled in a metal container in an ice bath before storing.

You can pour the soup into plastic containers after it is cool.

Air tight containers will prevent drying, and flavors from spreading to other food. Label and date leftovers. They have a limited life; so don't guess what they are or how old they are.

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