When you make or purchase a delicious meal that you just can’t finish in one sitting, there’s nothing better than sticking it in the fridge or freezer and enjoying it as leftovers at a later date. However, if you don’t store this food properly, not only could you invite pests into your home, but you could also either get sick from eating the food or waste the food when it’s no longer fit for consumption.
To help you avoid all of these outcomes, here are three tips for properly storing leftovers.
Get Things Right With Your Refrigerator
Before you start putting your leftovers away, you’ll want to make sure that your refrigerator has the right settings to keep your food safe.
According to Vivian Manning-Schaffel, a contributor to NBCNews.com, you should have your refrigerator set to below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Generally, somewhere between 36 and 38 degrees is ideal. And because about one in four people don’t have their fridge set to a cold enough temperature, you should be sure to check this before you stash any more leftovers in there.
As another way to ensure that your fridge is cold enough, you’ll want to be sure that you don’t overstock it with food. When your fridge is too full, it can make it hard for cool air to circulate enough to keep everything as cold as it should be in order to safely be eaten later.
Put Food In The Proper Storage Containers
When storing leftovers in your fridge or freezer, you should be sure that you’re using the proper storage containers so as to keep your food safe.
Ideally, Betty Gold, a contributor to Real Simple, shares that you should store your food in airtight containers. This can either be done by transferring your food into a separate container or using a leak-proof wrap over the food. Storing food in something that isn’t airtight won’t keep your food as fresh, which means your leftovers won’t last nearly as long or taste as good once you get around to eating them.
Eat Foods Before They Go Bad
Getting your foods into your fridge for storage is only half of the battle for properly handling your leftovers. Along with this, you also have to ensure that you’re eating your foods before they go bad.
According to Katie Avis-Riordan, a contributor to HouseBeautiful, foods with rice or pasta should only be stored in the fridge for up to six days while cooked meat and vegetables should only sit for two days. To ensure that you eat this food in time, make sure you label items as you put them in your fridge.
If you love having leftovers, consider implementing some of the tips mentioned above to keep your stored food fresh and safe for you.