Food-Leftovers. How safe are they?
Updated: Apr 21
What do you do when you end up with too many leftovers of the previous night’s dinner? How many times can you reheat them? Can refreezing help me store the food for a more extended period? The below article will deal with all sorts of FAQs that may pop up.
First and foremost, one needs to ensure that food has to cook at the right temperature. For that, one must use a probe or a digital thermometer to be very accurate.
Before that, I would like to brief on what exactly is a danger zone temperature.
Zoom into the image for better clarity and understanding
The above figure will explain about the different temperatures along with the danger zone temperature where there is a maximum of microorganisms.
The following pointers shall ensure different handling methods of the leftovers:-
1. Store it under chiller temperature for 48 hours and not beyond. Ensure the product is tightly sealed or stored in an airtight container.
2. Ensure the internal temperature, i.e. the middle thicker portion/ consistency of the food is equally heated for a minimum of 75˚C
3. Do not reheat more than twice, as you will again go back to the danger zone temperature
4. While reheating a more significant portion, ensure the food is cooled rapidly. To do this, use the method of small portioning of the food, which will fast fasten the process of cooling and decrease the multiplication of microorganisms.
5. Freeze the leftover after sealing it well.
6. Do not re-freeze the same item once if you have used it. It will not increase and sustain the freshness of the product. Refreezing increases the water content to the product and hence increases the chances of spoiling while chilling and cooking again.
7. Ensure the thawing process is done step by step and not rapidly. The preferred thawing process is either by chiller method or cold running water method.
8. If the leftovers are chicken or protein-rich food, you can use them in your salads or sandwich when cooked at a minimum temperature for 65˚C.
9. Do not store or use the used spoon or spatula along with the leftover food container. Due to which will increase the chances of spoilage.
10. The date and time tagging system will help to keep a check on the food spoilage.
In simple words, time and temperature, play a much role in every aspect of storage and cooking of the food. Ensure we keep track of what we eat.