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Enjoy Your Leftovers!

by Lindsey Sexton - July 14, 2017

Blue plate with partially eaten meal of peas, potatoes, carros, and breaded hotdog.
It is common to see leftovers once a meal has been cooked at home or at a restaurant. Safe handling of leftovers is very important to reducing foodborne illness.

Keep food out of the Danger Zone
Help your food cool quickly in the fridge. Separate food into several shallow containers. If there are whole roasts or hams, slice the meat into smaller parts for faster cooling.

Store leftovers safely
Cover leftovers tightly or store them in an airtight container.

Thaw frozen leftovers safely
Thawing can be done in the refrigerator, cold water, or in the microwave. While the refrigerator method is the slowest, it is also the safest. Cold water is faster, but requires more attention. Place the leftovers in a leak proof package and change the cold water out every 30 minutes to thaw more quickly. Do not thaw food in warm or hot water. If thawing in a microwave, cook the food immediately, since the microwave may begin cooking the food.

Reheat leftovers to 165⁰F
Check with a meat thermometer to ensure food is at a safe temperature.

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