Food Safety Tips For Leftovers

Got leftovers? Great! Just be sure you’re aware of these food safety tips for leftovers. Whether it’s a the terrific chili your friend sent you home with after the football party or pumpkin cheesecake from your favorite restaurant, proper storage and re-heating is key. For example, as convenient as slow-cooker recipes are, you should never use the appliance for leftovers! For more info, check out our Top 10 Food Handling Tips article and Top 10 Safety Rules for kids.
  • Refrigerate or freeze leftovers within two hours.
  • Cool leftovers quickly. Before refrigerating or freezing, slice large cuts of meat and store in serving-size packets. Use small containers to store stews and chilis.
  • Label leftovers with the date.
  • Check the refrigerator once a week and discard old leftovers. When in doubt, throw it out!
  • Reheat leftovers until piping hot all the way through.
  • To ensure even reheating in a microwave oven:
    • Cover food with a vented covering.
    • Rotate food halfway through cooking time.
    • Stir food halfway through cooking time (even if oven has turntable).
    • Stir food again after cooking is completed.
    • Allow food to stand for five minutes after cooking.
  • Never reheat leftovers in a slow-cooker. The gradual heating promotes bacterial growth.