If you're bulk cooking or eating more meals at home than you're used to, you may be finding an uptick in leftovers as well.
But food safety is as key for everyday life as as it is for large holiday celebrations such as Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Here's your guide to avoiding an unwanted foodborne illness.
Supporting Local Restaurants?
If you're supporting local restaraunts with take-out purchases during the pandemic, you should eat the food within two hours to avoid harmful bacteria that begin to multiply. If you aren't eating the food within two hours and want to keep it hot, place the food in the oven at or above 140 degrees. Cover food in the oven to keep it moist.
Cold foods should get similar care. If you are not eating cold food within two hours after buying or preparing it, put it in the refrigerator or freezer for later use.
Safely Enjoying Leftovers
Refrigerate all leftovers promptly. Foods should not stay out of refrigeration longer than two hours. (In hot weather - 90 degrees Fahrenheit or above - this time is reduced to one hour.)
- Store leftover food in shallow containers no more than two inches deep.
- Reheat leftovers to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Discard any foods that may be unsafe to eat.
Know how long leftovers can last. Check the reference chart below.
Keeps Up To
Cooked fresh vegetables
Stew or soups
Cooked beef, pork, poultry, fish and meat casseroles
Cooked patties and nuggets, gravy and broth
Setting the Temperature is Key!
Set your refrigerator temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This keeps harmful bacteria from growing. Storing food in a refrigerator with temperatures higher than 40 degrees Fahrenheit increases the likelihood of foodborne illness.
Temperatures inside a refrigerator can vary, especially from season to season. Control the temperature by keeping a refrigerator thermometer in the center of the middle shelf (not on the door). Check thermometer often to be sure the temperature remains below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
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