A common mistake you might make sometimes is overestimating the amount of food you need to cook. Another reason could be the absence of a family member or eating less for any other reason. The consequence is leftovers Leftovers are an attractive medium for bacterial growth. Therefore, you should store leftovers carefully and reheat them in the ideal way to ensure food safety.
Cool leftovers as quickly as possible and then store them in the fridge. Do not leave cooked food at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Micro-organisms (bacteria) can multiply very quickly if food is stored at room temperature. By holding at temperatures below 5°C or above 60°C, the growth of micro-organisms is slowed down or stopped. Refrigerate promptly all cooked food (preferably below 5°C). However, do not store food too long even in the refrigerator. Eat any leftovers within two days.
Separate raw food from cooked food:
Store your prepared food in containers to avoid it coming in contact with raw foods. This helps in the prevention of any possible cross contamination between them.
Kitchen foil, which is made from aluminium, can be useful for wrapping and covering foods. But it’s best not to use foil or containers made from aluminium to store foods that are highly acidic, such as tomatoes, cabbage and many soft fruits. This is because aluminium can affect the taste of these kinds of food, especially if they are stored in it for a long time.
Make sure that you use the right utensils to reheat the leftovers and that the utensils are of good quality. If the equipment is not suitable for reheating or is not used properly, the food might not get hot enough to kill the bacteria. Always reheat food until it is piping hot all the way through (you can reheat food only once).
Using the Microwave to Reheat Leftovers
If you use a microwave to reheat food that you have cooked yourself, it is a good idea to stir it while reheating. This helps you make sure that the food is the same temperature all the way through. When food is microwaved, it can be very hot at the edges and still be cold in the centre and stirring helps to prevent this.
If food is not served immediately, the temperature will drop and harmful bacteria could grow. Remember, reheating means cooking again, not just warming up. So, always check that reheated food is piping hot (steaming) all the way.