Did you know there are proper ways to store leftovers? Making sure you store your leftover food properly is key to ensuring your family doesn’t get sick from bacteria from food spoilage. Learn all of my best tips and hacks for safely storing leftover food.
Basic Tips for Storing Leftover Food
- Refrigerate food within 2 hours of cooking.
- Throw away any perishable food that’s been kept at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
- Discard any cold food (salads, deli meats, etc) leftovers that have been left out for more than 2 hours at room temperature.
- Divide large amounts of food (pots of soup or large pieces of meat) into shallow containers so it cools more quickly.
- Cover leftovers and immediately refrigerate or freeze to quickly cool them.
- Most leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days or frozen for 3 to 4 months.
- Leftovers containing meat should be used or discarded within 3 days.
- Leftovers without meat can be kept up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Vacuvita® One Touch Storage System. I received product in exchange for this post. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.
Hacks for Storing Leftover Food
- Label your leftovers with the date so you’re never left wondering when the food was stored.
- Don’t over stuff your fridge. The air needs to circulate inside in order to keep the temperature even.
- Be sure to include leftovers in your meal plan – this way you’re sure to use them.
- Schedule a “leftover” night to ensure your leftovers get eaten.
- Don’t overload the fridge. Food needs to stay between 35 and 40 degrees F, and packing too much in the fridge will inhibit the cool air from circulating effectively. Spread the containers out as much as you can.
Tips for Thawing Leftovers
- Let leftovers thaw naturally in the refrigerator. This takes a while, but ensures the leftovers will stay safe.
- Use thawed leftovers within 3-4 days or refreeze.
- Thaw frozen leftovers that are in a leak-proof package in a cold water bath. This speeds up the thaw process. Food thawed using this method should not be refrozen until it is cooked.
- The fastest way to thaw leftovers is in the microwave. Follow the guidelines on your microwave model for thawing food.
Tools for Saving Leftovers
- Zip top storage bags
- Clear containers with tight fitting lids
- Refrigerator tape and permanent markers
- Vacuvita® One Touch Storage System
Vacuvita® is like a modern day, high tech, connected bread box. Food is stored in an eye-catching Home Base container, to keep it fresher longer. The Home Base then pairs with an easy-to-use vacuum tube to seal food in coordinating, reusable containers or vacuum seal bags.
There is even an app to help keep track of everything you have stored with reminders to let you know when it will expire. This way you won’t forget what you have stored in your Vacuvita containers.
Food lasts up to five times longer so you can significantly cut down on waste when you store it the Vacuvita® system. You can even use your Vacuvita products to marinate or sous vide.
Tips for Ultimate Freshness with the Vacuvita System
- When storing bread products in your Vacuvita Home Base, leave it wrapped in paper or plastic.
- Do not store both dry and moist foods in Home Base simultaneously.
- Wash, clean and dry fresh fruits and vegetables before vacuum sealing in bags.
- Never store bananas or soft cheese in vacuum.
More Kitchen Tips You Might Like
Looking for more? Check out all of the cooking tips on It Is a Keeper.