How To Safely Store & Reheat Your Leftovers
We all do it. Look at the takeout menu and decide to order far too much because it all looks delicious. However as usual our eyes are bigger than our bellies and we’re often left with a good amount of leftovers. So of course we decide to pop it in the fridge and have the rest the next day, but do you know how to safely reheat this food?
Whether it’s Chinese, Indian, Thai or even just pasta – reheating walks a very thin line between food poisoning or a wonderful lunch.
When you’re feeling horrible and stricken down by stomach cramps, sickness or diarrhoea, most of us will automatically blame it on the last food we ate. However in reality half of all reported food poisoning cases are caused by what we’ve eaten at home. This is often caused by incorrectly re-heating your food or not storing it properly. So, let’s get to know the basic rules for reheating your food – that way we can all enjoy a little leftover chow mein!
Storing Your Leftovers
Do NOT put a batch of freshly cooked HOT food into your COLD fridge. The heat from the dish will slowly raise the internal temperature of the fridge. This will not only create a thriving environment for bacteria on your leftovers but also start to affect the safety of the rest of the food in the fridge. Cooling your leftovers should be done within 3-4 hours maximum. This is easily done by removing the food from the hot dishes and putting into your chosen containers. Cover the food over and let it cool down to room temperature (around 20°C).
You should also store leftovers in your fridge for no more than 2 days. If you can freeze some then do so but be sure to follow our reheating guidelines either way.
Here at Thermapen we sell a variety of handy little fridge thermometers. Your fridge should normally be between 3°C and 5°C – that’s the best temperature to keep food from spoiling. If the temperature is any higher bacteria will grow faster, which can ruin your food. If the temperature goes too low it can cause frost, which damages the food and makes it taste bad.
Reheating Your Leftovers
Reheated foods should be heated until they reach and maintain 70°C or above for 2 minutes. The food should be piping hot throughout. If you’re planning on using a microwave to reheat then be sure to take your food out halfway through cooking and give it a good stir. Microwaves do not heat evenly throughout and can often leave ‘cold pockets’ where bacteria can quickly multiply.
We recommend using our Thermapen Professional to accurately check the internal temperature of your leftovers. Reaching the correct temperature in just 3 seconds it is both quick and easy to use. It also has automatic sleep mode, a backlight and 360° rotating display and is waterproof to IP 66/67. Simply insert the probe into your chosen food/liquid and wait 3 seconds before reading the temperature, ensuring your food is cooked safely and you will never again have to ask yourself ‘Is It Cooked?’ or ‘Is It Safe?’.
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