Monday, June 16, 2014

Some Leftover Tips about Leftovers

I have had a couple of experiences happen to me in the last few days that have me thinking about leftovers and summer food safety.

The first is that my brother got married. And just like at most weddings, we had a celebration for them. It was a summer BBQ that totally fit their style and it was fantastically fun - and filled with food. But what got me thinking about leftovers is that we had a lot of some foods leftover from the party. What do we do with them? Are they still safe to eat? What is the best way to handle big summer food festivals like this to make sure everyone is eating food that has been properly prepared and stored prior to serving.

The second thing that has me thinking about leftovers is that my freezer got left open for an extended period of time. Like... CRAP! The freezer has been left open and stuff has melted all over the floor - Open. Not such a good thing. How do you decide what is still safe to eat and what (if anything) is going to have to be thrown out? How long can you freeze foods (is there a time limit?) and What to do if something like this happens to you.

I think the basic thing you need to know about leftovers is basic food safety. You want your food and everything you prepare to be safe and healthy in the first place. That means getting it home, handling and preparing it and storing it with the safest practices possible. I recommend that you start HERE. This is the place for you to start expanding your knowledge and to be sure you know the basics. Sometimes it feels like the world of germs (and stuff on your food) can seem very big (for something so small) and very very scary. But I feel much better knowing that I have control over foods that I bring into my home, prepare, and feed my family. I am a very scary force to be reckoned with when it comes to bacteria.

So once you are sure you have prepared your food safely, How do you keep it safe?  A good simple rule to follow is the 2:4 rule.

Never left your food stay "out" for longer than two hours.  and
Never keep leftovers for longer than 4 days.

That is a good simple way to be sure you are being safe.  If you want some more details on just how long you can keep specific items there are some excellent articles Here and Here.

As always, there is a lot of information out there. A lot to be learned and it seems like even more to be mastered. But don't be overwhelmed and discouraged. This is just like everything that Food $ense teaches, start doing what you can now and add to it. Every little change for the better can make a difference. Here are the Food $ense lessons specifically related to Food Safety. They are easy to understand and even easier to start doing in your life.