You have just had a large meal and have plenty of food leftover to keep for tomorrow. Many of us then load to food into our leftover containers and place it in the fridge till tomorrow.
But while the food may have tasted great the first day, you will need to take some precautions when reheating the food to ensure it is safe to eat the next time you have it.
How to properly store leftovers
Within 90 minutes of serving the food, you should have it back in the fridge cooling. However, you must walk a fine line to ensure the food is not too hot when you put it in the fridge.
To ensure the food cools properly, you will need to remove it from the pan you served it in. The original pan can often maintain some degree of warmth long after you take the food out of the oven. This is great for keeping the food tasting warm when you are eating it, but this leftover heat causes problems if it is still present when you begin cooling the food.
Container aside, if the food is too quickly put back in the fridge when it is still very hot this conflicting temperature can cause bacteria to multiply.
It is recommended you keep most leftovers in your fridge for no more than two days.
How to safely reheat your leftovers
The USDA says leftovers that have been cooked, then cooled, should reheat to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are reheating with an oven, set the temperature in the oven to a minimum of 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Most commonly you probably reheat your leftovers in the microwave. Use a thermometer to measure the temperature of the food and continue adding time to the microwave until you reach a sufficient temperature. The Mayo Clinic does not recommend using slow cookers to reheat your food as they are known to not make food hot enough to kill bacteria.
Microwaves do not heat evenly throughout the food, so you may need to spread the food out or place it in smaller pieces to ensure proper heat distribution.
Never reheat any food more than once! Simply take out and reheat the amount that you plan to eat.