Reduce food wastage and store your leftovers safely! By Dawn Chen
Store leftover food in the fridge so that it doesn’t go bad. Photo: Joe Belanger / www.123rf.com
Tables full of good food make common appearances at festive gatherings, but what do you do when the night is over, everyone’s stuffed, and there are still bowls of pasta and plates of meat left to go around? Instead of dumping the leftovers, reduce food wastage and keep them for the next day. Figures from the National Environment Agency show that in 2014 alone, Singapore generated 788.6 million kilograms of food waste – that’s equivalent to two bowls of food per person per day! Besides being bad for your wallet, it’s also bad for the environment as only 13 per cent of food waste is recycled, and the rest is incinerated and sent to the landfill. Heed these tips from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and learn how to store and reheat your leftovers safely!
Wrap and store your leftovers well
Got a plate of roast chicken that nobody could finish? Store it in an airtight container or sandwich bag before putting it into the fridge. According to experts at the USDA, “These practices help keep bacteria out, retain moisture, and prevent leftovers from picking up odours from other food in the refrigerator.” You can freeze the leftovers or refrigerate them if you’ll be eating them the next couple of days. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for about three to four days, and in the freezer for three to four months. If the food turns colour or grows mouldy before that, throw it out immediately.
Reheating leftover food
When reheating soups, gravies and stews, you can warm them up over the stove by bringing them to a vigorous boil. You can also reheat food in the microwave – just be sure to rotate the food so that it gets evenly heated up. It is important for all leftovers to be heated till they reach at least 75 degrees Celsius.
Refreezing leftover leftovers
Still can’t finish the food? It’s safe refreeze the leftovers again if they were previously reheated to the safe temperature of at least 75 degrees Celsius. But really, just portion your meals accordingly to that you end up with less leftovers next time!