The Christmas season is finally here! As the song says, ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year.’ It’s the season where families celebrate life, become thankful for the great year that has passed amidst the challenges. It’s also the time of year where people prepare gifts for their loved ones. Every family, big or small, related by blood or not, would gather together to eat their Christmas dinner on Christmas eve.
Due to every family’s festive food preparation, leftovers are always part of the deal. As they say, the holidays don’t end until you’re able to savor the last bite of your Christmas meal. However, storing food might not be easy as it sounds because there are things you need to consider as you do it, to ensure the freshness and longevity of the food. Doing so will enable you to enjoy your Christmas food the day after your celebration and onwards.
If you want to know how to store your Christmas leftovers safely, check out these six essential tips to guide you in your food storage:
Prepare Suitable Containers
First things first, prepare your containers.
As you prepare yourself and plan things for your Christmas dinner, you should also consider getting suitable containers for your leftovers a day before. Prior to storage, you have to check if the containers you’ll be using are clean. Wash them thoroughly and dry them before use to keep them safe from any form of bacteria that might contaminate the food.
Using air-tight containers such as Tupperware food storage containers and other well-sealed containers is essential. Doing so will not only prevent cross-contamination, which can be very unsafe, but it will also help keep your food fresh. It will also decrease the chances of rancidity, thus, ensuring that your leftovers will last longer.
Make Sure The Fridge Is Clean And Organized
Secondly, preparing your fridge for storage is equally necessary. When you clean and organize your fridge, different sizes of containers can easily be stored or stacked inside.
Clearing up your fridge does not only enable you to create more space for your food items, but it lessens the time you have to spend on digging for what you need. Ideally, you want to declutter your refrigerator by taking away all the unnecessary items. Remember to take out spoiled food that might have been left inside for quite some time as this will cause the spread of bacteria.
It would be best to organize your fridge using stackable containers. They are ideal for storage and transportation because they can be nested easily.
Adjust Your Fridge’s Temperature Ahead Of Time
Moreover, ensure that your fridge and freezer’s temperature is right for the leftovers. According to studies, bacteria can thrive and grow in temperatures between 40 degrees to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, make sure that you set your fridge’s temperature lower than 40 degrees Fahrenheit to lessen the chances of bacteria growth.
It’d also be best to adjust your fridge’s temperature two hours before putting your leftovers inside. Doing so will help maintain its temperature especially after you store the food items in it.
Keep The Two-Hour Rule
Keep in mind that time is crucial for a long-lasting leftover.
When you and your family have finished eating your Christmas dinner together, you must store the leftover food right away. Always keep the two-hour rule in mind. It means that the food left should be kept in the fridge within two hours after consumption, otherwise, you’ll compromise its freshness. When this happens, it will lead to spoilage.
However, take into consideration the temperature of the food. Never store leftovers in the fridge while they’re still hot. Doing so might alter the maintained temperature of your fridge by decreasing its coldness. This could also put you at risk of getting foodborne illnesses and could damage your appliance.
Store Them In Smaller Portions
In addition to safe food storage, it’s ideal to keep your leftovers in smaller portions.
Through this, you’ll be able to avoid unnecessary reheating and refrigerating of food. Whenever you need to reheat some leftovers for yourself, you can quickly grab one container and toss it in the microwave. It saves you the hassle of taking out everything and returning them to the fridge.
Place Notes On Each Container
Lastly, it’d help to put a note on the container stating when you’ve stored them and until when you can consume them.
Consider that your leftovers won’t last forever. There will always be differences in their expiration dates. Leaving a note on each container would help you remember which ones you should reheat and consume first. Some of them last longer compared to others.
For instance, how long will your chicken salad last? Would it spoil faster compared to your grilled meat? If so, you should eat or serve it right away to avoid food waste.
Indeed, this occasion is made even more special with the Christmas dinner each home prepares. Whether the celebration is big or small, grand or simple, it’d be best if we know how to store our leftovers properly.
Considering the six helpful tips given above, safely storing your Christmas dinner leftovers is as easy as pie. It’ll allow you to preserve the food’s freshness, keep the bacteria at bay, lengthen its lifespan and enjoy it while it lasts.