If you’re making a holiday meal, odds are you will probably have some leftover food. If you’re cooking for a large group, you may have a lot of leftovers. Before you shove all those dishes of extras into the refrigerator and then try and eat as much as you can tomorrow, take a look at these 6 tips to make those leftovers last longer and keep as many of them out of the trash as possible.
1. Monitor How Long Food Is Left Out
The first step to extending the life of your leftovers should occur as soon as food comes out of the oven. Knowing how long food will stay fresh on the counter before it needs to be moved for storage will ensure that leftovers are safe to eat and extend their life once put away.
Perishables such as meat, dairy and eggs should be left out at room temperature for no longer than two hours, according to the Mayo Clinic. After that, bacteria can begin to grow. Since your holiday dinner may last for a large portion of the evening, be mindful of how long food has been sitting out. Take care with other foods such as fruit or salads, since they cannot be left at room temperature forever either.