Holiday foods are a mainstay that most cannot do without. Making too much can mean working around containers of leftovers for what seems like an eternity. These foods are only safe to eat for a few days after the holiday dinner. Below is a quick look at the best ways to safely deal with tons of leftover holiday foods.

Preparation and Storage

After the holiday meal, the real work begins. You need to remove turkey, goose, chicken, or ham off the bone and store them separately for freezing or placing in the refrigerator. This process should begin as soon as two hours after the food has been served. Salmonella is naturally found near the bones of poultry. Pulling the meat away from the bones will keep the leftovers safe to eat for a longer period of time.

Freeze What You Cannot Eat

Take a realistic inventory of the leftovers. If there is more left than can be reasonably eaten within the next three or four days, freeze some. Freeze each item separately. This way if one item goes bad it does not spoil the lot.

Cooked Foods and Timing

Cooked foods begin to grow bacteria at an alarmingly fast pace. Uncooked foods will also begin to build bacteria, but much slower. These should also be placed in the refrigerator. You can plan for leftovers and bake smaller dishes, just more of them. These extra dishes can be immediately stored in the refrigerator or freezer.

Cooked Foods and Temperature

Anytime cooked foods are kept at temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, the odds increase that the bacteria causing food poisoning will build. This is your typical ambient air temperature. Maintaining foods in this environment for hours at a time can cause the food to go bad quickly.

Reheat Portions On the Stove

Only pull out portions to reheat that you will eat at the time. reheating everything over and over can cause an alarming number of bacteria to accumulate. Keep everything in separate containers and never use a slow cooker for reheating. It does not get the foods warm enough to kill built up bacteria.

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