Making the most of leftovers

January 19, 2007 in Food Safety

Making the most of leftovers

Ever wonder what you should do with that little bit of extra coffee left in the pot or the leftover rice from dinner?  Read on to learn about some of our favourite tips for dealing with leftovers...

Extra coffee - Instead of throwing out the little bit of extra coffee left in the pot, freeze the coffee in an ice cube tray.  Use the cubes to cool down coffee without diluting it with extra cream or water.  The same goes for tea, use it to cool down your mug of tea.

Leftover rice - If you have leftover rice after dinner, freeze it in ¾ cup portions for a quick and easy addition to a meal in the future.  This is especially useful for packing lunches or a quick way to cut down on cooking time for brown rice.

Stale bread - if the ends of your loaf of bread are starting to go stale, pop them in the freezer instead of giving them to the birds.  Next time you need bread crumbs, croutons or stuffing - just take them out and toast, crumble or dice as necessary.

How long can you keep leftovers before they should be tossed? Foods don't have to look or smell bad to be unsafe to eat.  The general rule of thumb for most leftovers, including dishes that contain meat, fish, poultry or eggs, is four days, as long as they are handled and stored properly.

Most bacteria will grow if food is kept between 4° C and 40°C, also known as the "danger zone". That means always refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared food and leftovers within 2 hours.  Same goes for food left on the counter, in the car or in your lunch bag. Any food left in the danger zone for more than 2 hours should be discarded.

For more safe food handling tips click here.

For more information on cooling and storing leftovers, visit the Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.