Catering service is an excellent and reliable asset to use for your party planning needs, so long as you choose the right company, of course. The right caterers can customize your event menus, prepare all foods and meals, plus provide a wide range of vendor procurement, food delivery, waitstaff service, and cleanup options. Professional catering is the convenient and cost-effective approach to pulling off a memorable and successful event.
But when you cater a large group, you are bound to have all sorts of leftovers. From salads and hors d’oeuvres to breads, sides, main courses, desserts, and more, catering leftovers are a food-lover’s dream. But in order to take full advantage of them all, you must know how to properly store them. Not only does proper food storage extend the life of your leftovers, allowing you to enjoy them until they are done, but is also avoids the chances of food-borne illnesses.
Continue below to learn some tips on how to store catered leftovers so that you can safely and cost-effectively feed your crew for weeks to come!
Your Leftovers Have Value
Although you have no option but to toss out old or expired foods, it still impacts your conscience knowing that you could have prevented them from spoiling so soon. Food waste wastes more than just foods, it also wastes money, and worse, makes you feel guilty. After taking home all of the leftover catered foods from your party or event, it is in your best interest to properly store them in a timely fashion so that you can safely serve and enjoy them for as long as possible. After all, catered food is so delicious, you wouldn’t want to miss out on a single bite!
Food Storage Tips for Leftovers
According to Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, and owner of Real Nutrition NYC, the biggest error of judgement you can make when it comes to leftovers is letting them sit out for too long. She urges people to “Leave leftovers out for no more than two hours at room temperature. Otherwise, bacteria grows, which is one of the biggest causes of foodborne Illness.”
According to another expert, Angela L. Murad, RDN, wellness dietitian at the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program, another common mistake made with leftovers is not marking their containers with labels and dates. Furthermore, try to assign a use for them, like using leftover French fries in a morning omelet or scramble. You can also place notes out to remind you when to reheat them or use them in a recipe.
The Best Way to Store Leftover Food
All leftovers should be broken down into smaller portions and allocated evenly into airtight containers. If you do not have airtight containers, plastic bags that are tightly sealed work well. After repackaging, it is encouraged to label and date the containers for optimal organization. So, where do you store them and how long will they last there? Depending on the type of food, you may need to separate your leftovers between your fridge and freezer, while some good might even be stored in the pantry or on the shelf.
RULE OF THUMB:
Basically, if it has been cooked or cooled, it needs to be refrigerated or frozen when it becomes a leftover. Be sure your fridge is set between 36 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit. If you cannot use these items within the suggested time limit, it is recommended to freeze them. However, it is not recommended to freeze cheese or hard-boiled eggs! Breads and pastries can be transferred to a breadbox or airtight container in the pantry.
Flash Guide for Leftover Food Storage:
◘ Leafy Salads – 1 Day
◘ Creamed Salads (Egg, Chicken, Tuna, Macaroni, etc.) – 3 to 5 Days
◘ Pasta Salad – 4 to 5 Days
◘ Hard-Boiled Eggs – 1 Week
◘ Hard Cheeses – 3 to 4 Weeks
◘ Soft Cheeses – 1 Week
◘ Casseroles – 3 to 4 Days
◘ Mashed Potatoes – 3 to 4 Days
◘ Cooked Pasta (No Sauce) – 2 to 3 Days
◘ Gravy & Sauces – 1 Week
◘ Pizza – 3 to 4 Days
◘ Cooked Seafood – 3 to 4 Days
◘ Vegetarian Rice and Pasta Dishes – 3 to 5 Days
◘ Steaks, Pork & Chicken – 3 to 4 Days
◘ Soups and Stews – 3 to 4 Days
◘ Cooked Vegetables – 3 to 4 Days
◘ Cookies, Pies & Cakes – 1 Week
Are you looking for a professional and experienced catering company to help make your upcoming event a success? Contact Food for Thought Catering at 678-340-0510 for trusted Peachtree City GA catering that delivers above and beyond your expectations. We also help with décor, themes, vendors, and more! Request a consultation, today.