How to Properly Store Your Catering Leftovers

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!

Catering Peachtree City Georgia 678-340-0510
Catering Peachtree City Georgia 678-340-0510

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.


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.

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Tips for Storing Thanksgiving Day Leftovers

There is nothing quite like the comfort of enjoying a big plate of Thanksgiving Day leftovers. In fact, many people look forward not only to Thanksgiving Day, but also the day after, simply for the pleasures of leftover turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and of course, pie! So even though Thanksgiving is over, the holiday will keep on giving, so long as you store all your leftovers properly that is. Improper storage practices can reduce the quality of food, as well as pose several health risks since contamination can happen quite quickly.

In order to get the most of your holiday leftovers, and to protect your loved ones, be sure, you know how to store food the right way. You can give your fridge a   quick check right now to see if your storage practices are keeping your foods tasty and fresh.

Continue reading to learn all the tips you need to know for storing Thanksgiving leftovers, safely.

Georgia Catering Services
Georgia Catering Services 678-340-0510

Cooling and Packing

Leftover foods should be stored in a separate container than the one they were served in. So, if you simply put your sweet potato casserole dish in the fridge and covered it with some plastic wrap, it is not the best practice for maintaining quality and freshness. Instead, pack all leftover foods separately in shallow containers with airtight lids, or plastic storage bags. Use the smallest container possible for each type of food you are storing to reduce oxygen exposure.

Length of Time

in order to maintain top quality and freshness, it is best to consume your Thanksgiving leftovers within 5 to 7 days. It is recommended to simply reheat the portion of food that you want to eat rather than heating up the entire container. Although it is safety reheat the entire container, and then store it again, reheating one portion at a time as needed will keep the food fresher for longer. If you wish to freeze your leftovers, be sure to use freezer-safe containers or plastic bags. In the freezer, leftovers should remain good for 2 to 6 months.

Defrosting Frozen Foods

There are three primary ways to thaw out leftover frozen foods. The best way to defrost frozen foods is to simply place them in the refrigerator and let them thaw out overnight. Just be sure to transfer them to a plate and keep them in the container. You can also choose to use cold running water to defrost frozen foods. To do this, run lukewarm water at your kitchen faucet directly on top of the frozen container. Depending on the mass and volume of the item, this can take anywhere from an hour to several hours. If you don’t waste water, you can fill a large bowl with lukewarm water, and place the frozen item inside. This can also take a few hours; however, you will feel like you’re wasting water or money. The least recommended way to de-thaw frozen foods is to use the microwave. If you choose to use this method, just be sure to follow your manufacturer’s instructions for your particular make and model microwave.

Reheating Leftovers

As mentioned, leftover foods can remain in the refrigerator safely for up to seven days. In order to reheat them safely, be sure the internal temperatures reach 165° Fahrenheit. If you are reheating sauces, be sure to bring them to a full boil before consuming to ensure any bacterial growth has been killed. When reheating foods in the microwave, use microwave-safe plate or containers, and rotate them during the heating process to ensure even cooking.

Georgia Catering Services

Call Food for Thought Catering at 678-340-0510 for professional catering in Newnan, Georgia you can trust! We are skilled culinary professionals who specialize in full-service catering, including decadent desserts like made-from-scratch cookies! You can customize everything down to the very last detail, from menus and service, to themes, décor, venues, and more. Request a free consultation, today!

Food for Thought Catering 678-340-0510
Food for Thought Catering 678-340-0510