Serving great food is one great way of making your event more memorable. But one pressing problem most event organizers face is having leftovers — whether their event is a wedding, a party, a corporate gathering, or even a simple family reunion. This is why many recommend investing in catering packages, as they offer an efficient way of storing and distributing foods that weren’t consumed.
In this article, you can read more tips on how to handle leftover food and keep the amount of food waste to a minimum.
Divide leftover meals into portions. This is a must-follow tip from catering packaging companies — when packaging your leftovers, divide them into portions you can realistically consume at one given time. This will help you avoid the need to refrigerate another set of leftovers. It doesn’t only degrade the quality of the food but it also poses a high risk of bacterial contamination.
Store your leftovers in tightly sealed containers. In line with avoiding bacterial contamination, another must-do is ensuring that the containers you will use are all tightly sealed. And if you are storing them in a freezer, the containers should be vapor- and moisture-resistant to preserve food quality and prevent the so-called freezer burn.
Label each package accordingly. To make things easier and more convenient for you later, you should also set aside time and label each package carefully and diligently. The label should contain important details — including the name of the dish, the ingredients used, as well as the packaging date. This will help you identify which ones should be consumed first.
Refrigerate them promptly. The general rule of thumb is to keep leftovers in catering packages and refrigerate/freeze them two hours after they’ve been initially prepared and served. The goal of this one is to reduce the chance of bacterial growth. Otherwise, leftover meals should be discarded already. On hotter days (or days with 90º F temperature or more), the two-hour period should be decreased to an hour.
Reduce the temperature of hot foods. Again, this tip is aligned with the aim of discouraging bacterial growth. For better cooling, divide the leftovers into smaller packages (as mentioned in the first bullet). While refrigerated, leave the containers partially uncovered until the leftovers freeze or reach 40º F.
Know how to reheat properly. When it’s time to consume your leftovers, it’s important to make sure that they are reheated thoroughly (reheat to at least 165 degrees). If the dish has a gravy, sauce, or soup, it must be brought to a boil. To retain moisture, cover leftovers when reheating.
When it doubt, discard your leftovers. While catering packaging is helpful in storing leftover foods, there’s still a limit to it. Typically, properly refrigerated leftovers can last up to four days (up to four to six months until the freezer). But if you think that they’ve been left uneaten for too long and you have doubts about eating them, then, it’s better to get rid of them than to put yourself at risk of consuming contaminated meals.
Donovan Bros has been a trusted supplier of catering packaging. We have a complete line of catering packages that caterers, chefs, virtual kitchens, and event organizers trust.