Plastics are the perfect material for storing leftover food and keeping it fresh for a little while longer. They are non-toxic and non-reactive, so do not contaminate food. Plastics tubs and containers can also come in a variety of shapes and sizes – some include airtight seals that keep food fresh for even longer. They can also be used to store food in the freezer.
Plastics help to reduce food waste and save us money. By not having to throw away leftover food, we can save money at the grocery store by buying fewer ingredients and food items. Plastics play an important role in our lives – sometimes we are not even aware of it. Here are our top tips for storing leftover food.
Tip 1: Store leftover food in a sealable plastic container within two hours after cooking. These leftovers can be placed in the fridge or freezer, depending on the type of food.
Tip 2: The less air in the container, the better. When storing leftovers in a sealable plastic bag, squeeze out as much air as possible. This helps to save space and prevent freezer burn.
Tip 3: Store different food items from a meal in different containers. Meats must be separated from starches, which must be separated from vegetables. This prevents food from spoiling faster and avoids cross-contamination if one food does go off.
Tip 4: Store leftover food in shallow and wide plastic containers. This helps to cool the food down more quickly when placed in the fridge or freezer. Deep containers take longer to cool or thaw.
Tip 5: Remember that freezing food may prevent the growth of mold and microbes, but it does not kill any bacteria that already exists in the leftovers. When removing these foods from the freezer, do not let them thaw and sit at room temperature for too long before eating or recooking. If possible, thaw leftover food in the fridge for 24 hours before needed.
Tip 6: Sealable plastic bags, heavy-duty cling films and plastic containers with wide openings are the best plastic products to use for storing frozen foods in the freezer. Some plastics are temperature resistant, so are not ideal for use in a freezer. Always check the container to see if it is labelled as safe for use in a freezer.
Tip 7: If in doubt, throw it out! If you are ever suspicious of leftover food, either because it looks soft and watery or if it has a slight smell, it is safest to throw it away. Food poisoning is not only painful and unpleasant, it can actually be quite dangerous too.
These tips will help consumers to safely store their leftover food in plastic containers and sealable bags. By keeping food fresh for longer, we can consume it before it spoils and save money at the grocery store. Plastics play such an important role in the home, especially when it comes to food and cooking.
Plastics SA represents all sectors of the South African plastics industry. Together with our associations, we play an active role in the growth and development of the industry and strive to address plastics related issues, influence role-players and make plastics the material of choice.
Plastics SA has been mandated to ensure a vibrant and sustainable plastics industry in South Africa. The plastics sector is uniquely placed to meet the needs of a sustainable society and to deliver solutions to many challenges such as recycling, climate change, water scarcity, resource usage and energy recovery.