The Grinch Who Stole the Holiday Fun
You will spend countless hours preparing for the holiday feast, but amidst the hustle and bustle, bacteria can creep into your special dish and spoil the fun. Nobody wants that!!!!!!! It is not just the main courses that can wreck your holiday but appetizers and side dishes. Starchy dishes like mashed potatoes are breeding grounds for bacteria that cause vomiting and diarrhea. Appetizers and desserts are often dairy-based. These can go bad quickly and we tend to leave them out for hours so that people can nibble or go back for seconds. The sniff test is not a good indicator is a food is spoiled—many bacteria do not smell bad.
There are a few rules of thumb to keep the Grinch from spoiling your holiday.
Rules of thumb:
- Set the refrigerator at 40 °F (4.4 ºC) or below and the freezer at 0 °F (-17.7 ºC) or below. Unsure of the temperature—check it with an appliance thermometer.
- The 2-hour rule: discard any food left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours—1 hour if the temperature was above 90 °F (32.2 ºC).
- Place food into shallow containers and immediately put in the refrigerator or freezer for rapid cooling.
- Use cooked leftovers within 4 days.
- Reheat solid leftovers to 165 °F (73.9 °C) and heat sauces, soups, and gravies to boiling.
Based on the ingredients, some leftovers remain safe to eat for less time than 4 days and others longer. Click here for a storage recommendations for favorite holiday foods.
Happy Holidays! Don't let the Grinch steal your holiday fun. Stay tuned for our next blog on Saturday, December 26, for recipes that will use any leftover ham!!
From the ONIE Project Team