Using Leftovers in the Kitchen


Nowadays food shopping often means stocking up on several days worth of supplies; this is why knowing how to manage stores is vital, even without useful systems like vacuum packaging.

Food contamination and salubrity: no sweat

First point: don't overload your fridge.

The air inside it must be able to circulate freely, to prevent the formation of harmful mould and yeast, meaning that you should never exceed the maximum capacity of your appliance. Even if there is room for more food, packing in too much would undermine its correct conservation, resulting in us wasting resources and money.

Storing according to different refrigeration zones help us to do a good job: the ideal temperature for meat and fish is between 0° and 2°C; fresh dairy products are best stored between 0° and 4°C; charcuterie, eggs and cheeses between 2° and 6°C; fruit and vegetables at 6-8°C. In practice this means that foodstuffs should be stored accordingly, considering that the coolest shelf is the lowest one, just above the vegetable drawer.

 Liquids – home made sauces and condiments- should be stored close to refrigerating walls, in containers that are low and wide (no deeper than 7 cm), to ensure rapid and uniform cooling.

Glass and metal receptacles should be stored in the lower part, to prevent condensation which forms on surfaces from dripping down onto any food below; no frost technology has minimised this problem, but you should be aware of it all the same.

Raw and cooked foodstuffs should be conserved in different appliances altogether, which is far from practical in a domestic setting. This is why it is important to remember that cooked foods should always be stored higher up than raw foods.

Refrigeration blocks the proliferation of microorganisms in foodstuffs; as soon as the temperature rises, contamination resumes, which is why it is important to proceed rapidly with preparation and consumption. Poultry, meat, fish and seafood are the highest risk food groups, which is why an internal cooking temperature of 70°C is always recommended. If you still decide to serve crudité, you'll need to be aware of sanitising treatments (blast chilling, conservation) as well as the provenance of foodstuffs.

Rapid cooking at a high temperature is the safest option in terms of health and hygiene. In addition to traditional systems (boiling, steaming or pan frying), pressure cookers, ventilated ovens (preferable over static ones as more effective heat circulation is guaranteed) and vapour ovens ensure the best combination of conserved nutritional values and food safety.


[bibliographic source: M. De Santis, P. Mazzuca, Ciboterapia]

Elisa Azzimondi