A term commonly used to describe the excess food that is remaining after being prepared for a meal, snack, or a similar food event. If leftovers are to be kept for future use, they should be stored in a refrigerator or freezer in order to keep the foods from becoming unsafe for consumption. After foods have been prepared with heat and are to be stored as leftovers, it is necessary to reduce the temperature of the leftovers as quickly as possible. There are several ways to accomplish this without leaving the food exposed to warm temperatures for too long of a time, thus cooling too slowly and allowing harmful bacteria to begin to grow. The leftovers can be slowly cooled by placing remaining food items in the refrigerator in shallow containers with lids that are not tightly closed immediately. Once they have chilled sufficiently, they can then be tightly covered and kept for several days or frozen for keeping longer. Foods can be quickly cooled by placing the food in containers and the immersing them in cold water. If the food is in a large container, it may take too long to cool by simply leaving it out on a counter, so it is best to divide the food into smaller portions and begin the cooling process as soon as possible. Food items that are very hot can remain at room temperature for cooling for 30 minutes or less before they are refrigerated.

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