How to Store and Serve Leftovers

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Leftovers_cFood which has been cooked and frozen and is then left over after thawing or heating must never be re-frozen. Raw materials such as vegetables which have been frozen may however be returned to the freezer in cooked form. Cooked meats, vegetables and sauces may be refrozen as complete meals, or individually for a variety of end uses. Also, foods like oddments of cheese or bread can be processed and frozen for addition to other dishes.


Complete meals

Preparation and packing Use compartmented foil meal trays for individual portions of meat in sauce or gravy, vegetables and potatoes. Vegetables may be topped with parsley butter to give moistness on reheating. Potatoes are best mashed or in the form of Duchesse Potatoes or croquettes. Do not include any items which need different thawing or reheating treatment from the rest. Cover tray with foil lid.

Thawing and serving Heat with cover on at 375°F (Gas Mark 5) for 30 to 45 minutes.

Storage time 1 month.

Special notes It is important to process, pack and freeze leftovers immediately after a meal as soon as they have been cooled.

Vegetables

Preparation and packing Either put cooked vegetables into casseroles, pies or flans, bound with a little white or cheese sauce if necessary; or puree vegetables with a little stock and pack in small containers or ice cube trays, removing individual cubes and wrapping in foil for storage.

Thawing and serving Follow directions for thawing casseroles, pies or flans. Puree may be thawed in its container in the refrigerator for 2 hours, before heating in a double boiler; or frozen cubes may be added to soups, stews or sauces.

Storage time 1 month.

Sauces and gravy

Preparation and packing These may be added to pies or casseroles, or poured over cold meat or poultry slices. Only those thickened with cornflour are suitable for freezing. Small quantities may be frozen by the ice cube method, wrapping individual cubes in foil for storage.

Thawing and serving Follow the directions for thawing pies, casseroles or meat in sauce. Frozen cubes may be added to soups or casseroles, or heated in a double boiler to serve with meat or fish.

Storage time 1 month.

Meat and poultry

Preparation and packing

Alternative methods:

  1. Slice 1/4 inch thick and cover with gravy or sauce in a foil dish covered with a lid, or in a com-partmented foil dish with a lid as part of a complete meal.
  2. Slice 1/4 inch thick and pack tightly in layers separated by cellophane or greaseproof paper in boxes.
  3. Mince or cube the meat, and pack tightly in waxed or rigid plastic containers, preferably mixed with sauce or gravy.
  4. Make a meat loaf, rissoles or a cottage pie, and freeze in foil wrapping or container.
  5. Mash meat or poultry with a little butter and pack into small containers as paste.

Thawing and serving Reheat meat in gravy at 350°F (Gas Mark 4) for 35 minutes with lid on. Sliced cold meat should be thawed in its wrappings in the refrigerator for 3 hours, then put on absorbent paper to take up moisture. Minced or cubed meat in gravy can be reheated in a double boiler, or thawed for 3 hours in the refrigerator before using in such dishes as cottage pie or meat patties. Paste can be thawed in its container in the refrigerator for 3 hours.

Storage time 1 month.

Special notes Leftover stuffing from poultry should not be mixed with flesh, but can be frozen separately for 1 week's storage only.

Fish

Preparation and packing Fish spoils with overcooking which is bound to occur when a frozen dish is reheated. However, it may be used as Fish Cakes or fish pie. Small quantities of fish can be mashed with butter parsley and a little anchovy essence and packed in small containers as paste.

Thawing and serving Reheat fish cakes in a little fat or in moderate oven, and fish pie at 350°F (Gas Mark 4) for 35 minutes. Thaw paste in its container in the refrigerator for 3 hours.

Storage time 1 month.

Ham and bacon

Preparation and packing

  1. Cooked bacon is best crumbled and packed in small containers.
  2. Cooked ham can be minced or chopped and packed tightly in small containers, or mashed with butter as a spread for sandwiches or toast.

Thawing and serving Use frozen crumbled bacon to top potatoes, fish or cheese dishes, and to add to casseroles. It may be thawed in the refrigerator for 2 hours before mixing into sandwich spreads. Thaw ham for 2 hours in the refrigerator to use in stuffings, casseroles or spreads. Thaw ham spread in its container in the refrigerator for 3 hours.

Storage time 1 month.

Cheese

Preparation and packing

Alternative methods:

  1. Grate cheese, and pack it in small quantities in containers or polythene bags. The cheese may be mixed with breadcrumbs before freezing.
  2. Mix cheese with white sauce and freeze in small containers, or add sauce to leftover vegetables or poultry for freezing in containers or in the form of pies or flans.

Thawing and serving Sprinkle frozen grated cheese, or cheese and crumbs, on to meat or fish dishes or vegetables, or thaw for 1 hour in its container in the refrigerator and add to stuffings or sauces.

Storage time 1 month.

Egg yolks and whites

Preparation and packing Eggs must be very fresh and of top quality. They should be washed and broken into a dish before processing to be checked for quality. Pack in small or large containers according to end use. Pack in waxed or rigid plastic containers, or in special waxed cups for individual eggs. Eggs can be frozen in ice cube trays, each cube being wrapped in foil, then bagged in polythene for storage. Eggs can be frozen whole, or the yolks and whites can be frozen separately. Salt or sugar prevents too much thickening. Yolks Mix lightly with a fork. Mix with 1/2 teaspoon salt to 6 yolks, or 1/2 tablespoon sugar to 6 yolks. Label carefully.

Whites No pre-freezing treatment necessary.

Whole eggs Blend lightly with a fork but avoid getting in much air. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt or 1/2 tablespoon sugar to 5 eggs. Label carefully.

Thawing and serving Thaw and use as fresh eggs.

Storage time 8-10 months.

Cake

Preparation and packing

  1. Cut cake in wedges, wrap each wedge in foil or polythene, and pack in boxes or bags in quantity for easy storage.
  2. Rub sponge-cakes, plain cakes or chocolate cakes into crumbs and pack in polythene bags.

Thawing and serving Thaw cake wedges in wrappings in refrigerator for 3 hours, or pack into lunch-boxes for later serving. Thaw frozen crumbs at room temperature and use for puddings, or for sweet stuffings for fruit.

Storage time 1 month.

Cream

Preparation and packing Whip surplus cream and pipe, or drop in spoonfuls on to baking sheets. Fast freeze, then pack into polythene bags.

Thawing and serving Remove from wrappings and place on cakes or puddings. Cream will thaw in 30 minutes at room temperature.

Storage time 1 month.

Tea and coffee

Preparation and packing Pour strong tea or coffee into ice cube trays, then remove frozen cubes, wrap in foil and put in bags for storage.

Thawing and serving Add frozen cubes to iced tea, coffee or fruit punch.

Orange and lemon peel

Preparation and packing Grate peel, and pack in small waxed or rigid plastic containers.

Thawing and serving Thaw in containers at room temperature and use for cakes and puddings.

Storage time 2 months.

Fruit juices and syrups

Preparation and packing Pour small quantities into ice cube trays, then wrap cubes in foil and put in bags for storage.

Thawing and serving Put frozen cubes into fruit drinks or punch. Thaw syrup at room temperature for use as sauce, or to mix into puddings or ice cream.

Storage time 6 months.

Special notes In addition to flavoured syrups, surplus syrup from canned fruits may be frozen in cubes to use for fruit drinks and as a base for sweet sauces.

Bread

Preparation and packing

Alternative methods:

  1. Rub bread into crumbs and pack in polythene bags. Crumbs may be mixed with soft butter, or with grated cheese.
  2. Bread slices may be packed in containers or bags with greaseproof paper between.
  3. Stale bread, cut in cubes, can be toasted, with or without melted butter, and packed in boxes or bags.

Thawing and serving Sprinkle frozen crumbs on meat, fish, cheese or vegetable dishes for browning and serving. Bread slices may be grated into crumbs while stili frozen, or thawed at room temperature to be used for toast or sandwiches, or toasted while still frozen. Use toasted bread cubes as croutons for soup. Storage time 1 month.

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