It is a familiar sight to see almost-empty bottles and jars of leftover condiments cramming the refrigerator shelves in many people’s homes. Evaporated milk still in the can, leftover from last week’s macaroni soup or half a can of tomato paste from last month’s mutton crackpot dish can sit coagulating in one corner of your fridge. What makes you keep them instead of throwing them away?
Improperly stored leftover ingredients are breeding grounds for many food-borne bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria (a certain type of meningitis). If you feel bad about disposing of them in a trash bin, learn the proper way of storing them to make their shelf life last longer and prevent contamination.
How to Recycle Leftover Condiments
- Ingredients like tomato paste or tomato sauce do not come in very small sizes. If you are cooking for a few people and your recipe needs just a little amount of these ingredients, you can keep the rest in a small container or in an ice cube mold, cover with cling wrap and freeze.
- You can make a special nachos dip with the different leftover condiments and get rid of almost-empty bottles and jars in your refrigerator.
- Leftover sauces and dips can make an awesome marinade for fish or pork barbecue or shish kebab.
- Discover your own taste. Ordinary stir-fried vegetables can taste great if sautéed with a tablespoon of mixed condiments.
- Do not throw away condiments in sachets such as tomato ketchup and mustard from take-out diners. Keep in dry sealed containers for future use. These small packets are convenient to bring in picnics and school lunches.
How to Store Leftover Evaporated Milk
If you bought a 410g can of evaporated milk and only use one-quarter to make your special dish creamy. Chances are you keep the rest in the fridge for future use. To keep the milk from spoiling faster, do the following:
- Store the leftover evaporated milk in a covered opaque container as tin cans may contain lead and mercury that are harmful to human health. Consume the milk within 3 days.
- You can freeze the milk as you do with ice cubes. Pour in ice cube molds and keep in the freezer. Freezing can keep storage life longer but quality may decrease when thawed.
- You can store evaporated milk in smaller covered glass containers for use with dark tea. A serving size of 50ml is enough to make a cup of tea creamy.
- Milk powder is best stored in double Ziploc bags. To make the packet airtight, insert a drinking straw and remove slowly while zipping it completely. Refrigerate for longer storage life.
- Do not forget to label the containers with the expiration date.
The next time you buy your ingredients, look for the smallest packaging like the 9g sachets if you are only cooking for yourself or for a small party to avoid leftovers.