Preserving Leftover Food from the Tet Holiday

With the beginning of the Lunar New Year, many households are stocking up on food to celebrate the festive occasion. While keeping food in the refrigerator is convenient, it can also be harmful to users if not done correctly. We have compiled a few tips to help ensure food remains fresh and safe to consume during Tet.

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1. Preservation of Chung cake and Tet cake

During Tet, it is common for people to store banh chung or banh tet in the refrigerator. However, these cakes can become dry and lose their texture when stored at cold temperatures. To properly preserve the cakes, follow these steps after boiling:

  • Remove the cake and wash the outer layer of leaves with cold water to remove the plastic wrap, then drain.
  • Arrange the cakes into several layers and use a tray or heavy object to press and squeeze out excess water, making the cakes firm and the surface flat.
  • Hang the cakes in a dry place that is not dusty or wet for optimal preservation.
  • If you have leftover cake, store it in an airtight container and refrigerate. When ready to eat, fry or steam the cake.

Chung cake, Tet cake

2. Preservation of sausages

Dried sausages should not be stored in the refrigerator as the fat in the sausages may solidify and affect the taste. It is recommended to store sausages in rice bins or containers, adding a cup of wine in the middle to repel ants and keep the sausages fresh.

Fresh sausages can be kept in the refrigerator, but for longer-term storage, they can be kept in the freezer for up to 1 month. When using the sausages, only take out the needed amount and process them immediately. Do not leave them in the refrigerator after processing to maintain the taste and texture.

Sausages

3. Preservation of jams or dried fruits

Jams or dried fruits are popular sweets during Tet, but they are prone to attracting ants. Storing them in the refrigerator may increase the risk of mold due to the humidity. To properly preserve jams and dried fruits:

Put them in a glass jar and cover it tightly. Only take out the amount needed and avoid leaving the jar open when not in use.

Jams or dried fruits

4. Preservation of pickled onions and palanquins

Pickled onions and palanquins are delicious side dishes during Tet, and the following steps can help preserve them:

  • Avoid cutting the root when preparing the onions and palanquins.
  • After washing, allow them to dry completely to prevent damage when soaked.
  • Boil water and salt, then soak the onions and palanquins. Dry the jar under the sun to enhance crispiness and prolong shelf life.
  • After 2 days of pickling, put the whole jar of melons or transfer the palanquins to a sealed container in the refrigerator to maintain freshness and taste.

Pickled onions, papaya

5. Preservation of spring rolls

  • Spring rolls can be stored in the cool compartment or soft freezer compartment of the refrigerator for 5-7 days. Simply cut them out and eat them directly.
  • For longer storage (up to 2 weeks), freeze the spring rolls. When ready to consume, boil, steam, fry, or refry them to restore their texture and taste.

Spring rolls

6. Preservation of cooked foods

For cooked food such as braised meat, braised fish, or bitter melon soup, allow them to cool down and store them in airtight containers in the refrigerator. Sealing the cooked food prevents it from drying out, mixing with odors, or transferring spoilage microorganisms to other foods.

Cooked food

7. Preservation of fried spring rolls and spring rolls

Before Tet, you can pack fried spring rolls or spring rolls and freeze them in the freezer. When needed, follow these steps:

  • When wrapping, place the spring rolls in a wide tray, ensuring they don’t stick together.
  • Freeze the tray in the freezer compartment for about 40 minutes until the spring rolls become firm.
  • Transfer the spring rolls to a sealed box and store them in the freezer compartment.

This method allows for easy frying of the spring rolls without sticking together. The spring rolls can be stored for up to 2 weeks.

Preserving spring rolls

8. Preservation of dried bamboo shoots

When cooking with dried bamboo shoots, it is necessary to boil them for 1-2 days. To ensure their long-term and safe usage:

  • Wash the dried bamboo shoots and boil them for 30 minutes, adding a little salt and chili to eliminate toxins.
  • Rinse the bamboo shoots immediately with cold water.
  • Submerge the bamboo shoots in boiled water or soaked rice water, changing the water every 2-3 days.
  • If there are leftovers, store them in a box or zipper bag in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.

Dried bamboo

9. Preservation of fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables, which help balance protein and fat intake during Tet, should be stored in the refrigerator. Consider the following preservation tips:

  • Choose fresh vegetables with intact stems, natural colors, and without any damage.
  • Store fruits and vegetables separately in the refrigerator to prevent cross-contamination if any of them get damaged.
  • Only cut and peel the fruits when needed for a meal to maintain their freshness and quality.

Fruits and vegetables

10. Preservation of fresh food

Fresh fish and meat should be stored in a box or plastic bag and kept in the freezer compartment. If available, store them in a dedicated refrigerator compartment to minimize defrosting time. Some considerations for storing and using fresh food:

  • Store fresh and cooked foods separately in different compartments.
  • Avoid refreezing food multiple times.
  • Use frozen food within 4 days for best quality.

Fresh food