(First published Oct. 2011.)
My mom has had a habit of keeping leftovers too long sometimes, as did her mother before her and her mother before her. After one “incident” when this didn’t work out well for my dad, he suggested that we start dating every container of leftovers before we put them in the fridge so that we would know how long they had been in there. This happened before I got married, but I still try to keep up the habit most of the time since it is very useful to know exactly how old something is! You just can’t remember all that stuff if you have any decent sized collection of leftovers.
As you can see from the photo, I use a part of a sticky note and put the date on it. Sometimes they do fall off of some lids because of the texture of the plastic. In the case of glass storage dishes with plastic lids I often put the label on the side of the dish because it sticks better to the glass.
This not only helps you not to feed your family food that is too old, but it also helps you to use up the older things first, thus giving some added direction to the usage of leftovers. And, I admit, upon occasion I have found some things in my fridge that were way too old to be used! :-)
By the way, the sticky notes also work for putting food in the freezer. However, I suggest you use a piece of tape to make sure it stays on, and also add the contents as well as the date with the year so that you know what it is and how long it’s been in there.