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How to Store Leftovers Safely

Created January 10, 2017
In order to get creative with your Thanksgiving leftovers, you’ve got to store leftovers carefully. Here are some of tricks and guidelines.
How to Store Leftovers Safely

Correct us if we’re wrong, but isn’t half the fun of making holiday meals enjoying days of leftovers? From Next Day Turkey Soup and Turkey Salad Sandwiches to Fried Mashed Potato Sticks and Cranberry Sauce Muffins, the sky is the limit when it comes to giving leftovers a second chance. But in order to get creative, you’ve got to store leftovers carefully. Here are some of tricks and guidelines. 

Top Ten Tips for Storing Thanksgiving Leftovers 

  1. Pack up your holiday leftovers within two hours of serving. 
  2. Use shallow containers so food can cool quickly in the refrigerator or freezer. 
  3. Keep refrigerated leftovers safely for only 2 days, so fill up on those handy Ziploc® containers. pulled out of the freezer a week later, they'll become a welcome save-the-day dinner. 
  4. Remember - you need to store turkey and stuffing separately to be really safe. 
  5. Reheat leftovers until hot and steaming. It's not safe to reheat foods in a slow cooker. 
  6. Freeze at 0 degrees. At that temp, your leftovers should be good for up to four months. 
  7. Keep your leftovers free of freezer burn by squeezing the air out of filled freezer bags before you seal them. 
  8. Refrigerate and freeze juicy foods in Ziploc® storage containers so the juices won't leak onto other foods. 
  9. Mark your Ziploc® freezer containers with the contents and the date you packed them. 
  10. Defrost frozen foods in the refrigerator to be safe. Thawing foods at room temperature is NOT safe.

How Long Can I Keep Leftovers?
Leftover Refrigerator Freezer
Cooked Turkey 1-2 days 4 months
Gravy 2 days 4 months
Stuffing 2 days 4 months
Potatoes 2 days 3-4 months
Breads 3-4 days 2-3 months
Fruit Pies 2-3 days 4 months