In keeping with the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration, the easy reply to this query is that you need to attempt to gobble up the remnants of your Thanksgiving feast inside three to four days (when you’re storing it within the fridge).
Nonetheless, like many issues in life, the expiration date of Thanksgiving leftovers is full of nuances which might be price being attentive to to your well being and well-being, says microbiologist Lisa Yakas, a client security skilled on the Nationwide Sanitation Basis (NSF). “The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) report that almost all outbreaks of a micro organism that causes meals poisoning occur in November and December,” she says. “Lots of these outbreaks have been linked to frequent vacation meals comparable to turkey, rooster, and different poultry.” Meals poisoning may be significantly harmful to the aged, who usually tend to be hospitalized because of foodborne illnesses.
To be able to bypass the meals poisoning and head straight to the second once you’re having fun with your turkey-cranberry sandwich, we put collectively a useful turkey day information. Under, you may discover common ideas for storing and reheating leftovers, in addition to a breakdown of find out how to sort out every magnificent aspect (and, after all, the turkey). Blissful leftover-eating, everybody.
How lengthy are Thanksgiving leftovers good for? Meals security specialists weigh in
Earlier than we dive into the person expiration dates for every (mouthwatering) Thanksgiving dish, let’s run by way of some common ideas to bear in mind each time you are having a “ought to I keep or ought to I’m going now” second with leftovers.
First, just be sure you refrigerate the turkey and different perishable leftovers within two hours of serving to scale back the prospect of micro organism development. In the event you slip up and find yourself leaving the feast out longer than that, Tamika Sims, PhD, Senior Director of Meals Know-how Communications of the Worldwide Meals Data Council (IFIC), recommends tossing it to spare your self the prospect of foodborne sickness. (Womp, womp.)
Subsequent, ensure you’re utilizing your full secure of Tupperware containers to retailer these leftovers. “It’s vital to get the temperature of the leftovers down quickly to room temperature to discourage any sort of bacterial development,” says Yakas. “To hurry the cooling course of, strive separating giant portions of leftovers into smaller containers. It’s okay to put sizzling leftovers instantly right into a correctly working fridge, offered giant portions have been divided into shallow containers for faster cooling.” Meat comparable to ham and turkey needs to be sliced earlier than storing, so it cools extra evenly. Yakas additionally recommends leaving the lids off the storage container till the meals has cooled utterly, then go forward and canopy it. Storing meals in particular person parts like this can even make sure you’re not heating issues up and cooling them down once more—which can also lead to bacteria growth.
You may as well repeat this identical course of within the freezer if you wish to take pleasure in it previous that three to four-day mark. (And don’t be concerned, there is no proof to recommend that food loses nutritional value in the freezer).
Phew, okay. Now, flash ahead to once you’re able to take pleasure in Turkey Day, half two. “When reheating leftovers, be sure that the temperature is 165 °F or above. If utilizing a microwave, stir the meals periodically to assist promote even reheating. Make certain there are not any chilly spots within the meals the place micro organism can survive. You’ll be able to deliver leftovers out of the fridge to room temperature earlier than warming up,” explains Yakas. Frozen leftovers may be thawed within the fridge or microwave utilizing the identical directions. Each Yakas and Dr. Sims are massive followers of utilizing a meals thermometer once you’re coping with leftovers, significantly in the event that they include meat, to ensure you’re hitting that 165 °F mark each single time.
With all that mentioned, here is how lengthy your Thanksgiving faves final and a few greatest practices for storing, reheating, and having fun with them.
How lengthy are Thanksgiving leftovers good for?
Per the U.S. Division of Agriculture (USDA), refrigerated, sliced turkey may be eaten chilly or sizzling inside three to 4 days of storing the leftovers. Nonetheless, when you retailer it within the freezer, you simply must eat within two to six months. While you’re able to take pleasure in your turkey, thaw it (if frozen)and reheat within the oven at 325 °F within the oven. Or, when you ‘re feeling impatient, cowl the meat and microwave it till your meals thermometer reads 165 °F.
Like turkey, stuffing lasts within the fridge for 3 to 4 days, or as much as six months within the freezer. Reheat it to 165 °F within the oven or microwave and also you’re able to eat.
3. Potatoes and different cooked veggies
Your whole veggies keep good for three to four days in the fridge or eight to 12 months in the freezer. Reheat your potatoes, green beans, or creamed spinach to 165 °F within the oven or microwave.
4. Rolls and biscuits
Whereas biscuits, rolls, and different Thanksgiving carbs do not should be reheated, there are a number of greatest practices to comply with in terms of storing them so that you don’t wind up with… mold. Retailer-bought breads may be saved for 2 to 4 days at room temp, seven to 9 days within the fridge, or as much as three months within the freezer. Preservative-free breads and biscuits that you simply bake at dwelling will go unhealthy way more shortly, so ensure you retailer them within the fridge and eat them inside a number of days.
Everybody breathe a sigh of reduction: You may have plenty of time to eat leftover pie. The USDA says that cream-based pies like pecan and pumpkin needs to be saved within the fridge instantly as soon as they’ve had an opportunity to chill. Simply be sure that to shine the remaining slices inside three to 4 days. In the meantime, berry pies may be saved at room temp for one to 2 days, or as much as seven days within the fridge. There is a little bit of a debate in terms of how lengthy pies can final within the freezer, however the common consensus appears to be about 4 to 6 months.
Simply ensure you comply with those self same reheating guidelines we talked about for the savory Thanksgiving dishes.
See how a dietitian fills her Thanksgiving plate:
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