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How Long Are Thanksgiving Leftovers Good For, Really?

Sure, Black Friday buying is one motive to have fun November 25. But when we’re all being sincere, the frenzy of consuming Thanksgiving leftovers transcends even the ultra-rare 70 % off sale. Nevertheless, earlier than you reheat the turkey and serve your self a bit of pumpkin pie—and proceed to take action for the week-plus that follows—it bears retaining a couple of meals security guidelines in thoughts. So I requested to meals security consultants to reply the essential November 25 (…and 26, 27, 28, and twenty ninth) query: How lengthy are Thanksgiving leftovers good for, actually?

In line with the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration, the straightforward reply to this query is that you must attempt to gobble up the remnants of your Thanksgiving feast inside three to 4 days (should you’re storing it within the fridge).

Nevertheless, like many issues in life, the expiration date of Thanksgiving leftovers is stuffed with nuances which are value listening 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 the majority outbreaks of a micro organism that causes meals poisoning happen in November and December,” she says. “Lots of these outbreaks have been linked to widespread vacation meals resembling turkey, rooster, and different poultry.” Meals poisoning might be significantly harmful to the aged, who usually tend to be hospitalized due to foodborne sicknesses.

With a purpose to bypass the meals poisoning and head straight to the second while you’re having fun with your turkey-cranberry sandwich, we put collectively a useful turkey day information. Beneath, you will discover normal suggestions for storing and reheating leftovers, in addition to a breakdown of the best way to sort out every magnificent facet (and, after all, the turkey). Completely satisfied leftover-eating, everybody.

How lengthy are Thanksgiving leftovers good for? Meals security consultants weigh in

Earlier than we dive into the person expiration dates for every (mouthwatering) Thanksgiving dish, let’s run by way of some normal suggestions to bear in mind each time you are having a “ought to I keep or ought to I am going now” second with leftovers.

First, just remember to refrigerate the turkey and different perishable leftovers inside two hours of serving to scale back the prospect of micro organism development. When you slip up and find yourself leaving the feast out longer than that, Tamika Sims, PhD, Senior Director of Meals Expertise Communications of the Worldwide Meals Data Council (IFIC), recommends tossing it to spare your self the prospect of foodborne sickness. (Womp, womp.)

Subsequent, be sure 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 kind of bacterial development,” says Yakas. “To hurry the cooling course of, attempt separating massive portions of leftovers into smaller containers. It’s okay to put scorching leftovers immediately right into a correctly working fridge, offered massive portions have been divided into shallow containers for faster cooling.” Meat resembling 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 fully, then go forward and canopy it. Storing meals in particular person parts like this may even make sure you’re not heating issues up and cooling them down once more—which might additionally result in micro organism development. 

You may also repeat this similar course of within the freezer if you wish to get pleasure from it previous that three to four-day mark. (And don’t be concerned, there isn’t any proof to recommend that meals loses dietary worth within the freezer).

Phew, okay. Now, flash ahead to while you’re able to get pleasure from Turkey Day, half two. “When reheating leftovers, be sure the temperature is 165 °F or above. If utilizing a microwave, stir the meals periodically to assist promote even reheating. Ensure that there aren’t any chilly spots within the meals the place micro organism can survive. You’ll be able to carry leftovers out of the fridge to room temperature earlier than warming up,” explains Yakas. Frozen leftovers might be thawed within the fridge or microwave utilizing the identical directions. Each Yakas and Dr. Sims are massive followers of utilizing a meals thermometer while you’re coping with leftovers, significantly in the event that they comprise meat, to be sure you’re hitting that 165 °F mark each single time.

With all that mentioned, this is how lengthy your Thanksgiving faves final and a few finest practices for storing, reheating, and having fun with them.

How lengthy are Thanksgiving leftovers good for?

1. Turkey

Per the U.S. Division of Agriculture (USDA), refrigerated, sliced turkey might be eaten chilly or scorching inside three to 4 days of storing the leftovers. Nevertheless, should you retailer it within the freezer, you simply must eat inside two to 6 months. Whenever you’re able to get pleasure from your turkey, thaw it (if frozen)and reheat within the oven at 325 °F within the oven. Or, should you ‘re feeling impatient, cowl the meat and microwave it till your meals thermometer reads 165 °F.

2. Stuffing

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 3 to 4 days within the fridge or eight to 12 months within the freezer. Reheat your potatoes, inexperienced 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 couple of finest practices to observe in relation to storing them so you do not wind up with… mildew. Retailer-bought breads might 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 rather more shortly, so be sure you retailer them within the fridge and eat them inside a couple of days.

5. Pie

Everybody breathe a sigh of reduction: You’ve loads 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 to shine the remaining slices inside three to 4 days. In the meantime, berry pies might 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 relation to how lengthy pies can final within the freezer, however the normal consensus appears to be about 4 to 6 months.

Simply be sure you observe 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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