Leftovers, though, don’t last forever, and it’s important to practice good food safety habits to prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses. As a general guideline, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recommends. For Thanksgiving, that means you should eat or freeze by Monday.
If you’re not sure what to do with leftover turkey,.
After your big holiday meal, refrigerate your leftovers within two hours to prevent spoilage. Any perishable food left at room temperature forshould be considered unsafe and discarded.
Contrary to popular opinion, you shouldn’t let leftovers cool to room temperature before refrigerating them,: “Leftovers should be placed in the refrigerator or freezer as soon as possible, even if they still have steam or heat coming off of them.”
It’s best to portion out leftovers into smaller servings and store them in shallow containers with a lid, DHHS recommends, so carve your turkey instead of storing a whole bird.
When it comes time to feast on your leftovers, make sure that you reheat them thoroughly.
“Always test reheated leftovers in several places with a meat thermometer to be sure they reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit throughout. When reheating foods in the microwave, cover and rotate or stir foods once or twice during cooking,”.
If you’re reheating in the oven, the oven should be set to 325 degrees or higher, the agency added. Slow cookers and chafing dishes should not be used to reheat previously cooked dishes because they could keep food at an, though they can be used to during serving.
Should you choose to freeze leftovers, your mileage will vary depending on the dish. Thebroadly advises consumers that leftover dishes containing meat, fish, poultry, or egg last two to three months in the freezer. Leftovers without meat, though, only last one to two months in the freezer.
This story was originally published in November 2018.
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