For many Americans, Thanksgiving is not a single day of feasting. Rather it is an event spread out over the course of a week. Begin with all the courses, and then enjoy pie for breakfast the next morning, turkey sandwiches for lunch, and whatever is left for dinner. When it comes to storing your Thanksgiving leftovers, you may be wondering how long leftovers are good for and the best way to store each dish. I’ll give you those answers here. For each piece of the Thanksgiving feast, individual storage may be necessary to keep it fresh and crisp.
How long are thanksgiving leftovers good for?
The FDA recommends that most cooked poultry and meats that are stored in the refrigerator (40 °F or below) should be consumed within 3 – 4 days. According to Healthline, cooked vegetables “stored in an airtight container will usually keep up to 3–7 days in the refrigerator.” Those those are your basic guidelines but more detailed food storage tips and lengths of how long foods stay safe below.
Thanksgiving Leftovers Storage Tips:
In this post, we’ll take a deep dive into food storage for leftovers and share our top tips and tricks for keeping your food fresh. We will also share food safety guidelines for when each type of food should be consumed by.
Turkey Storage Tips
Try not to wait more than an hour or so until you begin packing up the meat and gravy, as food left at room temperature quickly picks up harmful bacteria. Carve all the meat off the bird and either throw away the bones or store them for stews. A turkey that has been cooked through can be safely stored in a refrigerator for four days before the meat is no longer good. It can be kept in a freezer for three months. The smaller the portions, the easier it is to re-heat the meat.
Gravy Storage Tips
Gravy has a short shelf life and must be refrigerated and eaten within the next day. When you take it out to be eaten, bring it to a boil on the stovetop in order to kill any microbes within the mix.
Cranberry Sauce Storage
Store bough cranberry sauce is chock full of preservatives and can be safely kept in a refrigerator for two weeks. The sugar in fresh made cranberry sauce helps preserve it and if stored by itself, it may be good for up to 10 days. Cover in plastic or glass containers and squeeze as much air out of the container as possible.
The stuffing you use can last a while but runs the risk of going stale. You can eat it four days later but it may have dried out by that point. Ensure you remove all the stuffing from the turkey before you place it in the refrigerator.
Potatoes are a great survivor of all food groups. You can safely keep mashed potatoes refrigerated for a week and can freeze them for a full year. Baked potatoes, however, do not have the same texture once they are frozen. Cooked sweet potatoes are also fine in the refrigerator for at least a week as long as they are wrapped and stored by themselves.
In the rare circumstance that there is leftover pie, it can be left out in the open for a few days as long as the pies are covered (uncovered pies will dry out). You can store pies in a refrigerator for as long as a week, or freeze them for two months. When you freeze a pie, wrap it in foil or in plastic to retain moisture.
Were you wondering, “How long are Thanksgiving leftovers safe to eat?” Well, I hope those specific guidelines for each of the common Thanksgiving food types helps you out. Quickly store the Thanksgiving leftovers such as turkey and stuffing once the eating is finished. Allowing them to sit out after you are done eating provided opportunity for them to begin to spoil. I hope you found this these for how to store your Thanksgiving leftovers helpful. Pay close attention to these food safety guidelines and your body will thank you!