The burning question: how long can you savor the flavors of turkey and trimmings stored in the refrigerator or freezer?
Leftovers can happily reside in the refrigerator for three to four days. This means TODAY is the day! Eat those mouthwatering leftovers or stash them in the freezer for a future treat. If frozen, leftovers will maintain their peak quality for a span of 2 to 6 months.
Surprisingly, not everyone is aware that food can turn unsafe in the refrigerator after four days. Shockingly, 31 percent of participants in our recent study admitted they'd munch on leftovers lingering in the fridge beyond the four-day mark. After this time frame, spoilage bacteria may unleash their magic, resulting in an unpleasant odor or taste.
Now, let's talk about the art of reheating leftovers safely.
Feel free to reheat frozen leftovers without thawing, whether it's a savory soup in a saucepan or a mouthwatering casserole in the oven or microwave. While reheating from frozen may take a bit longer, it's a safe bet when time is of the essence. Ensure that leftovers reach a temperature of 165°F (74°C) using a food thermometer. Covering leftovers during reheating preserves moisture and guarantees thorough heating.
Here are some handy reheating tips:
- Bring sauces, soups, and gravies to a rolling boil when reheating.
- Microwave users, take note: cover and rotate your food for even heating. Arrange items evenly in a covered, microwave-safe glass or ceramic dish, adding liquid if necessary. Make sure the covering is microwave-safe, and allow steam to escape by venting the lid or wrap. The resulting moist heat will obliterate harmful bacteria and ensure uniform cooking.
- Due to potential cold spots in microwaves, use a food thermometer to check the temperature in several places, and let the food rest before confirming the internal temperature.
Now, armed with these tips, you can savor your Thanksgiving feast well beyond the big day, ensuring every bite is as delicious as the first.