When your holiday feast ends, take steps to properly store extras so no one gets sick from eating leftovers.
Chill It Promptly
- Store leftovers in airtight, shallow containers (two inches deep or less).
- Refrigerate or freeze leftovers within two hours of cooking the food. Set your refrigerator below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and your freezer below zero degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove turkey from the bone and store it separately from the stuffing and gravy. You can leave sliced breast meat, legs and wings whole.
Use It or Lose It
- Use refrigerated cooked turkey within three to four days. Use stuffing and gravy within one to two days.
- Eat leftover casseroles and cooked vegetables within three to four days.
- Finish fruit and cream pies within two to three days and cheesecake within seven days.
- Regardless of how many days have passed: If in doubt, throw it out!
- Reheat leftovers to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring leftover gravy to a rolling boil on the stove before serving it a second time.
Reviewed November 2012