Feed Your Soul

Storing Thanksgiving Leftovers

Pujols Kitchen - Friday, November 27, 2015

Once the second and third helpings have been eaten and the table is cleared it’s time to store your Thanksgiving leftovers (if there are any!). Here are some tips.

Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days. You’ll want to reheat only what you'll be serving at one time rather than reheating the entire portion. While it is safe to heat it all and then re-store what you don't use, food continues to lose flavor and moisture the more it's reheated.


It’s tempting to keep the leftover sweet potatoes or green beans in the half-empty serving dish and simply covering it with plastic wrap, bit it’s better to store leftovers in a clean, smaller container or Ziploc bag. You’ll also have more room in your refrigerator. You’ll want your leftovers to be cooled as quickly as possible. Carve any remaining meat on the turkey and store in shallow containers or plastic bags. Place leftover food in several shallow containers instead of a large one and avoid stacking containers as this will trap heat in your refrigerator. The more surface area exposed to cold air, the faster your food will cool.

If you intend to freeze your leftovers, you’ll want to pack stuffing and mashed potatoes and any other sides into airtight freezer containers or plastic freezer bags. Wrap turkey in freezer paper or foil, press out all the air, then seal in plastic freezer bags. Soups and gravy expand slightly as they freeze, so you’ll want to leave some space at the top of the container. It's fine to keep leftovers in the refrigerator for a few days before deciding to freeze them, but the sooner they go in the freezer the better. Once your leftovers have cooled off, place them into the freezer, and avoid stacking the containers until they're frozen solid.

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