A Thanksgiving meal is not the real deal unless there are leftovers. After all, who doesn't want to wake up the next day to a turkey sandwich? Part of the fun of Thanksgiving is that there is enough food left over to have a week's worth of Thanksgiving joy. However, you want to make sure that you are storing leftovers in a safe manner. Nothing is worse than food poisoning from the very food you labored over for hours on end. Storing food isn't as complicated or as time intensive as Thanksgiving travel or staying awake after the meal, but it is still something you want to give some thought to.
When storing leftovers, you should refrigerate or refreeze perishables as soon as possible. You may want to go and watch the game or take a nap first, but this may dilute the quality of the food or cause it to spoil. Additionally, know that it is considered unsafe to store large amounts of food, as it will not be able to cool quickly enough and could spoil. Thus, separate the food into different containers. Remove the stuffing from the turkey and separate the sides into separate containers.
Do not cross-contaminate containers, as this can spoil the food. Additionally, you want to make sure the refrigerator is not too full because you want the air to be able to circulate. use airtight containers or sealable bags to keep food fresh.
The refrigerator should always be kept between 34 and 40 degrees F. Additionally, when it comes time to reheat the leftovers, you want the temperature to be 160 degrees F or until the food is hot and steaming. Do not eat food that is still cold on the inside. This is highly unsafe and could make you seriously ill.
Be mindful of how long you keep your leftovers. You don't want to be eating Thanksgiving leftovers a month later. There is a major difference between being frugal and being unsafe. Thus, know that turkey and stuffing should be eaten after three days, gravy should be eaten within a day or two, and vegetables and desserts generally have a storage life of five days.
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