Tips for Safely Enjoying Leftover Turkey After Thanksgiving

leftover turkey storage

As tempting as nibbling at leftovers can be, experts advise not leaving turkey or side dishes out for more than two hours. Between 40 and 140 degrees F is considered the danger zone for bacterial growth. To enjoy turkey longer, use a slow cooker, oven, or chafing dish to keep it above 140 degrees. If exposed to temperatures above 90 degrees, refrigerate within an hour.

Food-poisoning bacteria like Clostridium perfringens thrive on foods like turkey and beef left out too long. Consuming turkeys harboring this bacteria can cause abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting within 24 hours. Properly storing and reheating leftovers reduces this risk. Additionally, you can also read about- 5 Vitamin B9 Rich Foods You Should Eat Daily

Slice the turkey into smaller portions and store in sealed containers to inhibit bacterial growth. Smaller, shallower containers also allow food to cool quickly before refrigerating. Despite popular belief, don’t let food cool to room temperature first. Refrigerate immediately. 

Properly stored, turkey will last 3–4 days refrigerated. After that, freeze for longer-term storage. Frozen turkey keeps for about 3–4 months before quality and flavor may decline. Properly reheat leftovers to 165 degrees F.

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