Storing Thanksgiving Leftovers


Thanksgiving has come and gone in my house and now I have to find ways to use up leftovers. Thankfully Leslie Beck, Registered Dietitian for Globe and Mail, wrote a great article about storing leftovers safely just the other day. For the full article you can click here but I will also summarize it below.

As long as food has been stored properly you can use your Thanksgiving leftovers to repurpose meals all week long. The key is to not keeping food in the “danger zone” (4C to 60C) any longer than 2 hours. Once you’ve finished your meal pack all leftovers into air tight containers to prevent bacteria growth and store foods in the refrigerator.

Most of your leftovers are safe in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. If you don’t think you will use them within that time you can freeze them for 2 to 3 months. When reheating foods from your fridge or freezer, make sure they reach an internal temperature of 165F (74C). This will kill off any bacteria that may have been produced since cooking. Lastly, don’t pack your fridge too tightly, this will allow cold air to circulate and keep your foods cool and fresh.

A guide to storing Thanksgiving leftovers

Food Fridge Freezer
Turkey, cooked 3-4 days 2-3 months
Meat (ham, beef), cooked 3-4 days 2-3 months
Gravy 1-2 days 2-3 months
Cranberry sauce 10-14 days 1-2 months
Stuffing, cooked 3-4 days 1 month
Mashed potatoes, yams 3-5 days 10-12 months
Soup 2-3 days 4-6 months
Vegetables, cooked 3-4 days 2-3 months
Pumpkin pie, baked 3-4 days 1-2 months

From: Globe and Mail

Now that you’ve stored your leftovers properly you might want some tips on how to use them up so you’re not eating the same thing every day:

  • Chop up turkey, season with taco mix or chili powder and use as a taco filling
  • Use cranberry sauce as a base for turkey sandwiches, add mayo, an aged cheddar and some arugula on a fresh baguette or whole wheat bread
  • Add chopped leftover vegetables like Brussels sprouts, green beans and yams along with feta cheese and some turkey to a bed of fresh greens for a tasty salad
  • Make a roux using flour and milk, and add chopped turkey and vegetables into the roux with some cheddar cheese, top with toasted bread crumbs or baking powder biscuit dough, pop into the oven for a delicious turkey pot pie

Hope you had a great thanksgiving and have some awesome leftovers!


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