Leftover turkey should be refrigerated within two hours of cooking to prevent bacteria from growing, according to Foodsafety.gov. Leftovers should be left in shallow pans in the fridge so they cool faster, or in coolers with ice or frozen gel packs if traveling more than two hours. Take the meat off the bones before refrigerating, and don’t leave stuffing inside the turkey.
Thanksgiving turkey shouldn’t be consumed more than three or four days after the holidays, according to Foodsafety.gov. To stretch the time, put leftovers in the freezer, where they can last two to six months.
Freezing turkey with gravy will keep it moist,Allrecipes.com said, though foods tend to lose their flavor and texture after long periods of time in the freezer.
• Homemade gravy can be left in the fridge for one to two days, or two to three months in the freezer, according to Stilltasty.com, an online guide toshelf lives.
• Cranberry sauce is good for 10 to 14 days in the fridge and one to two months in the freezer.
• Cooked stuffing can stay in the fridge for three to four days, or one month in the freezer.
• Mashed potatoes, yams and green bean casseroles are good for three to five days in the fridge, or 10 to 12 months in the freezer.
• Soft-crusted bread can stay in the pantry for four to five days, or two to three months in the freezer. Hard-crusted bread is good for only one to two days in the pantry, but also two to three months in the freezer.
• Leftovers can be reheated and re-chilled numerous times within four days of initial cooking, according to Allrecipes. They’ll lose moisture, but that can be fixed by stirring in some broth or water occasionally during the reheating process.
A baked pumpkin pie can be left in the fridge for three to four days, or one to two months in the freezer, according to Stilltasty.com. Baked apple pies can stay in the pantry for up to two days, and then an additional two or three days after the pantry. They’re also good for one to two months in the freezer.
Freeze sides in airtight freezer containers and plastic bags. Turkey can be wrapped in freezer paper or foil and then sealed in plastic freezer bags,Food Network suggests. Soups and gravies expand when frozen so leave space at the top of the freezer. Foods don’t have to hit room temperature before storing — and can even go straight in the freezer, according to the Food Network.