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A Guide To The Shelf Life Of Your Thanksgiving Feast Leftovers

 

Thanksgiving is over, which means you have some leftovers to eat for a few days after the initial gourmet gauntlet. If you want to get the most of your Thanksgiving leftovers, then use this handy breakdown to figure out how long you can make your favorite foods last in the fridge and freezer— along with some additional storage tips for each foodstuff.

 

Turkey/ Meat

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Photo: The Broke College Kid

Fridge: 4 days

Frozen: 6 months

The bird is the word at Thanksgiving, but it’s important to know how long you can hold on to these leftovers without it getting funky. No matter how you choose to store it, be sure to remove any stuffing from the turkey and then carve away the remaining meat and put it in as many containers as you need. Avoid stacking containers since quicker cooling means fewer germs, and (along those same lines) use more shallow containers to allow the meat to cool fully.

 

Soups and Gravies

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Photo: Serious Eats

Fridge: 3-4 days

Freezer: 3 months

The best practice on your dinner table is to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. It’s doubtful that you have buffet-style steam trays in your home, though, so let’s just say that two hours on the table and you need to start preparing your leftovers. Whether you’re storing in the fridge or the freezer, you’ll want to transfer liquid foodstuffs to a clean container to avoid contamination. You can extend the shelf life substantially by freezing, just make sure to leave a little bit of room since liquids tend to expand as they freeze.

 

Casseroles

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Photo: Taste of Home

Fridge: 3-4 days

Freezer: 3 months

Like the meat dishes mentioned above, the primary concern is bacteria forming as your casserole slowly reaches room temperature. The quicker you get it cold, the better. Procedures are much the same as soup, except that you don’t want to leave extra space in plastic bags/containers if you plan to freeze casserole. And, while it can seem simple to just slap some saran wrap over the top of a dish, it’s safer to transfer it into a clean container as well.

 

Desserts

thanksgiving-pies

Photo: Jovina Cooks Italian

Fridge: 2-3 days

Freezer: 3 months (cake); up to 4 months (pie)

Now for the sweet stuff. Some pies are served cold, meaning you won’t really risk any germs by putting them back in the fridge. It’s actually leaving them out on the table that’s the real risk. Either way, you can refrigerate most desserts freely in their serving apparatus without too much concern — just be sure to eat them quickly. If freezing, seal them airtight to avoid forming water crystals.

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Health

Handy Infographic Helps You Visualize the Shelf Lives of Different Foods; Yes, It’s Longer than You Think

shelflifelead

Hey, does this smell funny to you?
I dunno, what’s the expiration date?
Yesterday?
Omg gross.

We’ve all been there, and to be honest, it only makes sense. When faced with the prospect of either spending $3 extra for a new gallon of milk or spending 3 hours playing battlesh*ts against ourselves, most people would smartly pick the former. But what if I told you that you didn’t have to do either? Better yet, what if I showed you?

<insert epic Matrix soundtrack here>

Data company Visual.ly recently released a useful infographic illustrating the different shelf lives of food when stored on the counter, in the fridge or in the freezer. Granted, most of what’s here you could probably guess yourself. Like most foods will keep for months longer if frozen, or bananas left on the counter will be bad within the week or – wait, hang on, you’re not supposed to freeze potatoes? What the F@#K?

Peep the graph yourself for the list of 30+ fruits, veggies, meats, condiments and other typical fridge food you’ve always wondered but never knew for sure about.

I’m a little iffy about the “Leftovers” section though. I mean, 2 days in the fridge for spaghetti and meatballs? Clearly this guy hasn’t had my mom’s cooking. That stuff will last through the next papacy, easy.

shelflifewhole

H/T Design Taxi + PicThx Visual.ly