If you live in the U.S., you probably sat down at a Thanksgiving table loaded with enough food to feed a third-world country for a week.
We sure did. And we had leftovers.
For me, leftovers are the best part of Thanksgiving. I love the smell of the stripped carcass simmering with onions and celery in our traditional turkey brown rice soup on Black Friday.
With only two of us now, cooking the whole turkey carcass into soup is too much. This year’s bare Tom Turkey bones went with a granddaughter and her growing family. Instead, we took enough slices of turkey for sliders on Black Friday.
I’m guessing many are still moving leftover turkey or dressing or sweet potatoes around in your refrigerators to eat next week…but is that safe?
It depends upon how long the leftovers sat before being stored. Did you refrigerate perishable foods quickly after your meal?
If not, it may be time to pitch the leftovers or risk foodborne illness – isn’t that a lovely way to say food poisoning?
Bacteria don’t typically change the taste, smell, or look, you can’t tell until the nasty germs attack your digestive tract. Happily, most cases of food poisoning can be prevented with proper food handling.
According to this Forbes article, you should follow these six guidelines for leftover food storage,
- Store leftovers within two hours of serving.
- Use clean airtight containers or wrapping
- Remember the three-to-four-day limit for refrigeration of leftovers.
- Froze the leftovers? Remember the three-to-four-month limit for freezers.
- Check refrigerator temperature is 40° Fahrenheit or lower.
- Heat leftovers to at least 165° Fahrenheit before eating.
My advice, check any leftovers, Thanksgiving or otherwise before you eat them. Better safe than sorry.
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