How to Properly Store Thanksgiving Meal Leftovers

Even though you and your family felt as if they ate everything on the Thanksgiving dinner table, you still have plenty of food left over, and now you have to think of how you are going to store that food in the refrigerator. Below are eight safety ideas for storing your holiday meal leftovers:

1. Remove any stuffing inside the turkey and seal that in an airtight plastic container. Meat that is left to cool off at room temperature for over an hour can encourage bacteria growth.

2. Any foods that came out of tin cans, like cranberry sauce and candied yams, should be removed from the cans and stored in small airtight plastic containers. Foods stored in tin or aluminum cans will pick up the metal taste while in storage.

3. If you have a lot of leftover turkey, you can keep it in the turkey pan if you have enough room for the pan in your refrigerator. Use saran wrap to cover the top of the turkey to keep it fresh and seal in the natural juices. If there is just a small amount of turkey left, carve the rest up, separating the white meat from the dark, and store those in separate containers, making sure each container is marked. When it comes time to reheating the turkey, reheat only the amount you will be actually using. The leftover meat should be good for the next three days but after that, throw the rest away by the end of the week as it will have spoiled by then.

4. By using airtight plastic storage food containers, you will prevent the mixing of food smells in your refrigerator.

5. If you run out of plastic containers, aluminum foil can be used for small leftovers, like baked or roasted potatoes. Make sure the foil is securely wrapped around the food.

6. Any other foods with juice in them should also be in airtight containers to prevent them from leaking all over your refrigerator.

7. If you used cottage cheese or yogurt for the meal, keep them in their original containers so they will stay fresh and not spoil if transferred to another container.

8. Do not store fruits with vegetables as the gases given off by each can cause deterioration and bacteria growth.

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