How to store your Thanksgiving leftovers - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

How to store your Thanksgiving leftovers

(WWBT) -

After the Thanksgiving feast, you are left with a bunch of leftovers, and there is a proper way to store them.

Here are some tips:

  • Refrigerate leftovers within two hours of serving.
  • Divide large amounts of hot food into smaller portions so they cool quickly.
  • Refrigerate leftovers in airtight packaging or containers.
  • Freeze leftovers that will not be eaten within four days.
  • Dispose of foods that sit at room temperature longer than two hours.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics also gave suggestions for refrigerated leftovers:

  • Cooked turkey should be eaten within three to four days.
  • Stuffing and gravy will last up to two days.
  • Casseroles and cooked vegetables will be good up to three or four days.
  • Fruit and cream pies should be eaten within two to three days.
  • Frozen leftovers last longer.  For example, meat lasts up to three months in a freezer.

Here are some steps to prevent foodborne illnesses:

  1. Cook to the right temperature.  Use a food thermometer to be sure food is heated to a temperature that kills harmful bacteria.
  2. Wash your hands and cooking surfaces often.
  3. Do not cross-contaminate.  Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs separate from other foods in the fridge.  Dripping juices can spread bacteria.
  4. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers promptly.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates one in six people gets sick by eating and drinking contaminated food and beverages. "Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea," according to Patient First.

Also, if you are unsure about the quality of the food, throw it out.

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