Thanksgiving means great food and lots of leftovers! Mandy Armentor, a nutrition agent with the LSU AgCenter, offers some tips to make sure you can enjoy those delicious foods without worry.
Food can be left on the counter for no longer than two hours. You may not feel like picking it all up with a full belly, but don’t let it linger for longer than that. Make sure to move it to the fridge or freezer.
As for your turkey, if you cooked a whole bird, de-bone it. Cut any meat you’ve cooked into small pieces so it cools evenly. Place it in small containers or zipper bags for storage.
Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Any food still in the fridge on Monday needs to be put in the freezer or thrown away. Gravy, however, is only good for 1-2 days. Food that is in the freezer can be kept for 3-4 months.
When reheating gravy, you must bring it to a full boil. It’s best to put it on the stove when reheating.
If you have questions or run into a cooking emergency, even on Thanksgiving Day, there are several places you can turn to. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Hotline number is 1-888-SAFEFOOD or you can visit www.fda.gov/Food. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Meat and Poultry Hotline will also be open. You can call 1-888-MPHOTLINE or visit www.AskKaren.gov.