In kitchens across the nation, the aroma of Thanksgiving lingers, and as the last bites of pumpkin pie are savored, a new quest begins – the adventure of Thanksgiving leftovers. How long will that turkey and stuffing delight our taste buds before turning into a culinary time bomb?
As families settle into the post-feast glow, the question of leftover longevity takes center stage. The turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and the myriad of side dishes have become the unsung heroes of the holiday season, offering a feast beyond the feast. But just how long can we relish these delicious remnants before bidding them a fond farewell?
How long is leftover Thanksgiving turkey good for?
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, turkey is good to eat for the next three-to-four days if refrigerated in 40 degrees or less. However if frozen it can be used for up to four months. Although safe indefinitely, frozen leftovers can lose moisture and flavor when stored for longer times in the freezer, says the USDA. If you’re not sure whether the turkey is safe to eat or not, look for a rotten egg like smell or slimy texture.
However, what’s some turkey without the gravy? If the gravy is homemade, it’s good to last you two-to-three days after feast dinner.
Can you freeze cranberry sauce?
While the star of the show, turkey, tends to steal the spotlight, it’s the supporting cast that can surprise with its staying power. Cranberry sauce, when stored properly, can endure up to two weeks in the fridge, making it a delightful companion for post-Thanksgiving sandwiches. It can last up to two months if stored in the freezer.
How long can you keep leftover mashed potatoes, yams, and green bean casserole?
According to the Food Network, mashed potatoes should easily last three-to-five days in the fridge if stored within two hours of cooking it. You must ensure there isn’t any moisture built up under the lid that could encourage bacteria growth. If the mashed potatoes have an on and off smell or appearance, throw them out without even tasting it.
Vegetable-based sides are typically good to eat for about three-to-five days after being cooked if they’re stored in the fridge. Their shelf life extends to 10-to-12 months in the freezer.
How long does stuffing last?
If stored properly, the stuffing or dressing is good to eat up to three to four days after it’s cooked. If you want to enjoy it long enough, you can freeze it for up to four months and reheat it when you’d like a festive side of comfort food.
How long do the pies last for?
Apple pie: If you have leftover apple pie, it’s best to enjoy it within a day or two when kept in the fridge. Pies with fresh fruit, such as apples, don’t last too long as it can lead to a soggy crust or any unusual discoloration, which might indicate it’s time to say goodbye to your pie. Uncut pies can stay on the counter for about two days. Sharing with friends and family is a great way to make sure none goes to waste!
Pumpkin pie: According to food experts, pumpkin pie is good in the fridge for two-to-four days; cover it with foil or plastic wrap. If you freeze it right, leftovers can last six-to-eight months. Store-bought pies last longer at room temperature than homemade ones. Eat pumpkin pie within an hour of taking it out of the fridge due to eggs, and don’t leave it out too long to avoid health risks.
As the refrigerator becomes a treasure trove of post-holiday delights, families are encouraged to try new recipes with the leftovers. After all, the gift of Thanksgiving leftovers is a culinary journey that keeps on giving, turning the holiday into a celebration that extends far beyond a single day.