leftover turkey in a container

Holiday Leftovers: When to eat them and when to throw them out.

For many of us Thanksgiving will look different this year than it has in years past. For many of us the large gathers will be whittled down to the close few that we live with or are comfortable socially distancing with. As we adjust our expectations to what Thanksgiving will look like we may or may not adjust the amount of food we cook. If you find yourself with extra leftovers this year here are a few suggestions from the USDA to keep in mind about how and when to eat your leftovers safely.

1: Refrigerate food within 2 hours of serving it. Throw out all perishable food that has been at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

2. Wrap leftovers in airtight packaging or seal them in storage containers to keep bacteria out and retain moisture.

3.Label the containers with the date that the item was cooked. This is especially important if you cooked items on different days. Leftovers can be refrigerated for 3-4 day. Although frozen leftovers are safe indefinitely try to use them within 4 months to retain the best taste and texture.

4. When you re-heat your leftovers be sure to reheat them to 165 degrees to kill bacteria. Reheating with a lid or cover will help insuring that the food heats quickly and evenly. Remember to check the temperature of microwaved food in multiple spots.

5. When in doubt throw it out.

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