Jill Layton
November 28, 2015 1:02 pm

It’s been almost two full days since Thanksgiving, which means, you’re probably just coming out of your food coma. If you hosted Thanksgiving at your home, chances are your kitchen is full of leftovers. Lots and lots of leftovers. And the only thing better than Thanksgiving dinner itself is being able to have Thanksgiving dinner again for breakfast, lunch, dinner and various snacks throughout the day for as long as possible.

The length of time the leftover food can stay good can be tricky. And the last thing anyone wants is to go to town on a turkey, stuffing, cranberry sandwich, only a few hours later to find out something in that sandwich was definitely not OK to eat.

WFLA in Sarasota is here for us, and has just informed us all of the general rules of thumb for leftovers. And because we care about you and your Thanksgiving food, we’re going to pass the rules along to you so everyone stays safe and well-fed.

For starters, don’t leave the food out for more than two hours. Since we’re already two days deep into Thanksgiving leftovers, if you already failed the first rule, you should probably just bypass the rest of the rules and throw everything away. But in general, to avoid food spoilage, put it in the fridge within a couple hours.

Refrigerated food usually lasts anywhere from one to three days — that includes most meats, potatoes and pies. But don’t forget about the freezer. Frozen foods can last much longer that refrigerated foods. Frozen pies can last up to two months, while frozen turkeys can last two to three months. Leftover experts Jim Thorpie and Joan Dudley say for best results, cut the turkey into small pieces before freezing it. Oh, and if you have lots of leftover potatoes you don’t want to waste — they can last up to a year. So technically, you can just reheat this year’s potatoes next November. No one will ever know.

If you get tired of eating the same thing over and over again, mix it up a little. Leftovers are the most fun when you spice them up. “We save everything forever. And if you’re tired of the turkey you make turkey a la king. You make something of it. You make sandwiches. It doesn’t go to waste,” Jim Torpie said.

“Make some turkey soup, some turkey turnovers, leftover stuff, sandwiches,” Joan Dudley added.

These are all great suggestions, but let’s be real — depending on the hunger level of your guests, there may not even be leftovers. If that’s the case, showing up at a friend’s house for a Thanksgiving meal in a few months seems totally reasonable.

(Featured image via Shutterstock)

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