Thanksgiving Leftovers Food Safety

After Thanksgiving many of us have leftovers like turkey, stuffing and pie. However, if you want to enjoy the food after the holiday  there are some common food mistakes you want to avoid.

It can be nice to take advantage of all the holiday leftovers and not have to cook for awhile, but Personal Chef Ellen Doerr says you have to be cautious or you could end up getting sick.

“If we’re not careful with how we are storing their food, we have the potential for food-borne illnesses to grow, especially if we are talking about things like stuffing or mashed potatoes that might have binders like eggs in them,” said Doerr.

She says leftovers should be put away within three hours of being left out at room temperature. To save the food for three to four days put it in the fridge. However, if you want it to last longer it can stay fresh in the freezer for three to six months.

“As long as your containers are freezer safe. Make sure you have a correct fitting container, a tight fitting lid,” said Doerr.

“If you’re freezing things like mashed potatoes put a little extra dairy in them, put a little extra butter in them, especially when you’re heating them up and that will keep them from drying out.”

All around proper storage is key.

“Glass Pyrex I found are a great one for going in the freezer because they are also oven and microwave safe, so you don’t have to transfer it to a different container to heat it back up again.”

Once your ready to eat she says the easiest way to defrost food is to put it in the fridge overnight. You can also put your microwave on defrost or run it under cool water.

“Just make sure you’re not thawing it over the counter or under hot running water because that will increase the potential for food-borne illnesses to grow,” said Doerr.

As for going by the “smell test” to determine if your food is still good, Doerr advises against it.

“That only goes so far and you don’t want to eat something that’s about to turn bad or just turned but still smells fine.”

Just a few tips to keep your holiday hangover from turning into a seasonal sickness.

Chef Doerr says to avoid getting tired of eating the same meal day after day you can get creative with it. Take the leftovers and use them to create new meals such as turkey enchiladas.

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