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The original item was published from 11/21/2023 2:48:39 PM to 11/29/2023 12:00:01 AM.

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Public Health

Posted on: November 21, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Food Safety for the Holidays


Leftovers should be stored within two hours of cooking. Divide leftovers into smaller portions and refrigerate or freeze them in covered shallow containers so they cool quickly. A large container or whole turkey will take too long to cool down to a safe temperature, which gives bacteria a chance to multiply. The turkey should also be portioned to ensure quick cooling in the refrigerator. Seventy-six percent of respondents in a recent USDA study said they would refrigerate leftovers after letting them cool to room temperature first. This is not necessary and could actually make your food unsafe. Leftovers should be placed in the refrigerator or freezer as soon as possible, even if they still have steam or heat coming off of them. How long do the turkey and trimmings stay safe in the refrigerator or freezer? The answer is simple: leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for three to four days. This means you have until the Monday after Thanksgiving to eat all those delicious leftovers or place them in the freezer to enjoy later

Cooking the bird: Roasting? Grilling? Oven bag? USDA has the answer on how long to cook your turkey here. 

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