Storing Thanksgiving leftovers
Neglecting to properly store leftovers can be harmful, warns The Food Safety Information Society (FSIS). Just because your fridge looks too full after Thanksgiving dinner doesn't mean you shouldn't put everything away immediately. "If left at room temperature longer than two hours, the food may be contaminated with enough harmful bacteria to cause illness," says Pat Inglis of the FSIS.
Leftover turkey can be refrigerated for three to four days or frozen up to three months if stored properly. The meat should be sliced off the bone and put in the fridge in shallow containers within two hours of coming out of the oven. The stuffing should be spooned out just as the bird is removed from the oven, and can be refrigerated alone for three to four days. Gravy can only be kept in the fridge one or two days.
Once peeled or cut, vegetables, like meat, can also harbor harmful bacteria on their moist surfaces. If served raw, they should be kept chilled, and, if cooked, should be refrigerated within two hours of serving. As for dip, it may be teeming with bacteria even if chilled while served and should simply be thrown out.
FSIS staff reply to more than 3,500 food safety questions from Canadians yearly. Thanksgiving week is one of their busiest times of the year. Contact them at: 1-800-892-8333 or www.foodsafetyline.org.