Thanksgiving is over and your fridge is full with a weekend’s worth of food, but how long can you safely store it.
White County UT Extension Agent Tracey Hackett said to stay away from any food in the fridge past Sunday.
“The biggest mistake that is likely to be made with leftovers is simply leaving them to long in the fridge before eating them,” Hackett said. “Anything that has been leftover longer for three or four days really needs to be thrown out.”
Hackett said any meat or food with lots of fat are the main concerns of growing bacteria while stored in the fridge. If you want your leftovers to last for a few months, try freezing.
“Foods that are high in protein and fat content,” Hackett said. “Any food with mayonnaise, eggs, olive oils and other fats like butter. Any food that has any of those food groups are going to be prime food sources for bacteria as well. (…) You can freeze your Thanksgiving leftovers, and if you freeze your Thanksgiving leftovers, their quality is good for two to six months.”
Hackett said when you reheat your leftovers, make sure it reaches 165 degrees. When under heating or keeping leftovers too long, food born illnesses can occur.
“It is a potential to get a food born illness during Thanksgiving or after when you have not stored your leftovers properly,” Hackett said. “Or, when you have not reheated them to a proper temperature.”
A meat thermometer is recommended while reheating, Hackett said.