After the big feast, the countdown to repurpose leftovers into soups, sandwiches, and various turkey 2.0 dinners begins. But how long can you safely keep leftovers to enjoy after Thanksgiving day?
First, within two hours after dinner has been served, make sure to pack up leftovers right away and store in the refrigerator. For every 20 minutes over two hours your food sits at room temperature, the level of bacteria doubles in quantity, so don’t procrastinate!
Leftovers can safely keep for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator, or 3 to 4 months in the freezer. Follow the following USDA guidelines for handling leftovers safely:
• Throw away hot or cold food that has been left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours, or 1 hour if the temperature happened to be extremely warm, such as above 90°F (for instance at an outdoor event).