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How Long Can You Keep Turkey Leftovers?

written by: AlyssaAst • edited by: Rhonda Callow • updated: 11/23/2009

With all the leftovers that come with the holidays, do you know how long you can keep turkey leftovers and other holiday food? Depending on what type of food it is and how the food is stored will determine how long you can safely keep those holiday leftovers.

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    How Long Can You Keep Turkey Leftovers?

    Have you ever wondered how long can you keep turkey leftovers before they are unsafe to eat? Well, the answer really depends on how you are storing the turkey leftovers. Proper packaging is ideal to safely storing leftovers. Leftover turkey can be frozen for up to one month as long as it is packaged in either freezer wrap or a proper freezer container. The containers must be air tight or freezer burn will occur.

    If turkey is promptly placed in the refrigerator after it has been cooked it can safely be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days. It is important to remove any turkey from the bone before storing it. It should also be placed in an air tight container. Do not place turkey leftovers in the refrigerator if they have sat out for longer than two hours.

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    How Long Can You Keep Ham Leftovers?

    Fully cooked ham can safely be stored in the refrigerator. Ham should be placed in the refrigerator promptly after serving. The leftover ham needs to be removed from the bone and sliced thinly. Place the ham in an air tight container. Ham can be stored in the refrigerator for no longer than four days.

    It is not recommended to freeze ham. However, if you do it is best to freeze it no longer than a month if it is stored in a proper container. Make sure the container is air tight to eliminate freezer burn.

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    How Long Can You Keep Stuffing Leftovers?

    Stuffing is a holiday favorite. You often have leftover stuffing after the holiday meals are over. Stuffing can safely be frozen in an air tight container. If you properly store the stuffing, it can safely remain in the freezer for up to one month.

    Stuffing can also be stored in the refrigerator. Place the stuffing in an airtight container promptly after serving it. Stuffing containing meat should only be stored in the refrigerator for three days. Stuffing that does not contain meat can be stored in the refrigerator for four to five days. Never store stuffing inside a turkey!

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    How Long Can You Keep Gravy and Sauces?

    Leftover gravy’s can also be stored in the refrigerator. Pour leftover gravy into a plastic container and refrigerate it for no longer than three days. It can be frozen for up to a month.

    Leftover cranberry sauce can also be stored in the refrigerator. Place leftover cranberry sauce in an air tight container. It can safely be stored for up to one week.

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    References:

    “Turkey for the Holidays” University of Illinois Extension

    “Christmas Food Safety” County Health Department

    “Storing Holiday Leftovers” Meals.com