“A lack of understanding leads many to experience foodborne illnesses during the holidays,” said Brenda Jones, R.D., Baylor Medical Center at Irving. “Although most cases are mild and cause symptoms only for a day or two, it can be a very unpleasant few days.”
By keeping these tips in mind, you can keep foodborne bacteria at bay and safely savor those Thanksgiving leftovers:
- Refrigerate or freeze leftovers within two hours of cooking the food.
- Store leftovers in shallow containers (two inches or less).
- Cut turkey into small pieces, and be sure to refrigerate the turkey and stuffing in separate containers.
- While you might overstuff yourself, don’t overstuff your refrigerator; cool air needs to circulate to keep food safe.
- Eat leftover turkey within three to four days or freeze it.
- Always bring leftover gravy to a boil on the stove before serving it.
“Because we are all stuffed and tired following a holiday meal, you should prepare for putting away the leftovers before the meal,” said Jones. “Clear out the refrigerator and make sure you have some clean shallow containers available.”