Safely Storing Thanksgiving Leftovers

Follow these guidelines to ensure that the leftovers you keep will be safe to eat.

"When in doubt, throw it out" is a good rule of thumb, whether you're questioning the safety of food you're about to store or of food you're taking out of the refrigerator or freezer to eat.

Stock up on plastic storage bags and containers so you're prepared to store leftovers soon after the meal. Having storage supplies at the ready also makes it easy for others to help out in the kitchen.

Immediately after cooking, remove stuffing from the turkey, chicken, duck or goose. Within 2 hours, carve all meat off the bones. Place the meat and stuffing in separate containers and refrigerate. For faster cooling, don't stack the containers.

Leftover turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie can be refrigerated for 3 to 4 days.

Meat combined with gravy and gravy by itself should be used within 1 to 2 days.

Cranberry sauce and relish can be stored in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days.

Cooked vegetables should be eaten within 3 to 5 days.

Freeze any leftovers you won't eat within 3 days. Frozen cooked meat and gravy should be used within 2 to 3 months.

When reheating leftovers, bring gravy to a full rolling boil and all others foods to a temperature of 165°.