How To Make Your Thanksgiving Leftovers Last Longer

You've spent hours slaving over the stove making a Thanksgiving Day feast for you and your loved ones, and most of the spoils of your labor were gobbled down in about an hour. But then you're left with one of the most glorious parts of Thanksgiving that keeps the holiday spirit going for days afterward: leftovers. To help maximize the lifespan of your leftovers, we've gathered a bunch of tricks of the preservation trade to make sure you're able to enjoy as much of that turkey and gravy as you possibly can.

Let's start with what definitely won't last. Food Network suggested throwing away salads (especially those that are already dressed, as Taste of Home noted), which are likely to go bad quickly. After all, they'll only be taking refrigerator space away from foods that will keep and that you'll be able to enjoy for days to come. Now, for foods that you will be freezing or refrigerating, it's important to use the proper supplies. Food Network recommended using storage containers and wraps designed for use in the freezer for the best results, and making sure they're as airtight as possible to prevent freezer burn.

What to do with your Thanksgiving leftovers

Next up, Food Network mentioned that bread and rolls should be wrapped in foil and then plastic wrap before being placed in the freezer, where they will last for about a month. When it comes to the big bird and its stuffing, you should remove all the stuffing from the turkey and store it separately in 1-to-2 cup portions. Think ahead to how you plan to use the turkey meat and pop some sliced breast in the fridge for sandwiches and some shredded meat in the freezer for use in a future casserole. 

Veggie leftovers should be eaten within three to five days after Thanksgiving (via Food Network), while Taste of Home noted that mashed potatoes will keep up to four days in the fridge. Taste of Home has a genius recommendation for saving gravy: freeze it in ice cube trays, so you'll have it perfectly pre-portioned for future cooking projects. As for desserts, Taste of Home recommended investing in a cake keeper that will not only help preserve the cake, but also won't smoosh and destroy the frosting art like plastic wrap will.