Turkey Leftovers: How Long?

How long are turkey leftovers good? How long can leftover turkey be stored in the fridge for?
My husband smoked our turkey this year. We have a lot of leftovers and are looking for cool new recipes so we don't fall into the whole turkey sandwich trap.
But we don't want to get sick, a friend said he had his Thanksgiving leftover turkey in the fridge for 10 days and that it was fine but I think that's just too much.

How long does leftover turkey stay good for?

asked by Lucy in Foods | 5329 views | 11-28-2010 at 12:36 AM

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.
I left mine up to 5 days and it was OK. 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.

It is not safe to let a turkey sit out for lengthy periods of time. If the turkey leftovers sit out for more than 2 hours, including stuffing baked in a turkey, these should be discarded. Leaving the turkey out can mean the turkey will start to accumulate salmonella bacteria, and eating leftover turkey that has not been stored properly can make one very sick.

There are bacteria present in the air, on the cutting surfaces you use and on your skin. Usually if proper methods of sanitation are used the amount found on food is small enough to allow refrigeration for 3-5 days. Bacteria grow quickest at 40-140 degrees F, that is not to say that they cannot grow at higher or lower temps depending on species.

Proper packaging is important to the success of frozen leftovers. Otherwise, circulating air in the freezer will create freezer burn white dried-out patches on the surface of food that make it tough and tasteless. Use heavy-duty aluminum foil, freezer paper, or zip-closure freezer bags for best results. Do not leave air space.

answered by London | 11-28-2010 at 12:37 AM

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