Lisa Faulkner shares her tips for Christmas dinner
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Christmas Day has been and gone and there will be many households waking up on Boxing Day with food still remaining from the traditional holiday feasting. Often as the centre-piece of a Christmas dinner, roast turkey can be stored, after it has been cooked, for indulgence over the next couple of days. So, how long is it safe to store your cooked bird for?
If you’re looking to keep any roast turkey leftovers there’s generally two ways you can store it.
First, you can opt to keep it in your fridge, or alternatively you can stow any added extras away in your freezer.
Should you go for the former, it’s recommended that you eat any leftovers within three to four days after cooking your turkey.
Before you place your turkey in the fridge, you should cover it loosely with foil as it cools to avoid any airborne bacteria landing on it, which could lead to food poisoning.
For this particular step, it’s also recommended that you cool the leftovers within 90 minutes after you’ve finished eating.
Once it has cooled, you can then wrap it completely or cut it up so that it can be stored in a food storage container.
When you go to put it in your fridge, do not store it under or next to uncooked meat as the juices could contaminate it.
On the flip-side, if you want to freeze any of your turkey leftovers you’ll give yourself a significantly longer time-frame to decide when to eat all of it.
Here, you can safely keep your food for several months. But be warned it will start to deteriorate after three to six months of storage.
If you’re putting leftovers in the freezer, you could divide them into portions so that you can defrost only as much as you need.
Some top tips for freezing turkey include wrapping the meat tightly to avoid freezer burn, and labelling the bag with the date you put it into the freezer, so that you don’t forget.
When you’re serving cold turkey, take out only as much as you’re going to use and put the rest back in the fridge.
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Do not leave a plate of turkey or cold meats out all day – for instance, as part of a buffet.
Moreover, if you have any defrosted leftovers you should eat them within 24 hours.
You should also note that if you’re reheating leftover turkey or other food – from the fridge or freezer – always make sure it’s steaming hot all the way through before you eat it.
Never reheat food more than once as this could lead to illness developing.
How can I tell if my turkey has gone off?
If cooked turkey has gone bad, you can usually tell by the smell and texture.
Here, it may seem slimy in appearance and smell strong. In any case you should immediately discard your leftovers and avoid eating.
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