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CHRISTMAS dinner is great, but those leftovers are even more coveted.
However, you may be storing your leftovers wrong, which could lead to sickness.
According to FoodSafety.gov, the federal government estimates that approximately 1 in 6 Americans suffers from food poisoning each year.
Sadly, these cases affect about 48million Americans and result in around 3,000 deaths.
But there are ways to store your Christmas leftovers to avoid becoming part of these statistics.
Below, we explain how to store frozen turkey and vegetables, as well as other holiday items.
How to freeze and reheat cooked turkey
If you’ve cooked a beautiful turkey dinner for the Christmas holiday and want to extend the celebration, you can freeze your cooked meal.
Make sure your cooked turkey is fully cooled before putting it into the freezer.
Turkey can maintain good quality for 3-6 months if stored properly.
When defrosting cooked turkey, be sure to eat it within 24 hours.
You also want to make sure it’s fully heated all the way through when reheating.
Otherwise, you put yourself at risk of food poisoning.
Another rule of thumb? Don’t reheat food more than once.
If you follow these rules and handle the turkey properly along the way, you’ll reduce the risk of food poisoning and illness.
Other Christmas items
Vegetables that have been cooked- including Brussels sprouts, potatoes, and carrots- can all be frozen after being fully cooked.
If you have leftover vegetables that have not been cooked, consider blanching them before freezing.
To do this, you want to place the veggies in a blanching basket and put it into boiling water.
Place a lid on the blanching basket and let it sit.
Depending on what vegetable you’re blanching, the time will vary, so be sure to check best practices.
Note that not all vegetables need to be blanched before being frozen, so again, consult an expert first.
Keep food safe
FoodSafety.gov has a number of tips for keeping food safe every step of the way.
As a tip when freezing any food, it’s a good idea to portion it out first before freezing.
That way, you’re only defrosting the amount you need instead of a large quantity.
To protect yourself and your family when cooking at home, it’s recommended to follow the following four steps: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill.
You should also wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before, during, and after preparing food to avoid contamination and germs.
It’s a good idea to keep meat, seafood, and eggs separate from other foods when grocery shopping, storing them and preparing to cook them.
Use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of meats to ensure they’re properly cooked.
Be sure to refrigerate perishable food within two hours if left at room temperature. If exposed to temperatures above 90°F, store within one hour, as harmful bacteria can multiply rapidly.
You’ve been storing your Xmas leftovers wrong – here’s how to avoid risks
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