Storing Thanksgiving Day Leftovers
Leftovers do not have an indefinite shelf life. We can usually tell that something is rotten by the sour smell or the sight of fuzzy stuff on the inside of the container. As a rule of thumb, leftovers kept in the fridge more than four days pose a potential poisoning hazard to whoever may eat it.
Bacteria are so small that it cannot be seen with the naked eye. Bacteria can grow from the condensation buildup on the inside of a container. Even though the food doesn't smell, the age of the leftovers can still make them dangerous.
A little food poisoning during the Thanksgiving holiday can ruin the entire weekend. Don't let the food sit more than a couple of hours at room temperature after it has been cooked. Many people wait until they are ready to turn in for the night to clean things up. This is not a good idea. The food will have sat to long without refrigeration and the chance of harmful bacteria growth is extremely high.
If you bake your turkey with the stuffing on the inside, do not forget to remove the stuffing before storing the turkey in the refrigerator. The food will take a long time to cool or cool unevenly with the stuffing still inside. The inside cavity of the turkey will remain warm which will allow harmful bacterial to grow.
When you are storing gravy, rice, vegetables and other side dishes the containers used will need to fit the amount of food that is inside of it. Just as an example, you wouldn't use a half gallon container to store a cup of rice. Wrap the rice in aluminum foil it would survive better this way. The less air that is in a container the safer it will be. Make sure to leave room around the outside of the container this will allow air to flow and cool the contents evenly.
Turkey and stuffing seem to taste even better the next day. By storing your leftovers in a safe manner everyone will get their belly full instead of a belly ache. You'll sure be thankful that you did it this way.