If you’re anything like my mother, your holiday was preceded by the overwhelming fear that you simply did not have enough food. Your anxiety drove you to the store for six more bags of cranberries, five cans of yams and maybe one more turkey. Now your fridge is packed with pounds of leftovers. You will be reheating and re-eating Thursday’s meal until you can no longer remember a time without stuffing. A food-packed future stretches before you; make sure it’s a healthy one.
Properly managing leftovers is just as important as managing raw food. I realize that the remnants of your meal were wrapped up several hours ago, as it is now the morning after Thanksgiving. However, in your food-coma, you may have made a few mistakes that should be rectified immediately:
• If you jammed every last piece of turkey into one container, un-jam. Separate the food into small, shallow tubs no more than three inches tall.�
• Make sure that each item has its own designated container. You may eat your green beans, potatoes and gravy all in one forkful, but that doesn’t mean they should be stored like that. Everything is on its own.
• If you find yourself wondering if the stuffing smelled like that on Thursday, don’t eat it. Don’t even sample it. Chances are it didn’t. Questionable foods belong in the garbage.
• When reheating, make sure the temps hit 165 degrees. Food should be steamy.
• If you’re using a microwave, do so correctly. The FDA has supplied guidelines in case you are unclear on proper microwave use.�
• Once you hit the four-day mark (that’s Monday), stop reheating. The longer you store food the more likely contamination is. Experts agree that four days is a good cutoff. After that, it’s all in the garbage.
• Try not to relive Thanksgiving with every meal. Thursday was a day of indulgence. Today is not.