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Shelf Talk

How Long Do Christmas Leftovers Last?

Leftover turkey and stuffing. Baked ham and mashed potatoes. Eggnog and cookies. The only thing better than the Christmas meal itself is feasting on the leftovers the next day!

So how long can you safely keep Christmas leftovers and what's the best way to store your leftover turkey, ham or duck and all the fixings? To make the most of your leftovers, you’ve first got to ensure that they’re being kept in a safe storage environment. Most Christmas leftovers will stay fresh and tasty for at least a few days in the refrigerator and a month or more in the freezer.

Some general tips:

•Refrigerate leftover turkey, ham, goose and other meats, stuffing, gravy and other cooked dishes within 2 hours of serving.

•Carve leftover turkey meat off the bones before refrigerating. Place the meat and stuffing in separate containers.

•Divide leftovers into smaller portions and refrigerate or freeze in covered shallow containers for quicker cooling.

Follow the guidelines below to enjoy the maximum taste from your Christmas leftovers:

 

 

Storage Time

Item

Pantry

Fridge

Freezer

Turkey, Goose or Duck — whole, cooked

 

3-4 days

2-3 months

Ham — baked at home, leftovers

 

3-4 days

3-4 months

Gravy — homemade

 

1-2 days

2-3 months

Cranberry sauce

 

10-14 days

1-2 months

Stuffing — cooked

 

3-4 days

1 month

Mashed potatoes or yams; green bean casserole

 

3-5 days

10-12 months

Cookies — homemade or bakery-purchased

2-3 weeks

5-7 days if frosting or filling contains eggs or dairy products

8-12 months

Fruitcake — baked

1 month

6 months

1 year

Eggnog — homemade

 

1 day

6 months

Apple pie — baked

2 days

2-3 days after pantry storage

1-2 months

Wine, red or white — opened bottle

 

3-5 days

1-2 months

Bread — soft-crusted

4 -5 days

 

2-3 months

 hard-crusted

1 -2 days

 

2-3 months

 

 

 

 

 

*Freezer time shown is for best quality only — foods kept constantly frozen at 0° F will keep safe indefinitely.

 

 

Related Articles:
Is It OK to Put Hot Food Directly Into the Fridge?
How Long Do Spices Last?

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