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When is it Time to Toss that Turkey?


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CLEVELAND – From turkey to stuffing and cranberries, nothing beats a Thanksgiving feast.

But, how long do we have to ‘gobble up’ that bird before it’s time to toss it out?

“Once you’ve prepared something and it’s ready to go, you only want to leave it out for two hours,” explained Alexis Supan, RD, registered dietitian for Cleveland Clinic. “The temperature danger zone is 40 degrees to 140 degrees. So, most food falls into that within a two hour time frame.”

If you want seconds, Supan suggests using a slow cooker or tucking the turkey into a warm oven.

When reheating, get the core temperature of the turkey back up to 165 degrees.

For storage, slice up the remaining meat and refrigerate smaller portions for three to four days.

Use a sealed container to keep out bacteria and help retain moisture.

And when it comes to container storage size, Supan said don’t use large ones, they take too long to cool the food.

“A smaller, shallow glass or ceramic container would be ideal for storage. And you want something with an airtight lid on it as well,” she noted.

If you can’t use up leftover turkey by Cyber Monday, you can freeze it.

Turkey can be put in the freezer for three to four months while still keeping most of its quality and flavor.

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