There is plenty of stress in preparation for Thanksgiving dinner. One of the perks of hosting said special event is a fridge full of leftovers. But exactly how long can you safely consume said items before the cooties take over?

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Keeping Thanksgiving Dinner Safe on the Big Day

It’s a compliment when all the guests eat so much food there is nothing left over from Thanksgiving dinner, but often something is sitting on the counter when all is said and done. Let’s review the best food-handling practices for Thanksgiving dinner. All food should not be out on the counter longer than 2 hours.

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For those of you with enough room in the kitchen, chafing dishes are great to keep food warm, but an oven works as well. Did you know that's what the drawer at the bottom of some ovens can do? Keep hot food at 135 degrees or above to prevent bacteria from making seconds a bad experience.

The fridge is going to have a busy day for cold dishes. Cold foods need to stay below 40 degrees. Maybe the extra aluminum pans can hold some ice and cold dishes can sit in an ice bath.

How Long Can Thanksgiving Last In the Fridge?

Once all the food has been safely stored, how long does the food keep before things get strange? Our house always gave it a week. Anything that didn’t need refrigeration had until it became a science experiment with green stuff growing on it. Maybe you can discover a new kind of antibiotic.

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It would appear that the fridge can only keep food for 3-4 days. That’s not enough time if some of your guests couldn’t attend or adopted veganism recently and didn’t tell you. Now the choices are to power down leftovers through Monday, chance the minor case of food poisoning, or (insert dramatic music) throw some of the food away.

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Mind you, there is the ability to freeze the food. That can stay in the freezer for up to 6 months. It seems dramatic, but if you don’t want to toss food, that may be the most viable option. Stay safe, eat well, and prosper.

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