Can You Freeze Cooked Thanksgiving Turkey? This Hack Is Worth Trying This Year
Thanksgiving is the one holiday were there always seem to be more leftovers than food consumed, partially because everyone cooks way too much food. So, what's to be done with all of that left over turkey. If you're wondering if you can freeze a cooked Thanksgiving turkey after Thanksgiving 2017, the answer is yes. However, it does take a little bit of work. If making soup, or eating turkey sandwiches for the next week doesn't sound appealing, why not save that leftover bird for later by putting it in the freezer? Seriously, how have I never known about this?
This is like the time I learned you could revive a hard baguette by running it under water and putting it in the oven — life changing. If you know you want to freeze your leftover turkey, it's a good idea to mentally psych yourself up for it because there is some work involved. However, on the upside this method will ultimately leave you with less dishes to wash.
"You're probably in a post-dinner food coma when the meal ends, but just take care of this now, or better yet, find a willing helper who can do it," Christine Gallary wrote for Kitchn. "You probably already have a cutting board and carving knife out that has turkey bits on it anyway, so if you take apart the turkey now, you only have to wash everything once."
Freezing Your Thanksgiving 2017 Turkey
The reason you want to take the turkey off the bone right away is because it's easiest when the turkey is still warm. Additionally, you need to freeze the bones and meat separately so you can eat the turkey and use the bones for soup stock. If making soup isn't your jam you can just throw the bones away. Gallary advised that turkey can be frozen for up to three months, though other people said they have kept it frozen as long as six months. It probably depends on how long you're comfortable with.
You'll also want to add some broth to the bag to seal in the flavor and keep it moist (I know, this is a terrible word, but it's the only one I can think of). "... There’s a big catch to making sure you properly store and freeze your leftover Thanksgiving turkey — you need to be sure to put broth (1/3 to 1/2 cup) in each bag of meat because freezing tends to dry out the turkey," Traci Taylor wrote for radio station 98.1 The Hawk. "The broth will help it keep moist and will act as a baste when the meat is thawing."
While you might be tempted to toss your leftovers because you're so stuffed with turkey that you had to put on your comfy pants, in a few months you'll probably wish you had them to make a turkey sandwich. By then the full feeling should have passed.
"When you’re ready to re-live Thanksgiving in the spring, just pull out a bag of turkey and let it defrost in the fridge," Taylor noted. "Then heat, and eat!" If you're feeling really ambitious, you can use the bones to make soup stock while you're cleaning up because November is cold and you know you're going to want some soup sooner rather than later.
"... Turn it into stock now! You probably have extra carrots, onion, celery, and herbs, so just simmer it now and get it over with," Gallary wrote. "Or bundle it into the slow cooker for an overnight simmer, or into the pressure cooker for an extra-fast, extra-good stock."
Let's face it, there's nothing better than Thanksgiving food. No matter you feel about turkey at the end of Thanksgiving 2017, come winter 2018 you'll be glad you took a few minutes to save and freeze your bird.