Turkey for Thanksgiving dinner is a staple, true. But, it's after the feast that its true holiday purpose is realized: those beloved leftover sandwiches. Piling slices of meat between buttery biscuits and heated up mashed potatoes will have you feeling like a gourmet foodie. So, with Thanksgiving coming up, you may be wondering how long turkey leftovers last, or how long you can relish in the construction of the year's best leftover sandwich concoction — and don't worry, I have the answers.
Sitting down for Thanksgiving's elaborate dinner is always something to look forward to. It's basically a potluck you get off of work for in order to spend time with family and verbalize your gratitude journal. Though, if we're being honest here, the best part of dinner is taking inventory of what's left over. Then later transforming what's left in stock into your breakfast, lunch and dinner for as many days as possible.
There's something about leftovers that makes them almost, dare I say, better than the fresh-out-of-the-oven version of their former selves. This is apparent with pizza which for some reason tastes like it was given a gastronomic makeover after it has been frozen and then resurrected in the oven the next day. It's crunchier and as if the cheese really came into its own after a night of beauty rest in the freezer's seal. Alas, you can't keep Thanksgiving going strong through the next year's supply. But, good news, you can keep those sandwiches going strong for some chunk of time. That is if they're not quickly gobbled down the morning after.
Kiss your freezer because it is the technology that will keep Thanksgiving going for longer than a few days, if that's what you were hoping for. Cooked, whole turkey can be carved and stored in the fridge for up to three or four days. That's ample time if you ask me. Considering all of the people rotating the kitchen in the days following the feast, it could very well be devoured quickly. Re-inventing turkey leftovers goes further than sandwiches. You can add it to soups, stews, salads, tacos. There are endless possibilities to go wild with defining its second life on your plate. If you're part of a smaller party and looking to scale back on tryptophan, this is where your freezer is key.
While some say that a freezer can keep cooked turkey safe for up to two to three months, others say you can get away with it for up to six months. Food 52 reports that if you have a quality freezer that maintains a temperature of 0 or below, the possibility of freezing Thanksgiving is "indefinite". But, they are quick to follow up, not everyone is equipped with a freezer of this grade. You wouldn't want your leftovers to make you sick, ruining Thanksgiving turkey forever, so your best bet would to be keep your carved turkey slices in the freezer for "six months max." That is still a decent amount of time to build the ultimate Thanksgiving turkey sandwich again and again.
As for all the other makings and mixings of the Thanksgiving table? They all have their own expiration dates which Still Tasty kindly fills us in on. It looks like you can easily keep the holiday feasting in your diet for the next few months. Let's just say that this isn't a holiday that produces food waste. Every delicious side and course is devoured and cherished for all that it's worth.
Whether you're planning on a leaning turkey tower of pita or protein stocked salads, there is so much you can do to make leftovers exciting. Which is a good thing because it looks like you can keep them around for a while. Happy feasting again and again ... and again.