How Long Do Christmas Leftovers Last?
You're risking your health if you don't know.
How long do Christmas leftovers last? You’re risking your health if you don’t know. Fortunately, we’ve figured out how long your favorite Christmas comfort foods are good for — including turkey, ham, gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cooked vegetables, baked goods, and fruit cake — and when you should toss them.
How long does turkey last?
Unless you plan to feed a small army, chances are you’ll have a bit of bird left over. So, how long does it last in the fridge? Cooked poultry is only good for three to four days if stored in the refrigerator, according to FoodSafety.gov. If you have tons of leftover meat and you know there’s no way you’re going to finish it before it spoils, freeze a portion of it. Frozen poultry will last two to six months, and you’ll be glad to have already cooked meat for those weeknights when you just can’t be bothered to cook a proper meal.
How long does ham last?
If you’re planning on chowing down on a delicious glazed Christmas ham, the same food safety rules apply. Don’t let your meat sit longer than three or four days, and freeze it if you know you won’t finish it.
How long does gravy last?
There’s nothing worse than dry meat, which is, of course, where gravy comes in handy. Unfortunately, gravy will spoil if it’s not used within two days of being made — so you better be speedy. The good news is you can extend your gravy’s shelf life another week by boiling it again. We recommend freezing flour-based gravies if you have a lot leftover. Pour it into an ice cube tray and you’ll have easy-to-grab gravy pods that are perfect for quick dinners. Unfortunately, milk- or cream-based gravies shouldn’t be frozen, as the ingredients will separate when the gravy is thawed. Instead, we suggest using it right away as a thickening agent in soups or poured on top of fresh biscuits. (Mmm.)
How long does cranberry sauce last?
The one thing that unites team “homemade cranberry sauce” and team “canned cranberry sauce” is needing to know how long their preferred sauce lasts. Homemade cranberry sauce will last between 10 and 14 days if it’s stored properly in an air-tight container. It can also be frozen in a freezer-safe bag of container for up to a year, but we recommend eating it within two months for peak freshness. You can even freeze any bags of leftover cranberries you didn’t get to use for up to a year. We like popping them in smoothies for an extra burst of vitamins and minerals.
As for canned cranberry sauce, we recommend eating it within a week of removing it from the can. After that, you run the risk of accidentally eating mold or other dangerous food diseases. You can freeze canned cranberry sauce, but it tends to get watery.
How long does stuffing last?
Stuffing should be refrigerated within two hours of cooking if you want to enjoy it for as long as possible. Once it’s been refrigerated, plan on eating it within the next three or four days. After that, you need to freeze it if there’s still some left over. Frozen stuffing should last you about a month — which is plenty of time to devour that carb-filled goodness.
How long do mashed potatoes last?
Cooked potatoes will survive three to five days in the fridge before they need to be tossed. We don’t recommend freezing whole potatoes, as this this process makes them watery. However, scalloped, mashed, or roasted potatoes are ideal for freezing and should last 10 to 12 months.
How long do cooked veggies last?
If your stomach is at max Brussels sprout capacity, you’ll need to clear some fridge space. Cooked veggies last three to four days in the fridge and can be frozen for three to four months.
How long do baked good last?
On the off chance that you don’t finish those Christmas cakes and cookies, you’ll want to know how long you can safely store them. Baked goods that are made from mixes are okay to eat for three to four days after they’re made. They have a shelf life of about seven days once they’re refrigerated. However, not all sweets can sit out on the counter. Cheesecakes should be refrigerated as soon as possible, and are good to go for at least a week. Goodies like cookies have a much longer shelf life and can sit for two to three weeks. Their shelf life extends to about two months once they’ve been refrigerated.
How long does fruit cake last?
Baked fruitcake is one of the heartiest desserts and can last up to a month on the counter. After that, you can refrigerate it and eat it for another six months. If you still haven’t finished it, chuck it in the freezer where it’ll be good for up to a year.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.