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Food & Recipes

6 Storage Hacks To Ensure Thanksgiving Leftovers Stay Fresh and Tasty

Enjoy your favorite dishes and sides for days to come.


Even if you intend on eating seconds or thirds on turkey day, you’ll still most likely have leftovers. However, this is a good thing since a lot of foods typically taste better the next day as the flavors continue to develop. That’s why correctly storing Thanksgiving leftovers in the fridge is key to enjoying your favorite fixin’s including turkey, gravy, and rolls for days to come. Otherwise, the food could spoil faster and you’d be left with having to throw it all away. These six storage tips are sure to keep your leftovers fresh and tasty after the big meal. 

Preserve cranberry sauce with an add-in.

Spices not only liven up your taste buds, they also fight bacteria and keep foods fresh longer. Try sprinkling a pinch of cayenne, a centuries-old natural preservative, into your cranberry sauce for a warm, zingy twist that will help keep the condiment tasty for weeks. Prefer sweet to spicy? Just place leftovers in a plastic container, then top with a 1⁄8-inch layer of honey — it contains small amounts of hydrogen peroxide that inhibit microbes, keeping the sauce fresh and delicious.

Store rolls with a celery stalk.

Keep bread rolls fresh at least a week longer by tossing a stalk of celery into the bag with them. Rolls get stale because they dry up — but celery emits moisture, which the rolls absorb, helping them to stay soft and fresh.

Cover salad greens with a foil ‘shield.’

“Store greens in a foil tray and cover it with more foil — this helps trap moisture within the lettuce, keeping it crisp,” says food scientist Brian Chau ( “It also keeps out ethylene gas, which is released by other fruits and vegetables in your fridge and can cause lettuce to go bad faster.” Tip: Keep the tray on the top shelf of the fridge, which is slightly warmer, because air that’s too frosty causes greens to wilt faster.

Freeze gravy into cubes.

Freeze gravy in ice cube trays, then stash the cubes in a freezer bag. “You’ll have delicious gravy for up to three months,” says food blogger Kate Thrane ( “To defrost them, place a few cubes in a bowl and microwave on high for 3 minutes.”

Tightly wrap turkey.

If you’re planning to eat your bird within the next three to four days, just keep it insulated from air as much as possible, says Chau. “Because air causes oxidation, which promotes mold, wrap the turkey tightly in either plastic wrap or foil.” Also smart: Include a few bay leaves, which act as natural antioxidants.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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