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Tips for Holiday Leftovers

Do you love the holidays, but could do without all the holiday leftovers? We can relate. It’s wonderful to eat, drink and be merry in the company of friends and family—but sometimes that holiday feast tends to wear out its welcome in the fridge! Rather than tossing out wasted food, follow these creative tips for your holiday leftovers.

Give it away

Are you hosting guests this holiday season? Stock up on low-cost, disposable 3-compartment containers for guests to load and take home. Our suggestion, encourage guests to take food items that are more challenging to “remix” into new dishes. For example, casseroles, stuffing, dressing, etc.

Get it to the fridge

Be mindful to get your leftovers into the fridge as soon as possible. It can be really tempting to kick back and relax after your holiday feast, but don’t delay getting the food safely stored in the fridge. According to the Partnership for Food Safety Education, leftovers shouldn’t sit out at room temperature for more than two hours so as to avoid formation of harmful bacteria. You also want to avoid putting piping hot foods straight into your fridge as this will cause the internal fridge temperature to rise. In summary, food should stored within two hours of being out at room temperature, and cool.

Store smart

When it comes to storing leftovers, it’s helpful to have a plan. Make sure to stock up on extra tupperware/glassware and food labels prior to the holidays. It’s also a good idea to do a deep clean of your freezer and fridge to make sure you’ve got plenty of clean space for storage.

It’s helpful to make an assembly line when storing leftovers. We recommend getting a helper, together you can make this task go by in a flash. Start with divvying up the takeaway containers for guests. Reminder, the best things to give away are those items that are more challenging to remix or recreate like stuffing, dressings and casseroles. Once you’ve dished those out, move on to the remaining items.

Be mindful not to fill the storage containers more than two inches deep, per the Partnership for Food Safety Education. This helps ensure the food is safely cooled and avoids bacteria/mold from forming causing the food to go bad prematurely. Having more containers of the same foods, in smaller volumes is also helpful because each container is closer to an actual serving size. Lastly, make sure to label and date each container.  

Remix and match

Here is where the fun begins. One of our favorite things about leftovers is the potential for new creative meals with your holiday favorites. You can do so many things with turkey alone! Cube it, use if for turkey pot pie, turkey chili, turkey noodle soup—pretty much any recipe that normally calls for chicken. Use leftover fruits for baked goods like cranberry scones and pumpkin pie muffins. Remix potatoes for potato pancakes, sweet potato cookies and more! Add leftover nuts or dried fruits on top of salads—the possibilities can go on and on. If you’re looking for inspiration, we love this article on Mr. Food that has over 20 recipes to enjoy your holiday leftovers.

Do you have any favorite tips for holiday leftovers? We’d love to hear them! Share them with our team today.