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Left-over turkey safe for how long?

MaggieRSN Nov 23, 2007 06:07 PM

So...for how many days are you willing to chance it, using the refrigerated turkey for left-overs?

Also, often I put a roast chicken carcass in the freezer right in the freezer immediately following the meal. I'm thinking now I won't be able to use all of what's left with this turkey, even if I make stock tomorrow a.m. Is it unsafe to freeze a cooked bird if it's been in the fridge for somewhat more than 24 hours?

  1. m
    MakingSense Nov 23, 2007 09:54 PM

    I consider leftovers a major asset worth managing well. The whole turkey takes up too much room in the fridge so I remove the big pieces of meat suitable for sandwiches right away and put them into a couple of container so my family doesn't take out everything at once and leave it out on the counter when they wander away. Then I pick off the smaller pieces that I can use for soups or casseroles and put that aside separately.
    The carcass goes into the stockpot, the stock gets chilled, the fat skimmed off. If I'm going to freeze the soup/casserole meat, I put it into a container or ziplock with enough stock to cover it so that it doesn’t freezer-burn.
    I usually leave enough sandwich meat in the fridge to last until Sunday or Monday after Thanksgiving. As long as my family hasn't been leaving it out on the counter, I've never had problems with it getting nasty that quickly. By that time they're pretty tired of turkey anyway.
    I do plan at least one turkey casserole or soup over the weekend. Turkey goes pretty quickly at my house.
    All of the above changes if your family lets the meat sit out on the counter. As always, you can tell by the smell.

    3 Replies
    1. re: MakingSense
      MaggieRSN Nov 23, 2007 10:29 PM

      Thank you, MS. By last night I was so tired, I was seeing double. The bird got put into my largest ceramic baker, wrapped up and well, and into the fridge. Today I normally would have been cooking, but out hubby and I went on errands. I did make a turkey casserole tonight for dinner, but there's quite a bit left. Your plan makes a lot of sense to me, and, from what you say, I should be fine organizing it tomorrow.

      You have one of those families, too, eh? I tell them, sometimes, if they can't be responsible about re-wrapping/covering and putting back in the refrigerator what they un-wrapped/covered and took out of the refrigerator, then they obviously don't appreciate how much work it takes to cook for a family, and I know a special on-the-job crashcourse to help them understand. ;-) That reforms thems for about three days at a time.

      1. re: MaggieRSN
        MakingSense Nov 24, 2007 07:29 AM

        It's not just our dear families, God love 'em. It's like feeding the bears in the National Parks. Once you do, they lose the ability to take care of themselves because it becomes so easy to get food. Open the fridge, snag hunk of turkey, go back to football game on TV. Repeat. They just forget.
        For a few days, I slice up some turkey in the morning, put it front and center in the fridge with the sandwich fixings (bread on counter) and stick the rest safely in the back of the fridge. I'll reprogram them next week.

        1. re: MakingSense
          MaggieRSN Nov 24, 2007 01:41 PM

          LOL, MS. How apt, the comparison. I notice also, like our ursine population, they strew their refuse all about. I've tried positive reinforcement with peanut butter treats. It's taken years, but I've managed to get them to the "bring the dirty dishes and the wrapper garbage from the outback and leave it on the just-sanitized kitchen table stage for Mom to sort out" stage. Our next objective is conquering the last 15 feet between the table and the sink/trash pail.

    2. c
      classylady Nov 24, 2007 08:48 AM

      After I completed roasting the turkey, I carved the turkey according to the NY Times video on the internet. Place the slices in separate food savers and frozen them. The legs were consumed on Thanksgiving. The frame with all the little tidbits were cleaned by my DH.Gravy was added to all the food savers to keep the turkey moist for future dinners.

      1 Reply
      1. re: classylady
        MaggieRSN Nov 24, 2007 01:50 PM

        There's never much gravy left over here, classy. That's a good idea, though, and I'll try to remember that next time; make more initially to help with storage.

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