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How long are turkey leftovers good?

m
melly Dec 3, 2008 04:22 PM

I want to make a turkey pot pie. The turkey has been in the frig since last Thursday. Can I use it?

  1. RealMenJulienne Dec 4, 2008 12:20 PM

    Yes you can use it.

    Yesterday we discovered a ziploc bag of shredded turkey breast and thigh bones that had been in the freezer since last Christmas. We cooked into a delicious soup. So if you don't use up all the turkey in your pie then toss it in your freezer and save it for this time next year.

    1 Reply
    1. re: RealMenJulienne
      jeniyo Dec 4, 2008 12:31 PM

      I got some leftovers from friday too! i think i'm heading home tonite and making turkey pot pies. they will last a bit longer and non drying if i plan keep it in the stew form for longer. i think if you cook it again, it kills of the nasties?

    2. Gio Dec 4, 2008 09:10 AM

      I making EatNopal's Turkey Tostados tonight with turkey legs I braised this past Sunday, so they're 4 days old. I'll let you know....

      1. s
        sunsetstrip38 Dec 4, 2008 08:09 AM

        i think as long as its refrigerated

        1. ipsedixit Dec 3, 2008 08:52 PM

          I've eaten cooked poultry that's been sitting in the fridge for longer than a week many times with no problems.

          The general FDA guideline of 3-5 days is playing it real safe and assumes the worse of situations (e.g. handled improperly after cooking, low fridge storage temp, non-airtight storage container, etc.)

          If your fridge is set on the proper temp, or especially if it is on the cool side (i.e., closer to 32 F), and you store the turkey leftovers properly (e.g. covered, air tight container), you should be good to go for at least 5-7 days, if not easily more.

          1. OCEllen Dec 3, 2008 08:23 PM

            I always go by the three day rule - freeze, cook or throw out!

            3 Replies
            1. re: OCEllen
              c oliver Dec 3, 2008 08:24 PM

              But why? I really want to know the science behind this.

              1. re: c oliver
                r
                rockfish42 Dec 3, 2008 08:40 PM

                http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/qa-sto8...
                This follows FDA guidelines in general for most meat products, though I've found them to be overly cautious.
                note:these are for raw meat products.

                1. re: c oliver
                  HaagenDazs Dec 4, 2008 09:35 AM

                  There's science but how much science do you need to know and understand that something has begun to rot?

                  I think that you'll be OK if you cook with it tonight but be sure to heat the turkey thoroughly in the pot pie sauce and don't make this pot pie for anymore than tonight's dinner. Leftovers of leftovers aren't a good thing.

                  I can tell you this; I wouldn't use the meat at this point, but it's up to you.

              2. r
                rockfish42 Dec 3, 2008 06:56 PM

                If it's been taken off the bone it might be ok, though I agree with the 3-5 days estimate in general.

                2 Replies
                1. re: rockfish42
                  c oliver Dec 3, 2008 07:15 PM

                  What happens after 3-5 days?

                  1. re: c oliver
                    r
                    rockfish42 Dec 3, 2008 08:36 PM

                    Bacteria grow at an exponential rate, the longer the food is stored the more likely that any organisms that were present at the time of storage have multiplied to the point that they would case infection or poisoning.
                    note:exponential growth is a simplification of actual bacterial growth but is probably enough of an explanation for the laymen.

                2. j
                  jaykayen Dec 3, 2008 05:32 PM

                  Probably, maybe, but I'd freeze whatever you don't use today. 3-5 days is the standard for leftovers.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: jaykayen
                    m
                    melly Dec 3, 2008 08:16 PM

                    I heard that bacteria keeps growing even after food is frozen..??

                    I was in Portland for Thanksgiving and my husband grilled and smoked this turkey. Brined it first. I got home on Monday. I usually don't eat leftovers after 3 days either.

                    1. re: melly
                      c oliver Dec 3, 2008 08:20 PM

                      "Things" can grow if they're there to begin with. A properly cooked turkey won't have any live bacteria in it so how could they "grow"?

                      1. re: c oliver
                        r
                        rockfish42 Dec 3, 2008 08:35 PM

                        There are bacteria present in the air, on the cutting surfaces you use and on your skin. Usually if proper methods of sanitation are followed the amount found on food is small enough to allow refrigeration for 3-5 days. Bacteria grow quickest at 40-140 degrees F, that is not to say that they cannot grow at higher or lower temps depending on species. It is especially important to remove meat from the bone, as marrow is particularly susceptible to bacterial colonization. Subsequent reheating will kill all the bacteria organisms present, that however does not sanitize the food as some strains such as staph produce toxins that persist at high temperatures.

                  2. c oliver Dec 3, 2008 05:15 PM

                    Yes. If it's been refrigerated, what could be wrong? I made a quiche last night with turkey. And still have enough for a couple more sandwiches. Will probably take more mayo as it's drying out :)

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