Thanksgiving is over, but many of us are still enjoying the big dinner. Some try to make the holiday leftovers last as long as they can, but the longer you keep your food, the bigger the chance of it hurting you in the long run.
Every year, it doesn’t take long for Trinidad Flores and his family to break open the Tupperware and relive the taste of Thanksgiving dinner.
“We enjoyed it already this morning again,” Flores said. “It seems to always taste better the next day.”
He adds leftovers at his house typically lasts two days, with visiting family helping get rid of it, too.
“Different people walk in, some take it home…after awhile, I’m glad it’s gone,” Flores said with a chuckle.
Flores’ ways are in-line with what registered dietitian Ashley Larsen recommends. She said most of the food — the turkey, the stuffing, etc. — is good for up to four days.
That timeline is shortened if the food isn’t wrapped tightly, or isn’t in a tight-lid container.
“Bacteria still does grow in the refrigerator. So, the longer the food is in the refrigerator, the more bacteria will grow on that food,” Larsen said.
Keeping it beyond four days increases the likelihood of foodborne illnesses to develop inside the food, with many having harmful effects.
“E. coli, salmonella, any kind of stomach flu virus that causes the gastrointestinal upset. [That means] nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, no fun,” Larsen said.
Another general reminder for food: if you reheat your food and keep it out, move it back into the refrigerator within two hours since bacteria grows rapidly at room temperature.
You can keep it out longer if you’re keeping it warm.