How long does cooked turkey last in the fridge?
Christmas Day has come and gone for another year, and that can only mean one thing: you’ve been left with an excessive amount of leftover turkey from the previous year. You might have exhausted some of the tried and true leftover dishes, which range from incorporating it into a curry to just serving it in turkey sandwiches. And you may be wondering, ‘how long does cook turkey last in the fridge?’ In this article, we compile all of the information you could need to help you store the leftover turkey to enjoy it at your convenience.
How long can you keep a cooked turkey fresh in the refrigerator?
Generally speaking, cold, cooked turkey meat can last in the refrigerator for up to four days, but use your best judgment when storing it.
If you intend on reheating your turkey, you must exercise additional caution. Never reheat leftovers more than once since this might give the ideal habitat for germs to flourish and generate poisons. The bacteria will be killed if the meat is heated beyond 75°C a second or third time, but this method will not destroy the poisons.
If you want to consume the leftovers cold, you should only remove what you need from the fridge since storing the turkey at room temperature for extended periods might stimulate the growth of harmful germs.
Can you keep the cooked turkey in the freezer for a long period?
Although there is no time restriction on how long you may freeze turkey, the Food Standards Agency suggests that you consume it within 3-6 months after freezing it. After this period, the food will still be safe to consume, but the taste and texture may have deteriorated.
You may refreeze cooked leftovers if you have previously defrosted the turkey and then cooked it. However, the NHS recommends that raw meat that has been defrosted should never be refrozen again, even if it was previously defrosted and then cooked.
- Ideally, it would be best to freeze cooked turkey leftovers as soon as possible after eating them — the fresher the meat is when placed in the freezer, the fresher the meat will be when it is removed from the freezer.
- The turkey, on the other hand, must first be fully chilled. When storing cooked meats in the refrigerator, they must be cooled to 21°C within two hours after cooking to avoid bacteria development.
- However, you should chill the meat before freezing so that the fridge temperature does not increase and endanger the safety of other foods stored in the refrigerator.
- If you decide to freeze leftovers, be sure that you wrap them correctly since improperly wrapped food might lose moisture. This may result in what is known as “freezer burn,” which causes the food to become dry and tough. While the food will still be safe to eat, it may not taste as nice as it did when you first prepared it.
It is also important to remember that after you defrost cooked leftovers you should consume them within 24 hours and you should not refreeze them. If you are storing turkey leftovers, it makes sense to freeze them in your desired portion sizes so that you can thaw what you need to use when you are ready to eat them.
How Should Leftover Turkey Be Stored?
Cover it loosely with aluminum foil as the cooked meat cools to prevent any airborne germs from falling on it.
It is best to wrap it entirely or chop it up and store it in a food storage container before placing it in the refrigerator when it has cooled.
It should not be stored beneath or adjacent to raw meat since the juices from the raw meat might contaminate it.
Use caution while handling raw meat, and wash your hands well before touching it. Chop on a clean cutting board that has not been in contact with raw meat every time you prepare it. Always re-wrap the turkey before putting it back in the refrigerator, and don’t leave it out of the fridge for an extended period between uses.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of freezing leftovers
Frozen turkey leftovers have a significantly longer shelf life than fresh turkey leftovers, according to most experts, since frozen chicken is theoretically safe to consume forever. It is normally advisable to eat it within three to four months, if for no other reason than to ensure that the flavor is retained. Turkey frozen for more than four months tends to dry out and lose its taste, and it is typically difficult and unappealing to consume as a result.
Freezing is frequently the most effective means of storing large amounts of turkey, as well as “combination” dishes that incorporate meat parts — such as soups, stews, and casseroles — over the holiday season. Before storing your food in containers, it is generally a good idea to put the date on the containers to make it easier to recall precisely how long they have been frozen.
How can you seal cooked ground turkey to keep it fresh for longer?
If you want your meaty food to stay fresh longer and be safe for your stomach, you must keep it properly packed and sealed in the refrigerator. If you put it in the fridge unprotected for a few days, don’t expect it to be edible after that.
For this reason, if you need to store your cooked ground turkey for a longer period and you want to either refrigerate or freeze it, follow these simple packaging instructions:
When storing it in the refrigerator, store the turkey meat in a shallow, airtight box with a tight-fitting lid. As an alternative, you may use heavy-duty aluminum foil or plastic wrap intended for use in the food packaging industry.
To store it for a lengthy period, put your cooked ground turkey in an airtight container and cover it. Alternatively, one of those heavy-duty freezer bags might be used as a substitute. In addition, you may use a wrap that is particularly meant for use in the freezer.
So, now you know the fundamentals of storing cooked ground turkey at home. We informed you how long this beef would keep in the fridge and freezer and packed it for longer storage.