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The holiday season is here and people have begun to celebrate these festive occasions with family and friends. Since food is usually part of the activities, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System wants to provide some tips for proper storage of leftover food from the holiday menu.

Storage Prep for the Holidays

Preparation should begin two weeks prior to holiday dinners.

  • Identify foods in the refrigerator and freezer that can be cooked and utilized to free up space. Freeing up space will allow sufficient storage for holiday groceries.
  • Be sure to properly thaw turkey or meats needed for holiday dinners. Then when the holiday meal is over there is enough space to store leftovers.

Label Leftovers for the Freezer

When food is removed from its original packaging, it’s always a good idea to label the containers.

  • Leftovers can be used for up to nine months depending on the items. Labeling the leftovers before freezing will help to easily identify foods. These leftovers can also be incorporated into healthy meals throughout the year.
  • Use a sharpie marker and write directly on a plastic container. Paper labels may become loose after months of freezing. Remember to include the name of the food items, the packaged date, and the date to use by. Any special cooking instructions should be added as well.

Freeze Holiday Gravy or Stocks

Prepared gravies or stocks can be used for meals throughout the year.

  • Leftover gravies or stocks can be poured into ice trays and put in the freezer to freeze. Once frozen, place in a labeled plastic bag.
  • Defrost, heat and add gravy or stock to other meals as needed.

Visit www.aces.edu for more information on how to handle, store or use holiday leftovers.

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