Quick Tip: Freeze Those Thanksgiving Leftovers!


By: , SparkPeople Blogger

I love Thanksgiving leftovers! The trouble is that if I leave them in the fridge for long, I'll eat them. All of them. I don't want to be tempted by all that rich, delicious food lying around, but I don't want to waste any of it either.

So how do I compromise? By freezing my Thanksgiving leftovers.

Here's a quick guide to storing and freezing your leftovers:
  • Place leftover food in shallow, air-tight, appropriately-sized containers.
  • Label all containers with the contents and date.
  • Don't freeze a variety of foods together. Divide foods into single portions, if desired, but thawing and reheating is easier if you don't have turkey, dressing and potatoes in the same container.

    How long will it last?

    Turkey meat: (bones removed) up to 6 months

    Stuffing: up to 3 months

    Soups and broth: up to 3 months (freeze in muffin tins or ice cube trays first, then place in plastic freezer bags for easier thawing)

    Cranberry sauce: up to 3 months (thaw slightly and serve as sorbet)

    Vegetables (blanched): up to a year (boil briefly in salted water, then plunge in ice water. Drain well and freeze.)

    Pies: up to 3 months

    Great idea: Thaw out that food at Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa!

    What do you do with your Thanksgiving leftovers?

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  • SLLEE1961
    Thank you for the idea. - 11/19/2010   6:00:38 PM
  • 122
    I also make turkey soup with the carcass and freeze it as well. It's so nice to fill the house with the smell of turkey come January and February! - 11/28/2009   1:04:17 PM
    I give lots of leftovers to my kids to take home and i'm still left with alot. I make some dinners, soup, turkey pot pies ( freeze well), turkey salad & wraps. - 11/28/2009   10:09:11 AM
  • 120
    Will homemade noodles freeze well? - 11/28/2009   7:02:00 AM
  • 119
    After dinner I packed up some for my folks and hubby and I immediately took the rest of the leftovers to the freezer. We packaged up about 6 individual dinners. My husband and my teen son are planning on eating them sometime later on. - 11/27/2009   8:26:50 PM
    I send lots home with my kids, for lunches and one big meal, make soup out of the carcass, and freeze the rest for later. - 11/27/2009   11:40:11 AM
  • 117
    I can't eat left overs ( I can't digest the reheated meat) So this Thanksgiving I am taking the leftovers to a senior friend in a wheel chair who doesn't cook very good meals for herself. ( I invited her to the my house but she wouldn't come) This way she has a good meal and all she has to do is pop it in the microwave. - 11/24/2009   2:04:50 AM
  • 116
    We celebrated Thanksgiving with our family early this year and there were a lot of changes. I made healthier versions of all the traditional family dishes, including Chef Meg's apple cider gravy and cranberry sauce. Then after dinner I lined up all the leftovers. buffet style, and gave everybody divided plates to make up meals to take home. I made a set for DH and I and froze them for us to eat on Thanksgiving Day - when we will be busy packing to leave on vacation. Everybody loved the idea and have no temptations in the fridge! - 11/22/2009   9:47:51 AM
    Wonderful tips for the future--maybe Christmas because I am not cooking this Thanksgiving. Let us give thanks. - 11/22/2009   8:29:42 AM
  • 114
    I strip the turkey and boil the bones for soup as I package the leftovers into ready to eat meal portions that the SO can take for lunch or reheat for dinner. i then make turkey soup ( we love all kinds of soup) and package in 4 cup containers(Ziplock or Glad bowls or containers) and refrigerate or freeze. Nothing goes to waste. Lefover veggies can go into the soup too. I have had to learn to cook smaller since the kids are all gone but I love to cook and I am lucky my boyfriend(SO) likes leftovers! - 11/21/2009   10:24:52 AM
    I love freezing leftovers. If I run out of time getting ready for work, I just grab a container and go. - 12/6/2008   11:51:15 AM
    This is an awesome set of life change contains.There are so many things I can do with these items to help in my weight/food control portion.I would love to have this set.Thanks - 12/5/2008   5:16:58 AM
  • 6FLAGS
    This would be a great win. This can help a lot with portion control. - 12/5/2008   12:55:01 AM
  • 110
    It is usually only my immediate family for Thanksgiving so I try to make just enough for what we will eat that day. Then I freeze the leftover turkey so I can make sandwiches for lunches. - 12/4/2008   10:50:22 PM
  • 109
    I put my leftovers on ziplock bags. Just enough for two. Pull out a bag of turkey, one of stuffing and one of vegies and dinner will be done in a flash. - 12/4/2008   8:22:01 PM
    I like this idea because every year we have more food and more people and everyone brings a dish and then it is left all to me. So freezing everything individually and in single portions is alot easier and safer to store. On top of everyting you don't over indulge. - 12/4/2008   2:31:02 PM
  • KYM0731
    The tips are very helpful but I got lucky this year, I have no leftovers to deal with!!!!! - 12/4/2008   10:24:40 AM
    I love dressing so, when I do cook it on a holiday I use a spatula to cut it in small block servings and then freeze it...This year I had no baggies had to hunt up a store to buy some to freeze in...I would love to win the storage container because I really can not squeeze the cost into my budget to purchase them at this time. - 12/4/2008   9:35:29 AM
  • 105
    Better yet, give them to someone else who needs the food. It's a sad condition where so many are starving and we on this site are doing everything to either not eat as much and live healthier. So buy healthier, less filling foods and make them last in the freezer. Thanksgiving turkey is a once a year treat.....and yes, a time to enjoy a big meal....but it is ultimately about giving thanks. - 12/4/2008   8:59:54 AM
  • 104
    It never occurred to me before I read this that I could freeze holiday meal leftovers. Truthfully, before I joined Sparkpeople back in April, there were no leftovers because I would just eat, eat, eat until everything was gone. Thanks for the great advice! - 12/4/2008   8:47:24 AM
  • 103
    freezing pies is great, did you know you can also freeze just the pumpkin?! i love to add fresh pumpkin to all kinds of baking items. you just cook it, leave it cubed or mash it and put it in the freezer! - 12/4/2008   8:03:12 AM
  • RSLACH10
    I would LOVE to win these containers...or get them from Santa, HINT, HINT!! - 12/4/2008   7:38:07 AM
    Great idea for the Cranberry sauce. - 12/4/2008   7:22:39 AM
  • 100
    My kitchen plastics are a jumble!

    These look GREAT, and the holiday time is a perfect time to have that extra storage! - 12/4/2008   12:20:12 AM
  • 99
    this looks great! - 12/3/2008   11:16:08 PM
    I love to make extra and freeze for later. - 12/3/2008   11:03:16 PM
    Freeze what I can and make casseroles. - 12/3/2008   9:11:04 PM
  • 96
    What we do is when everyone leaves, we go ahead an freeze what we will not eat within 12 hours. This keeps us limited on food access(because usually we have ALOT of food). It has worked so far....Christmas will be the final exam. - 12/3/2008   9:09:00 PM
  • 95
    I try to give away the leftovers...send them home with my kids. My husband will eat the leftover turkey for a while...what's left after a few days gets tossed! - 12/3/2008   9:04:16 PM
    Holiday leftovers are the best. And they are yummy for lunches too. - 12/3/2008   8:38:34 PM
  • 93
  • 92
    i love leftovers esp. the turkey and stuffings. YUMMY! - 12/3/2008   5:44:20 PM
  • TEACH77B
    I love leftovers -- but had to eat them the next day, the next day, the next day -- so the fit & fresh sound great to me! Hope I win! - 12/3/2008   5:35:15 PM
    Lucky me...no leftovers to store; I gave them all away as planned - 12/3/2008   5:24:35 PM
  • 89
    Maybe my family is just too big, but we hardly have leftovers. When we do, I just seperate them and send them home with different family members. - 12/3/2008   3:18:38 PM
    I found the best thing I could do was sent most of the left over home with others. It kept me from being tempted to eat things I should be eating! - 12/3/2008   2:37:40 PM
    Use the leftover turkey,gravy and veggies every year to make a "pot pie" that I top with the dressing.Freeze that for a quick ,don't want to cook, meal.The family likes that more than the dinner and it is easier to clean up - 12/3/2008   2:20:16 PM
  • 86
    Divide those left over's amoung the guest. Let those working people who take there lunch make sandwiches right then and there or fix individual containers of food for lunch time. Prepare new soups and cassroles and take to a shut-in or ellderly person in your neighbor or church. Share. Share. Share. - 12/3/2008   1:35:57 PM
  • 85
    Thank you for this great information! It is economical info both on the hips and in the pocketbook! - 12/3/2008   12:53:05 PM
  • 84
    I sent everything home with family members except dinner the next day and ham slices for my hubbie which I froze already. That took care of any after Thanksgiving munchies. - 12/3/2008   12:51:56 PM
  • 83
    That is a great idea!!! - 12/3/2008   12:17:07 PM
  • 82
    My mom made me two plates to take home for later. I have already eaten them :( I guess I will freeze the Christmas leftovers. LOL! - 12/3/2008   11:58:51 AM
  • 81
    Thanks for the info. We have allways had large dinners and now we have less people and I still cook for a crowd. - 12/3/2008   11:46:49 AM
  • 80
    Thanks for the information. I always feel bad when all that food gets wasted because it has gone bad. Great ideas to save the turkey for later when the turkey burn out has worn off! - 12/3/2008   11:00:52 AM
    Great info. Thanks. - 12/3/2008   8:37:53 AM
  • 78
    I always cook too much for my Thanksgiving dinner then I don't know what to do with my leftovers...THANKS for the great tips! - 12/2/2008   8:05:15 PM
  • 77
    Great info - I didn't fix that much this year so there were not a lot of leftovers - except the low cal pumpkin pie that was left in the fridge - oops! - 12/2/2008   7:58:05 PM
    These are great ideas, luckily we do not host Thanksgiving at our house yet (both sets of parents are in town) so we get to pick and choose our leftovers! - 12/2/2008   7:02:41 PM
  • 75
    We ate everything up this year, but I appreciate the tips! - 12/2/2008   4:44:59 PM
  • 74
    Good idea to freeze them, but I prefer not to have any leftovers so I send them home with guests and have started cooking smaller quantities. - 12/2/2008   3:57:58 PM

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