Can you freeze cooked turkey? How long can Christmas leftovers stay in the freezer – and how to freeze safely
Aim to reduce your food waste this holiday season by keeping your Christmas leftovers properly
If there’s one thing everyone looks forward to more than the big Christmas dinner, it’s tucking into the leftovers.
According to the Food Standards Agency (FSA), there are around 2.4 million cases of food poisoning in the UK each year, so it’s important that you know how to cook and store your food properly.
That’s what you need to know about freezing your leftover turkey – along with other classic Christmas foods.
Can I freeze cooked turkey?
It’s okay to have a lot of leftover Christmas feast, including turkey, but that doesn’t mean you have to throw out what’s left. Turkey keeps very well in the freezer.
The FSA says, âYou can freeze cooked turkey, other cooked meats, and cooked and frozen meat dishes.
âIt will be safe to eat for a long time, but you may see a deterioration in quality after three to six months. “
After thawing the cooked turkey meat, you should eat the leftovers within 24 hours.
The NHS says: ‘Never refreeze raw meat (including poultry) or fish that has been thawed.
âYou can cook frozen meat and fish after thawed and then refreeze them. You can refreeze cooked meat and fish once, as long as they have been cooled before freezing.
âIf in doubt, do not refreeze. “
What other Christmas foods can you freeze?
You might be surprised to learn that there are a lot of leftovers from your vacation that keep well in the freezer.
Classic Christmas dinner vegetables like potatoes, carrots, parsnips and Brussels sprouts that have been cooked can all be frozen.
If you have any leftover vegetables that weren’t cooked, you can blanch items like carrots, parsnips, and Brussels sprouts in boiling water for a few minutes before placing them in ice water. , cooled then frozen.
Leftover Christmas pudding shouldn’t be wasted – wrap your Christmas pudding in two layers of plastic wrap or foil, and you can freeze it for up to a year.
Other items that can be frozen include:
- eggs, including hard-boiled eggs
- Nuts and seeds
If you are not sure whether something can be frozen, consult the Love food Hate Garbage, which has a handy AZ list of foods and whether you can freeze them.
When freezing your leftovers, it is recommended that you divide them first so that you can easily thaw what you need, rather than defrosting everything and then having to throw away what you failed to use.
What is the difference between âbest beforeâ and âbest beforeâ dates?
When you buy food, you will notice that on the packaging there will either be a note saying “best before” and / or “eaten” and then a date.
The best before date is about quality – food is still safe to eat after this date, but it is no longer of the highest quality.
The expiration date is about safety, according to the FSA. Foods should not be eaten, cooked or frozen after the expiration date as they could be dangerous.
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