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How to keep your Thanksgiving leftovers tasting great

No matter what you serve for your traditional Thanksgiving dinner, it’s a pretty sure bet you’ll have lots and lots of delicious leftovers. Here are a few tips from your friends at Box Appliance to help you keep those tasty morsels fresh and safe long after you and your guests have had their fill.

While leftover foods shouldn’t be put in the refrigerator while still hot (condensation can form in the container and drip around the food, making it less appetizing next time around, and the excess heat from the food forces even a luxury refrigerator to work harder), it’s important to chill foods most likely to spoil as quickly as possible — turkey or other meats, as well as gravies and sauces, should be refrigerated within two hours after cooking. And if you’ve stuffed the turkey, be sure to remove all remaining stuffing from the cavity and refrigerate it in a tightly covered container.

If that turkey still has lots of meat, you can slice the remaining white meat off the bone, wrap the slices tightly in foil, and place in the cooling compartment in a tightly sealed container for snacking and sandwiches or turkey Tetrazzini. You can also freeze turkey breast for three to four months and enjoy a succulent turkey sandwich then. Turkey legs and thighs also freeze well, wrapped tightly in foil to prevent air circulation around the meat, and stored in large freezer bags.  (Although the frozen cooked meat will be safe to eat longer than a few months, it might lose flavor and texture after repeated freeze-defrost cycles.)

For foods that are less prone to bacterial contamination, such as cooked solid vegetables like carrots or squash, rapid refrigeration is less important. Be sure to store everything in tightly sealed containers to prevent transfer of flavor and odors inside the refrigerator. Even though your Sub Zero refrigerator is designed to minimize such flavor transfer, a lightly covered or poorly sealed container can allow strong or pungent odors to move throughout the interior compartment. So, be sure to check the seals before placing foods in the refrigerator. You don’t want to be surprised by putting a dollop of garlicky whipped cream on that last slice of pumpkin pie!

And keep in mind that not everything must be refrigerated, even in warm California. Most pies (except cream pies, of course) can safely be left in a pie safe or on a counter for a few days, especially during cooler autumn temperatures or in an air-conditioned kitchen. The high sugar content of fruit pies makes them resistant to bacteria, and honestly, cold pie doesn’t taste nearly as good as leftover pie that’s at room temperature or even warmed in the oven to refresh the crust and fruit flavors.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our Box Appliance customers throughout southern California and the Bay Area. We are grateful for your business and the opportunity to serve all your luxury appliance service needs throughout the year.