Thanksgiving is a lovely time of year—there are holiday traditions, warm fires, and of course, delicious food. One of the staples of Thanksgiving is the yummy stuffed turkey but more often than not, we still have plenty of leftovers at the end of the night. What should be done about preserving these leftovers?
This is a common problem faced by many after all, turkeys are a large dish, and we’re often unable to finish all that food in one meal! Many would like to know if there is a way to preserve it so they can eat it later, since throwing it out will be a complete waste.
You’ll be happy to know that it is possible to freeze cooked turkey! It’s quite simple, but there are a few things you need to know about before attempting to stick your turkey in the fridge, such as where to put it and for how long.
Can You Freeze Cooked Turkey?
Before putting your turkey in the freezer, make sure it’s not spoilt—this could leave a nasty smell in your fridge. Unpreserved turkey will last two days before spoiling.
When you freeze the turkey, there’s a chance it will dry out—don’t worry! We’ll address this problem in the next section.
Frozen turkey usually lasts up to three months, but it’s good to eat the turkey before then, and even use them in cooking other dishes!
Freezer burn can also happen to your turkey, so it’s best to keep the turkey in a sealed container to avoid this from happening.
If you’re the type who likes to stay organized, weighing and labeling each bag of turkey is a good idea—saves you the time of having to measure your leftovers later on.
Lastly, make sure your turkey is placed in the correct section of the refrigerator—the freezer is your best bet, but if you’d like to use it soon, the middle shelf is also good.
How to Freeze Cooked Turkey
So, with all that settled, let’s dive in and see how exactly to freeze up that turkey!
- Start with separating your turkey meat from the turkey bones. This ensures the even freezing of the item and makes it less of a hassle to separate later.
- Place turkey bones and meat in separate bags and label accordingly. If you’d like, weigh these beforehand so you know how much of each item there is.
- If you’re worried about your turkey drying out, pour a little bit of chicken broth into the bag. This allows your turkey to retain moisture and remain juicy and delicious even after weeks!
- Seal the bag up tightly. If you’re not using re-sealable bags, make sure to seal the bag and check for any holes. You don’t want your turkey to get freezer burn, do you?
- Finally, place the labeled and sealed bag in the freezer.
And you’re done! Turkey preserved like this usually lasts up to three months, so be sure to keep that in mind when you want to use the turkey.
Cooked Turkey Recipes
So what can you do with that turkey after it’s preserved? Well, there are plenty of recipes online you can make with all that leftover turkey! Here’s one for a homey turkey noodle soup:
Another dish you can make is the turkey noodle casserole, a yummy dish with creamy white sauce, pasta, cheese, and veggies! Here’s the easy recipe:
A great way to use leftover turkey is to use it in a scrumptious turkey and leek pie! This dish is filled with healthy leeks, bacon, and has a crunchy and delicious puff pastry. The recipe can be found here:
Yes, you can freeze cooked turkey. Frozen cooked turkey will last for 4-6 months in the freezer if stored properly. If you want to reheat it, there are two options: you can use a stovetop or microwave oven. Freezing also preserves texture which means that your frozen meal will taste just as good after being heated up again. Follow these steps for freezing cooked turkey: remove the meal from heat, allow it to cool down before putting it in the freezer bag, make sure you push out all of the air while sealing tightly (to avoid freezer burn), store properly, and label the bag with today’s date.
Let me know if you plan to freeze your cooked turkey in the comment section below. I love hearing from you!