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Tips for safely storing and reheating all those leftovers

Friday - 11/29/2013, 5:03am  ET

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Properly storing and reheating Thanksgiving leftovers is key to enjoying every last morsel. (WTOP/Amanda Iacone)

WASHINGTON - First came the feast. Then came all those leftovers.

A lot of refrigerators are stuffed -- excuse the pun -- the morning after Thanksgiving with all kinds of remnants of the big holiday meal.

Storing all that food properly is important. WebMD recommends using shallow containers, about two inches deep, and to make sure the refrigerator -- which was opened and closed a lot on Thanksgiving Day -- is kept at 34 to 40 degrees.

Most food that is refrigerated within two hours of cooking is safe to eat throughout the long holiday weekend.

Turkey, vegetables and casseroles like candied yams should be eaten within three to four days max. Use up stuffing and gravy within a day or two. And all those refrigerated pies should be finished by Sunday, if they last that long.

Anything that is not eaten by that "expiration date" should be tossed. And anyone with a lot of leftovers might want to pop anything that is not going to be eaten within four days in the freezer.

It is also important to properly reheat any refrigerated leftovers. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics -- which represents food and nutrition professionals -- says to reheat all leftovers to 165 degrees, and to bring refrigerated gravy to a steady boil on the stove before serving.

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