Because leftovers only remain safe to eat for four days, you’re going to want to eat up all your turkey, stuffing and gravy by Monday.
(The importance of Thanksgiving leftovers as immortalized in pop culture by Friends Moistmaker episode)
Ideally, you should freeze all leftovers as soon as possible, but if you throw the rest in freezer-safe bags or containers, it will be good to eat for another six months.
Actually, food technically remains safe to eat forever if it’s frozen, it just loses flavor and moisture.
The USDA wrote these guidelines for safely reheating stored leftovers:
- When reheating leftovers, be sure they reach 165° F. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the food. Reheat sauces, soups and gravies by bringing them to a rolling boil. Cover leftovers to reheat. This retains moisture and ensures that food will heat all the way through.
- Thaw frozen leftovers safely in the refrigerator, cold water or the microwave oven. When thawing leftovers in a microwave, continue to heat it until it reaches 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer.
- Any leftover “leftovers” thawed by the cold water method or in the microwave should be reheated to 165 °F before refreezing.
- In a real hurry? It is safe to reheat frozen leftovers without thawing, either in a saucepan or microwave (in the case of a soup or stew) or in the oven or microwave (for example, casseroles and combination meals). Reheating will take longer than if the food is thawed first, but it is safe to do when time is short.
I don’t know about you, but I certainly never knew to reheat my sauces to a full boil…oops.
Make sure to occasionally stir foods when microwaving them, because foods won’t heat evenly (especially if you don’t have a turntable) and cold spots will develop in which bacteria hasn’t been properly killed.
Many stoves choose to end their life right around the time you’ve finally finished thawing, brining, trussing and stuffing that huge bird on Thanksgiving morning.
Now your oven very well might be dead, but sometimes you just need to give it the ol’ Fonzie treatment.
Now, I’m not actually suggesting you punch your juke, er…range; but try shutting off your circuit or unplugging your appliance for 20 minutes. It’s always the first advice I give customers before we attempt service — and it’s worked before! Best case scenario, you’re back in business once you plug it back in or reset the circuit.
If you have a gas range and the cooktop is working but the oven isn’t, flip the regulator switch (which automatically cuts off the flow of gas at a certain pressure).
If you’re still getting an error code or the unit is still dead, you’re probably going to need service. You can call us on Friday at 651-222-0011 (opt. 4).
But at least you tried. In a pinch, fire up the grill.
Not sure how to regain a clean stove after all that Thanksgiving cooking? Cleaning stove tops can be a pain, but consider that dirty cooking surfaces don’t reflect heat as well, meaning that you waste energy and compromise performance when using a messy stove.
Instead, try these useful stove cleaning tips that have worked for me.
When cleaning a smooth top stove, first use a razor blade (yes, I’m serious) to gently scrape off any burnt on food residue. Sometimes smooth top stoves burners discolor with time, but I’ve found that Mr. Clean Magic Eraser works well to fade dark stains. Apply cooktop cleaner (which we sell for about $5 at all Warners’ Stellian stores) with a soft rag or paper towel for general cleaning. Cooktop cleaner also gives a nice, smooth finish to glass- and ceran-top stoves you can’t get from soap and water, sorry!
To clean a gas stove top — like I have at home — remove all grates and burner caps to the sink and simply use soap and water to clean. I scrub off all the food residue that ends up around the burners by sprinkling on some Barkeeper’s Friend and rubbing it off with a moistened towel. Again, the discolorations (I have a white stove) are removed by Magic Eraser and some elbow grease.
The most important tip I have for cleaning gas stoves, though, is properly replacing the now-clean burner caps, as misplacement could cause stove lighting issues.
Any other good tips on how to clean a stove top?
Those who spent a little extra to get convection in their oven will breathe a little easier while preparing for Thanksgiving.
Convection basically uses a fan to circulate warm air, eliminating hot spots and cooking foods faster and more evenly.
What does this mean for Thanksgiving cooking?
- The turkey’s done quicker, which is huge for those eating earlier in the day.
- No need to baste or cover the turkey. Convection ovens quickly sear in the juices, so use foil only if the turkey is browning too quickly.
- Cook several dishes at a time. Convection ensures air circulates among all racks.
Dacor posted a fabulous resource of frequently asked questions and tips concerning turkey and holiday cooking, especially for convection ovens and convection microwaves.
For instance, ever been stuck with a partially defrosted turkey (the skin, legs and wings are defrosted and can move freely, but there are still some ice crystals and the inside of the turkey’s cavity is still hard) on Thanksgiving morning? Dacor suggests using its convection setting at 150°F for approximately 8-11 minutes per pound to defrost the turkey.
Visit Dacor’s FAQ page to see more info on brining, how many pies an oven can really fit and how to use your convection microwave to cook a casserole (aren’t you glad you bought that?).