Experts say safely put away leftovers this holiday season

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Karen Willis is visiting family for Thanksgiving. But leftovers aren't being eaten around the house until she's sure they were put away correctly.

"We sealed it up. When we got ready to eat again, we made sure it was heated at the right temperature."

Medical experts said Willis did the right thing. She sealed up her leftovers and made sure the food was put away correctly before reheating it. But many people don't and they said that's not a chance you want to take on Thanksgiving food.

Liz Weinandy, RD, Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, said," They've got protein, they've got moisture. These are prime foods for bacterial growth."

So how can you keep leftovers safe and make sure you don't get sick? Experts said one way; make sure you store foods like gravy and stuffing separate from the turkey.

Weinandy said, "Also make sure you're getting your food items into shallow dishes. Ideally two inches or less."

Willis said she knows; when in doubt, don't eat leftovers cold.

"I know it has to be a certain temperature. Germs can grow. You should heat it up. You really should heat it up."

Experts said ideally, you want to use your turkey with 3-4 days. Gravy and stuffing will last one to two days. Other food items, like vegetables, will usually last a week.