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Christmas Leftover Warnings & Tips

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Christmas Leftover Warnings & Tips

Christmas Leftover Warnings & Tips
December 25
15:24 2018

Christmas Day is a great day filled with family, presents and usually a feast fit for royalty. Families gather around a veritable banquet table with platters of turkey or ham, with various potato or sweet potato dishes, casseroles salads and desserts.

For half and hour to an hour, the family and friends stuffed themselves beyond what they should have eaten. It’s not uncommon to see men and women loosening their belts because of their over-filled bellies.

Even those that are on diets generally gorged themselves with the many tasty delights displayed before them. After all, it’s a major holiday, a time for celebration and time to splurge or indulge at least once, believing that tomorrow they’ll return to their diets and try to be good.

As everyone becomes drowsy from the feast or they are distracted by various activities, the food often sets out on the table or kitchen counters until later in the day.

As time permits, the food will be package and placed in the refrigerator to be consumed another time.

But, how long is it really safe to let that food set out before the possibility of undesired consequences?

I looked at a variety of sources and found that the average time cooked turkey should be allowed to set out is only about 2 hours. Anything longer increases the chances of the turkey becoming host to a whole number of pathogens, many of which can make one quite ill.

Like turkey, it’s recommended by a variety of sources to not let your cooked ham set out for more than 2 hours. Longer can yield same results as with turkey.

That 2 hours includes the time you take it out of the oven, slice it, serve it, and eat it, which generally is at least an hour, possibly more. Therefore, it’s best to put it away in the refrigerator as soon as possible.

Then comes the sometimes-dreaded question of what to do with the leftovers.

Here are a couple of suggestions that many people don’t consider.

When I cook a turkey, it is so tender that you cannot lift it out of the roaster. I carve as much of the meat off as possible, leaving the carcass, scraps of meat and dressing in the pan along with all of the drippings. I will break up the larger bones (especially the breast bone) and fill the roaster with water to about an inch from the top. Put it on the stove and bring it to a low boil for about a couple of hours. Then let cool just long enough to put my hands in and try to take out as many bones as possible and making sure all of the meat is off the bones. Then I take a soup ladle and ladle fill wide-mouthed quart mason jars to about an inch and half from the top. Then I place the jars, without lids in the freezer for at least 1 day and then put the lids on. Now you have jars of delicious turkey soup stock. When I do mine, the stock is fairly thick, so when I fix it into soup, I add about a jar and half of water to each jar of stock and then cook. Our favorite is to add wide egg noodles to the turkey soup (we prefer the Amish noodles as they have better taste, hold together better and fewer preservatives).

As for ham, well, what do you do with ham bone or sections where it is too difficult to slice for serving?

I cut off as much ham as possible and cube those pieces and place them and the bone in a soup pot and cook them up with a package of dry lentils or beans (navy, kidney, etc.). The lentils and beans are very healthy and a great supply of dietary fiber and proteins.

In our house, the only leftover turkey or ham that is discarded are the cleaned off bones but only after they’ve been cooked and cleaned.

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