What You Must Do Before Stashing Leftover Turkey In The Freezer

If you're anything like us, you're likely making plans for your Thanksgiving leftovers just as soon as your actual holiday meal. For some, the leftover concoctions are even more enjoyable than the Thanksgiving dinner plate, and we don't blame you. From simple classics, like a sandwich stacked high with shredded turkey and slathered with cranberry sauce, to a more labor-intensive but rewarding shepherd's pie, to a sweet carrot souffle for dessert, there are many original combinations for your holiday scraps. Even mixing up an alcoholic frozen cosmopolitan made of cranberry sauce is a worthy endeavor for any left-behind cranberry sauce. In short, there is no lack of equally creative and tasty combinations to try out after Thanksgiving has passed. 

However, if you are planning on stashing away your leftover turkey in the freezer and waiting on any immediate Thanksgiving leftover recipes, then there are a few things you should know. It is perfectly safe to store most turkey meat and turkey carcass in the freezer, however, there is a proper procedure to get the most out of your turkey in a few months' time. 

How to freeze leftover turkey

A properly stored turkey can be kept in the freezer for up to two years, according to the Butterball Turkey Talk Line via Better Homes & Gardens. That's a lot of time to come up with a plan for your leftovers. But, to avoid freezer burn and make your life easy down the road, there are a few important steps to take.

According to Taste of Home, if you're freezing the meat, it's best to first separate it from the bones and slice it up. This way it will defrost evenly when you're ready to use it. Another tip from the site is to add gravy to the meat before freezing. This will keep it moist through the freezing process. Also, don't throw out those bones! You can make homemade turkey stock with them. To freeze the bones, just simply toss them into a freezer bag and keep them in the freezer for up to two months.

And, if you happen to end up with an entire unused turkey on your hands, you can freeze that as well. According to Better Homes & Gardens, for safety purposes, the turkey must be unopened and not past its official "use-by" date prior to freezing. If you follow these tips, you're likely to thoroughly enjoy leftover turkey sandwiches or soups a few months after the holiday.