Thanksgiving has come and gone and Christmas is on its way. By now, your November 25th leftovers are gone and December 25th will be here soon enough. You don't want a repeat of the 2020 fridge fiasco.

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My rule of thumb has always been that leftovers are good for a week. I've been told by people that I trust that seven days is too long to leave in the fridge, so that gives me a good reason to eat my food faster. So what can be done to help keep your food fresh during the holidays...or any other time for that matter.

The Right Temperature For Your Refrigerator

According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, you should refrigerate your food at 40 degrees. Is your refrigerator set at the right temperature? Do you even have a refrigerator thermometer?

If you are like me and don't have a refrigerator thermometer, then get a food thermometer and put it in the warmest part of your refrigerator. Keep it in there for 24 hours, then check it. If it reads higher than 40 degrees, then adjust your control dial.

Even after you make this adjustment, other factors can affect the temperature inside your refrigerator. It's the holiday season, so it's easy to fill the fridge full. If your refrigerator is 3/4 full, that can affect the temperature and cause your food to spoil faster.

If you have kids then you know that they love to open the refrigerator door every time they pass by. That will affect the temperature inside the fridge. Especially during the holidays, you'll have a tendency to put hot food in the refrigerator multiple times. That will also lower the temp in the fridge.

Leftover Refrigerator Tips

If you have poultry, raw meat, or seafood, put it in a pan on the bottom shelf. That way the juices from the meat won't drip down onto the other food. Here's another thing to be aware of.

When we get together for Christmas, we have a tendency to leave our food out for hours. That way everyone has a chance to enjoy their food throughout the day. You should put the leftovers in the refrigerator within 2 hours of cooking. I had to read that twice, "within 2 hours of COOKING."

Finally, you should divide your leftovers into the small, shallow containers in your refrigerator, that way it'll cool quicker. Then cover your food when it is cooled.

Food and Drug Administrative Hotline

If you have any questions, you can contact the FDA's Food Safety Information Hotline at 1-8888-SAFEFOOD (1-888-723-3366)

If you don't have enough room in your refrigerator, it could that you have food in your fridge that doesn't belong. Are any of these items in there?

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