Reduce Wasted Food this Holiday Season

The holidays can bring an abundance of food, and with it the potential for way too much food to be wasted. The average American does not eat 20% of the food she buys each year… and throws away 300 pounds of food! To make things worse, our food waste increases by a third over the holidays. There are three main ways to make sure your holidays do not contribute to the United States’ wasted food statistics.

Buy and prepare only as much food as you need. The more dishes served at a meal, the less of each you need. Check out the Guest-imator to calculate how much to make based on the number of eaters you have, what you serving, and how much leftovers you want. 

2. Store your ingredients well. Different types of dishes require  different storage conditions. You can find out how to store almost any kind of produce at, or download a printable guide.

3. Make a plan for using leftovers before they take a turn for the worse. Send guests home with containers packed with a selection of their favorites. Stock up on airtight containers and freezer bags and get the food into them within 2 hours of serving. For extra tips on how to minimize waste and maximize your food, check out 

Learn best practices for storing holiday leftovers in the table below.

Save the Leftovers: Tips on how, where and how long

Where     How
Mashed Potatoes   3-5 days  10-12 months   
Gravy   1-2 days   2-3 months Bring gravy to a full boil before serving.  Cream or milk-based gravies do not freeze well.
Stuffing    3-4 days  1 month Remove from turkey before cooling. 
Green Bean Casserole    3-5 days  Do not freeze.  
Yams    3-5 days  10-12 months  
Pumpkin/Squash Casseroles    2-3 days 2-3 months   
Macaroni & Cheese   2-3 days  2-3 months   
Cheese Balls   1-2 weeks  1-2 months   
Scalloped Potatoes   3-5 days  5-6 months   
Cornbread, Dinner Rolls 2-5 days  Do not refrigerate 2-3 months   Bread will become stale more quickly if refrigerated.
Deviled Eggs    3-5 days  Do not freeze  
Broccoli Casserole    1-2 days 1 month   
Corn Casserole    1-2 days  2-3 months  
Baked Potatoes    3-5 days  Do not freeze  
Cooked vegetables    3-5 days  12-18 months  
Salads    3-5 days Do not freeze   
Soups    3-4 days 2-3 months   
Cranberry Sauce 10-14 days 1-2 months Store in a plastic or glass container.
 Turkey 3-4 days 2-3 months Separate meat from bone before refrigerating or freezing.
 Ham 3-5 days  1-2 months Wrap in plastic wrap.
 Roast Meats  3-4 days 2-3 months Wrap in aluminum foil or freezer bag.
Pumpkin or Pecan Pie   3-4 days   1-2 months  Thaw in refrigerator.
Fruit Pie  2 days  2-3 days after pantry 1-2 months   
Cheesecake   5-7 days   6-8 months  
Cream, Custard, Chiffon, or Mousse Pie   2-4 days   Do not freeze  If frozen, fillings will separate.
Cookies 1-3 weeks  1-2 weeks   8-12 months  Store in layers of wax paper in an airtight container.
Pumpkin Rolls   5-7 days  1-2 months   Wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
Pound Cake  3-4 days  7 days  6 months  
Cupcakes 1-2 days   5-7 days 2-3 months   If frosted, do not leave out at room temperature.

Recipes for Leftovers

All Recipes: Thanksgiving Leftovers Recipes

Martha Stewart: Easy Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes

Taste of Home: 25 New Ideas for Thanksgiving Leftovers

Stale Food?

Do you think your food is past its prime? Check out these cool tips to revive carrots, greens, bread and more here!

We wish you a happy holiday full of fresh, eaten food! This content was brought to you by the food waste reduction campaign of the...

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