Together, honey-baked ham and roasted turkey breast make a crowd-pleasing team at formal dinners as well as casual get-togethers. Once the crowd is fed and leftovers remain, the impulse of many hostesses is to cover the food and put it in the refrigerator. This is a good move if you're planning to use the leftovers within a few days. But if your palate needs a rest from this dynamic duo, consider freezing the food for later use.
Wrap the leftovers in airtight freezer containers or in plastic wrap first and then in aluminum foil. This double layer of protection prevents white patches of freezer burn from forming on the food, a particular risk if you wrap the food in plastic only and then it becomes unfolded in the freezer. Alternatively, use plastic bags made especially for the freezer and ensure that you close the zipper seal completely.
Segregate the honey-baked ham from the roasted turkey breast rather than package them together. This move spares you additional separation work later since ham is good for 1 to 2 months in the freezer while turkey is good for up to 9 months.
Consider breaking down the ham and turkey leftovers into individual portions. Or, if you have a recipe in mind for, say, turkey tetrazzini, segregate the amount of turkey you will need to make that dish. Doing so makes it easier for you to grab what you need from the freezer and press the food into action. Many airtight plastic containers, for example, can go directly from the freezer to the microwave.
Label your leftovers clearly. Indicate the contents, storage date and your intended use for the food to reduce later guesswork.
Give your wrapped leftovers a little breathing room in the freezer. Stacking is OK as long as cold air can circulate around the food. Ensure that your freezer is set at zero degrees Fahrenheit -- the proper temperature at which to keep food frozen.
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Guidelines For Refreezing
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Basics for Handling Food Safely
- State of Massachusetts: Executive Office of Health and Human Services: Cooking and Storing Tips
- FoodSafety.gov: Freezing and Thawing
- Food Safety.gov: Storage Times for the Refrigerator and Freezer
- Betty Crocker: Tips for Freezing and Reheating Food
With education, health care and small business marketing as her core interests, M.T. Wroblewski has penned pieces for Woman's Day, Family Circle, Ladies Home Journal and many newspapers and magazines. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northern Illinois University.