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How to keep holiday leftovers from overwhelming your refrigerator

With the holidays, it’s all too easy to let food pile up and take over your fridge. Between what’s already in there and all those extra ingredients for more holiday dishes, a thawing turkey or ham, and then the leftovers can be a recipe for disaster!

With the holidays, it’s all too easy to let food pile up and take over your fridge. Between what’s already in there and all those extra ingredients for more holiday dishes, a thawing turkey or ham, and then the leftovers can be a recipe for disaster!

Consumer Reports suggests you do a little organizing in your refrigerator.

Adjust your shelves to accommodate the foods you’ll need to store.

  • On the top shelf you’ll want to keep ready-to-eat food, things like prepped salads and desserts.
  • The middle shelf is your prepared-dish zone, basically for any food that’s prepped, covered, and ready to be heated.
  • Place anything you don’t want to come into contact with food on the other shelves.

Place a thawing turkey or ham or any other raw meats on the bottom shelf. This prevents them from dripping or getting into your already prepared foods. Save the less-perishable items like relishes and cranberry sauce for the side shelves.

What about all of those inevitable leftovers? Consumer Reports has a strategy for those, too.

  • Break down the leftovers into meal-sized portions and store them in shallow, covered containers.
  • Plan to freeze anything you won’t eat in three to four days.
  • To preserve freshness and the quality of food, you really want to keep things airtight, so use products dedicated for that, like freezer bags.

Consumer Reports says if you find yourself short on fridge space, use a cooler for some last-minute storage. You can use it for drinks to leave more room in the fridge for other holiday meal items.