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How To Store Leftover Turkey And Lower Food Waste This Thanksgiving

Roast turkey is the traditional centrepiece for thanksgiving which also makes it one of the largest components of food waste during the special period. However, a good way to reduce this is through “pressure canning,” a simple process that can preserve leftover turkey for up to a year!

By Cookist

Although it only lasts for a short while, Thanksgiving is a revered period as it brings people together to share warmth and memories from the year. One of the traditional ways to experience thanksgiving is with your friends and family gathered around a huge dining table for a filling meal of roast turkey and accompanying sides.

If you are celebrating thanksgiving this way then you surely have huge quantities of turkey leftover. But, did you know that about 200 million pounds of turkey get tossed out during thanksgiving? Instead of adding to the statistics or restricting yourself to a week of turkey dishes, try pressure canning the leftovers.

What You Need To Know About Pressure Canning Leftover Turkey


Pressure canned turkey can be used in any recipe that requires turkey including soups, stews, salads, sandwiches, casseroles and many others. Even better, the turkey can last a whole year while pressure canned!

Although it can be a tedious process, with the right skills, you can start pressure canning turkey right away – just ensure that you have enough to carry it out safely and completely. It is essential that you maintain an optimum level of hygiene and carefully follow all the necessary steps during the canning process to prevent the canned meat from spoilage.

You can preserve all parts of the turkey, but some prefer dark turkey meat over white meat because the former are fattier, more flavorful, don’t dry out easily and therefore, withstand canning better. However, if you want to ensure maximum flavour even months of being pressure canned, try simmering the meat in broth with the bones, herbs, and aromatics.


After the canning process, you can keep the storage jars in a cool place. While refrigeration is also possible, storing it in a cool place in your kitchen will help optimise your fridge space for other food items as the holiday season rolls around the corner.


Pressure-canned turkey will last a long time but ensure that you check that the meat is still safe for consumption before use. Check for:

A pungent smell is the first sign of spoilageExcessive discoloration Foaming

Lastly, remember that once opened, canned turkey must be refrigerated to avoid spoilage.

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