With Thanksgiving coming up, we want to answer some of the random cooking questions you may find yourself asking. I find myself spending way too much time on Thanksgiving googling silly questions like: how long do potatoes last? can you freeze leftover turkey? how much gravy per person? how much is a pat of butter? So we will answer them all for you and hopefully, let you spend more time with your family, being grateful…or drinking wine.
How Long Do Potatoes LAst?
Thanksgiving must include potatoes. Whether they are mashed, twice-baked, or just once baked- they are a must! However, when I do Thanksgiving dinner, I always make way too many potatoes! So at the end of the meal, I have tons of leftovers. So I need to know- how long do potatoes last? And can I freeze them?
Like all other vegetables, potatoes may last longer or shorter depending on different factors, including how fresh they are bought, how they were stored before selling, their type, and storage condition after you buy them. You may not have the answers to how fresh they are or how they were stored before you bought them, but you will know how you have been storing them.
Generally, potatoes may stay good 3-5 weeks in the pantry and 3-4 months in the fridge. That is actually way longer than I thought!
How To Store Potatoes
Potatoes sprout and shrink with humidity, heat, and light, so the best place to keep them is in a dry, dark place with the temperature to be 45-50 ℉, ideally in the cellar. We don’t have a cellar and we live in Arizona so nowhere is 45-50 degrees. So how long do potatoes last in the fridge?
Keeping potatoes in lower temperatures like the fridge can cause potatoes to get sweet as the starch converts to sugar. So they will then darken while frying or cooking. You shouldn’t keep them in the fridge. Potatoes will last between 7-10 days out of the fridge so you do not have to worry about them converting to sugar.
Cut potatoes oxidize and darken. Quick tip: to prevent potatoes from oxidizing, you can put them into salty water right away after cutting. However, freezing is not a good idea for raw potatoes because the texture will change, but as a last resort, you can freeze raw potatoes and then use them for mashing upon thawing. If you freeze them, peel them and cube them before freezing. Freezing works best for fried and cooked potatoes.
Another good tip: washed potatoes go bad quickly because mold grows so never wash your potatoes before storing them.
How to Tell If your Potatoes are spoiled
Are your potatoes sprouting? I always thought you have to toss sprouting potatoes, but turns out you can still use them! Sprouts on potatoes are a warning of quality declining, but you can remove the sprouting and still eat them.
However, dried, shrunk or mushy potatoes, mold spots, as well as a strong smell and softness are signs of spoilage; these should not be eaten.
Chart for how long potatoes last
Russet or White Potatoes
Yukon Gold Potatoes
Red or New Potatoes
Can You Freeze LEftover Turkey?
Another question I have to google every Thanksgiving: can you freeze leftover turkey? I always cook too much food so there is always leftover turkey. Luckily, turkey is a freezer-friendly leftover, especially when packaged and frozen properly.
It is a good idea to decide what to do with the leftover before packing, so you do not have to try to separate the meat from the bone later.
How To Freeze Leftover Turkey
If you want to freeze your leftover turkey, first, you need to remove the bones and skin from the meat to freeze the bones and the meat separately. Obviously, it is impossible to do this later when it is frozen.
You can wrap separate pieces of the turkey in wax paper so that you can take just a little out at a time. Quick tip: cut the leftover turkey into cubes so you can add it easily to your soups. You can also shred some to freeze and pull out for bbq sandwiches.
Pack the bones, diced meat and shred meat separately. You can use freezer bags or any freezer-safe container. Remember to remove as much air as possible, but keep a little air inside the bag or container for expanded frozen turkey; although, poultry meat only expands a bit while freezing.
With that being said, if you are freezing your leftover turkey with leftover gravy, then leave more free space in the container or bag for the gravy to expand.
Before freezing, make sure the meat or bones to be frozen are cooled. To thaw after freezing, it is enough to put them in the fridge overnight, but be careful not to thaw them on the counter because as we know, poultry grows bacteria within 20 minutes if left out on the counter.
If packaged properly, cooked frozen turkey may last for 6 months in freezer.
How Much Gravy PEr PErson?
As I start cooking, I always wonder how much gravy per person? There is never enough! The amount of gravy you plan per person depends on if your guests like drowning their food in gravy; and also, whether you plan to have leftovers.
Commonly, 1/2-1/3 cup of gravy per person is used.
Planning on leftovers, you need to add an extra 1/2 cup for every 3 people. If you are like me, you will plan on about 3/4 of a cup per person so you have leftovers.
Keep in mind that gravy can be packaged for freezing within 24 hours from making it. It will then last for up to a month in the freezer.
How Much Is A PAt Of Butter?
This is a very random question, but I had an old-school recipe that called for pats of butter. So I had to google how much is a pat of butter? Apparently, butter used to be measured in pats when slabs of that were packaged in cardboard boxes. Turns out, there are 48 pats in a pound of butter. So a pat of butter can be considered as approximately 3/4 tbsp, 1.5 tsp, 1/3 oz or 9 gr. Apparently, it equals the amount of butter in foil packages in hotels or airplanes. Good to know!