Turkey and Ham: Buying and Storing Guide

Whether serving two or 20, follow our guidelines to help make dinner a success.

Whether serving two or 20, follow our guidelines to help make dinner a success.

 Becky Luigart-Stayner

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Proper portions

For turkey, plan on a serving size of 4 to 6 ounces of cooked meat per person. For ham, use 4 ounces as a guide.

2 to 4 guests: 1 to 2 pounds boneless turkey breast, 11/2 to 3 pounds bone-in breast, or 1/2 to 1 pound boneless ham.

6 to 8 guests: 3 to 4 pounds boneless turkey breast, 6 to 8 pounds bone-in breast, 6- to 8-pound whole turkey, or 11/2 to 2 pounds boneless ham.

10 or more guests: 12-pound whole turkey minimum, or 10- to 15-pound bone-in ham minimum

Store safely

To store cooked turkey for leftovers, divide into smaller portions and refrigerate or freeze in shallow, covered containers. This allows the meat to cool quickly, says Kathy Bernard, acting manager of the USDA's Meat and Poultry Hotline. Store cooked turkey in the refrigerator for three to four days, or the freezer for up to six months for best quality. For slices of cooked ham, three to five days in the refrigerator is acceptable, or wrap well and keep in the freezer for one to two months.

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