No Thanksgiving meal would be complete without gravy, regardless of whether you intend to serve family-favourite casseroles and gratins or want to try a few brand-new recipes alongside your turkey this year. It tops everything from mashed potatoes to that magnificent roast turkey. Since it’s frequently produced in large quantities, you’ll probably have enough extra gravy to eat with your leftovers after dinner. However, how long will gravy last in the fridge? We sought advice from a specialist in food safety.
What is Gravy?
Gravy and sauce are frequently confused, although they are quite different.
The sauce is a thick, rich liquid, typically made with tomatoes and other vegetables like onions or garlic. When the meat drippings aren’t flavorful enough to make a wonderful dish on their own, sauces are occasionally utilized as gravy. You can combine the two to create a special flavour unavailable in any store.
The word “gravy” derives from the French word graver, which means “to engrave,” and refers to its capacity to permeate into every nook and cranny of food, imparting taste rather than just on top. Because it gives a delicious taste boost without adding extra calories, gravy has always been a beloved dish at holiday dinners.
To thicken the consistency, most recipes call for white flour, which releases gluten, but this recipe utilizes cornstarch, which makes it even healthier.
How Long does Gravy Last in the Fridge?
The amount of time homemade or store-bought gravy will last depends on how it is stored; properly-stored gravy should survive at least a few days by being sealed in an airtight container or jar or a covered dish with plastic wrap. According to the Food and Drug Administration, gravy and beef broth can be kept in the freezer for two to three months or in the refrigerator for one to two days. You can treat the gravy like a soup or stew if it is made solely from veggies. This gravy can be kept in the freezer for two to three months or in the refrigerator for three to four days.
According to the instructions on the label, you should store any store-bought gravy. “If you add the gravy to a meat and poultry dish, you will need to treat it like the handmade gravy that would be prepared using meat and poultry.
How to Tell that Gravy is Spoiled?
It’s crucial to remember that gravy does expire, and that rule applies to store-bought and homemade types. To consume gravy at its finest quality (colour, consistency, and taste), Tamika Sims, PhD, the senior director at the Food Technology Communications at the International Food Information Council, advises following the “Best If Used By” or “Use By” date stamped on the label or package.
“However, there are several symptoms of spoiling that should be followed for proper food safety measures for both store-bought gravy and gravy cooked (with or without meat and poultry) at home.” Start by examining the texture and colour to determine whether your gravy has gone bad. The gravy that is unusually slimy, mouldy, or discoloured is spoilt. Sims says that remaining microorganisms could still result in a foodborne illness even if you remove the slime or mould.
Let’s imagine you have unopened gravy in a can. The contents of a can should be thrown out if it is bloated. However, other factors may be at play, so using the techniques above to look into the gravy itself will be beneficial. Contact the company for more details if you cannot determine whether your canned gravy is rotten. She concludes that the food should be discarded and thrown in the trash if you are still undecided. “Do not attempt to repurpose it for the consumption of anyone.
Can Gravy be Freeze? How is Gravy Frozen?
Yes, it is the answer. To prevent the texture of the gravy from turning mushy, it should be frozen in airtight containers or freezer bags.
Gravy can be frozen for up to three months when kept properly. How to freeze gravy is as follows:
- Put the cooked, cooled gravy in freezer bags or airtight containers. Make sure there is at least one inch of headspace because the liquid will break in a sealed container when it freezes and expands.
- Put a date before freezing on containers along with the contents.
- Place the meal in the fridge and let it cool before freezing. As a result, huge ice crystals are avoided.
- Before serving, defrost and reheat the gravy for optimal results.
Ensure there is enough room when filling freezer bags to expand any air or water vapour as the food freezes. Seal firmly to prevent leakage.
After freezing a liquid other than gravy, you might want to consider freezing it first in ice cube trays so that when it freezes, it will form simple cubes that can be dumped into a bag or container for later use. Since liquid expands as it freezes and may break jars if not given adequate room, these containers should also have headspace.
How Should I Use Leftover Gravy?
- Saving leftover gravy is a fantastic method to finish that jar.
- Add a few tablespoons of flour to thicken it for a tasty sauce.
- Suppose you intend to use the gravy again for Thanksgiving dinner. In that case, it is advisable to drain out any extra fat before heating the gravy while stirring until it thickens into an opaque sauce to prevent cross-contamination.
- Other applications for leftover gravy include potatoes au gratin, which is layered with sliced boiled potatoes and cubed cheese before the hot gravy is poured on top.
- To add to your pot roast, you may also sauté some vegetables like onions or mushrooms; be careful not to overcook them, or they’ll become mushy.
- To add protein to omelettes, combine the leftovers.
- Chicken tenders and baked french fries taste delicious when dipped in leftover gravy.
How to Store Gravy?
Storage of Gravy Temporarily
Unfortunately, it starts to split if you hold gravy for too long. Any remaining gravy should be refrigerated and consumed within two days to maintain freshness. Any leftover gravy can then be refrigerated for an additional two days after being boiled for three minutes to destroy any bacteria. Up to a week can pass after you complete this two-day procedure, although you might find it simpler to freeze the gravy in manageable portions.
Storage in a Long-Term Freezer
Use as little fat, milk, and cream as possible while preparing the gravy if you intend to freeze some of it beforehand because such ingredients tend to separate when the food is thawed. Before you put the gravy in a freezer storage container, please give it a quick run through a blender or food processor to further limit the possibility of separation.
Before freezing the gravy, spoon it into freezer bags, airtight containers, or ice cube trays (for use in smaller portions later). The gravy thickened with flour can be frozen for up to four months without experiencing a significant loss in quality. Frozen gravy should be thawed overnight in the refrigerator, then slowly reheated over medium-low heat while whisking continuously to avoid lumps. Add a little water or stock if the gravy separated or it seemed too thick. With a little extra liquid and vigorous whisking, you might be able to bring it back together.
The gravy should be packaged with any leftover roast or turkey if you plan to freeze it. This will yield the greatest results. Because the gravy prevents the meat from drying out, cooked meats store and freeze better in their gravy. Reheat meat-and-gravy dishes in a 350°F oven until the interior temperature reaches 160°F throughout. Within three months, use frozen meat and gravy combinations.
How to Reheat Gravy?
The Skillet is the Best for Reheating Gravy
Gravy should always be heated slowly and gently. Low here refers to both heat and pan size. Instead of using a pan, choose a skillet to maximize the surface area of the gravy and reheat it gently and evenly. Here are the three procedures for reheating gravy.
Spoon it into the skillet to break up the gelled gravy into chunks that are simple to reheat.
Low heat: Don’t heat the pan before adding the gravy. Start the chilled gravy’s gentle reheating in a cool pan.
Simmer while stirring: Reheating the gravy will help it heat evenly.
The Microwave is the Quickest Method for Reheating Gravy
If you need to reheat the gravy in the microwave, the same guidelines still apply: When the gravy is liquid and steaming, transfer it to a shallow, microwave-safe container and cook it in short, 30-second bursts while stirring in between.
How to Make Gravy at Home?
- 1/four cup of fat drippings (see recipe note)
- 1/4 cup cornstarch or all-purpose flour
- 3 to 4 cups of water, milk, cream, stock, or a combination of these.
- From the pan, remove everything except 1/4 cup of the fat:
- The roast should be taken out of the pan. Remove any extra fat, leaving four tablespoons of fat in the pan, juices, and browned drippings.
- Clean up the drippings, then put the pan over medium heat on the stove.
- Scrape any drippings stuck to the pan with a metal spatula. Turn the heat to medium-high and place the pan on the stove.
- Scrape all the drippings and fat into a sizable shallow sauté pan if you’re using a roasting pan that won’t work well on the cooktop.
- Use a wire whisk to stir, incorporating the flour as you go quickly. Before adding liquid in the following step, let the flour brown a little if you’d like. (If you prefer, you can begin by making a slurry of flour and water by whisking equal parts of flour and cold water together.) Four tablespoons of flour should be added to the drippings:
While gradually adding liquid, whisk the gravy:
- Whisk ferociously to combine the liquids as you gradually pour in the stock, water, milk, cream, or a combination of them into the pan with the flour.
- When the gravy has thickened and reached a consistency of about 2 cups, let it simmer and continue to add liquid carefully. (There will likely be a requirement for 3 to 4 cups of liquid.)
- Seasoning after tasting: After tasting, add salt and pepper.
How Much Cornstarch or Flour Should I Use to Make Gravy?
Observe this ratio. Start with two tablespoons of drippings and fat and two tablespoons of flour or cornstarch for every cup of gravy you desire. (This will result in a gravy that is rich and thick. Start with one tablespoon of drippings and one tablespoon of starch, and then add extra liquid to thin the gravy if desired.)
Therefore, if you wish to make 2 cups of gravy, take off all except four tablespoons of the roasting pan’s fat and drippings (set aside for future use).
You may easily split or multiply these directions to produce more or less gravy, depending on how much gravy you need.
When stored properly, the gravy can last for two to three in the fridge. There are several ways to freeze leftover gravy. For best results, use freezer bags or airtight containers. Fill the freezer bag about half full, leaving one inch of headspace. Once frozen, store the bag in the refrigerator. Ideally, the gravy should be kept in the fridge for several days, but it can be frozen indefinitely. To make serving it easier, freeze it right away. Using a food processor to process it will help minimize the risk of separation.