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Food Safety.food safety holiday kitchen cook prep wash temp cool heat sanitary turkey germ bacteria spry

When it comes to holiday dinner, it is held in high regards by many people. You don't want to be remembered as the family member who served up food poisoning! The following safety tips should help you avoid that type of incident.

Any poultry needs special attention when handling. Thawing a frozen turkey the proper way is important to the safety of your family.

 

Eating undercooked turkey is a health problem. If a turkey is thawed at a temperature above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, salmonella or other bacteria that cause food poisoning can grow

 

 

Food Safety Tips When Shopping.

Buy your turkey preferably 1-2 days before you cook it.

• Pick up the turkey, dairy and eggs just before checking out.

• Bag the frozen turkey or keep it separate from fresh produce.

• Avoid buying fresh, stuffed turkeys.

 

Storing the Turkey/Perishable Foods.

• Store the turkey in the freezer if you bought it early in the month.

• Keep turkey in the refrigerator if cooking within 24-48 hours.

• Keep the turkey in it’s package in a pan to keep any juices from getting into fresh produce or food.

• Refrigerate store bought pumpkin pie.

 

Thawing the Frozen Turkey Safely

Any poultry needs special attention when handling. Thawing a frozen turkey the proper way is important to the safety of your family.

 

Eating undercooked turkey is a health problem. If a turkey is thawed at a temperature above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, salmonella or other bacteria that cause food poisoning can grow.

 

Never thaw a turkey at room temperature because this promotes the growth of dangerous bacteria. The safest way to thaw a turkey is to thaw it in the refrigerator. You should do this with the turkey still in its’ own unopened wrapper breast facing up and placed on a tray. The accepted rule of thumb for time is 1 day refrigerator thawing for every four pounds of turkey.

 

It's also safe to defrost a turkey in a microwave. Remove any packaging and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

 

Wash your hands with soap and water before handling the turkey or any food.

Remove any giblets from the turkey cavity and cook separately.

There are 3 ways to defrost a frozen turkey safely.

1. Defrost turkey in the refrigerator (40 F) approximately 24 hours for every 4-5 pounds of turkey.

2. Submerge turkey in its original package in a pan of cold water enough to cover the turkey. Change the water every 30 minutes, and allow 30 minutes thawing for every pound.

3. Remove any packaging and keep turkey in a microwave-safe pan to catch any juices. Thaw in the microwave oven.

Please Note: Microwave ovens may vary. Be sure to check the manual for the minutes per pound and power level to use for defrosting.

 

Preparing Food Safely.

Wash your hands with soap and water.

Make sure working areas and surfaces, utensils and plates are also clean.

Use separate cutting or chopping boards for meats and for fruits/vegetables. Avoid putting cooked food on cutting boards that have touched raw food.

Avoid wiping your hands that have touched raw food with dish towels.

Keep raw food away from vegetables and side dishes that will not be cooked.

 

Cooking Food Safely.

Stuffing the turkey is not recommended. (Cook the stuffing separate.).

If you're going to stuff the turkey, use a moist stuffing rather than a dry one. Heat kills bacteria better in a moist environment. You could always cook the stuffing in a separate casserole.

 

Use a food thermometer. You can’t tell if the turkey is cooked simply by looking.

Check to make sure every part of the turkey reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165 F, even if your turkey has a pop-up temperature indicator. Check the innermost part of the thigh and wing, and the thickest part of the breast.

Let turkey stand for 20 minutes before carving to allow juices to set.

Stuffing should also reach a minimum temperature of 165 F.

Any dish containing eggs should be cooked to reach an internal temperature of 160 F.

Use a separate clean spoon whenever tasting food from the pot. Do not use spoon for stirring to taste.

It's important to cook the turkey immediately after thawing. Don't slow cook or partially cook the turkey, and check the temperature with a meat thermometer to determine if it's done. Even if the turkey came with a pop-up thermometer, it's necessary to check the innermost part of the thigh and wing, and the thickest part of the breast. The turkey needs to be at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit (and the stuffing, too).

 

Serving Food Safely.

Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot.

Keep the pumpkin pie and any cold dessert in the refrigerator at 40 F.

Use clean serving spoons for each dish.

Wash hands with soap and water before handling food or eating.

Carve the turkey with a clean carving knife and fork.

 

Leftovers.

Eating Thanksgiving leftovers that have been improperly stored can also lead to food poisoning. Leftovers need to be put away within two hours after serving the food. (This includes pumpkin pie.) They go in the refrigerator if they are going to be eaten within three days, otherwise they go in the freezer. Food should be stored in shallow containers. Meat should be removed from the bone before being put away.

 

Cut the turkey into small pieces; refrigerate stuffing and turkey separately in shallow containers within 2 hours of cooking.

Reheated leftovers should be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Gravy should be brought to a vigorous boil.

Store in the refrigerator if eating left-over food within 3 days. Label and date.

Keep in the freezer for longer storage time. Label and date.

 

Keep It Clean!.

Prevent bacteria growth and cross contamination by using one cutting board exclusively to cut raw meat. Thoroughly clean your cutting surfaces and knives after each use with soap and hot water.

Don't re-use a platter or plate that has held raw meat unless it has been thoroughly washed, either.

Use separate spoons and/or forks when sampling and don't sample again with a used spoon; wash it before re-using it. Don't taste from the same spoon that you used to stir the pot. This is the number 1 cause of cross contamination!

 

Use A Poultry or Food Thermometer.

Every kitchen should have one or more food thermometers.

TIP: Check to make sure every part of the turkey reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F, even if your turkey has a pop-up temperature indicator. Check the innermost part of the thigh and wing, and the thickest part of the breast.