Plan Now for a Safe Thanksgiving Dinner
Thursday, 17 November 2016 15:18
Your delicious Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t happen by accident, and neither does a safe and healthy meal.
Food safety is something to consider every time you cook, and turkeys are notoriously difficult.
To keep your turkey from turning the Thanksgiving holiday into a foodborne illness disaster, the Douglas County Health Department has a few basic suggestions to help you make a holiday meal that will keep everyone smiling.
Start by thinking B-I-R-D.
B-Buy fresh turkeys only 1-2 days in advance.
I-If you buy a frozen turkey, make sure you have storage space.
R-Roast the turkey at 325 degrees until it reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees.
D-Defrost your frozen turkey in the original wrapper, in the refrigerator, at or below 41 degrees.
Also, keep in mind you should:
· Wash your hands before and after handling food.
· Always use soap and water to wash utensils, kitchen sinks, and anything else that comes in contact with raw turkey and meat juices. Washing the turkey before cooking only spreads bacteria around the kitchen.
· Thaw a frozen turkey in a container to hold dripping blood and juices.
· Allow about 24 hours of thawing time for each 4 to 5 pounds of turkey. Thawed turkeys can be kept in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.
· There are some things you can do if you forget to thaw your turkey. Submerge the turkey in cold water and change that water every 30 minutes, allowing about 30 minutes defrosting time per pound of turkey. Then immediately cook it.
· It is safe to cook a turkey from the frozen state. The cooking time will take at least 50 percent longer than recommended for a fully thawed turkey. Remember to remove the giblet packages during the cooking time.
· Leftover turkey should be refrigerated within 2 hours and stored in small portions less than 2 inches thick to adequately cool. Leftovers should then be reheated to 165 degrees before eating.
Even turkeys with pop-up thermometers should be tested under the wings and thighs to make sure they are thoroughly cooked. Be sure to remove all the stuffing from the bird before storing leftovers.
See the USDA website for suggested cooking times based on bird weight.
Remember, your turkey will slice more easily if you let it stand for 20 minutes and the juices are allowed to settle. It also is important that you refrigerate leftovers within the first couple hours after your dinner.
Happy Thanksgiving from the Douglas County Health Department!