Thanksgiving is almost upon us! The Thanksgiving meal is typically the largest one for many cooks every year. Getting the meal just right, particularly the bird, brings a good deal of pressure, whether or not you are experienced with cooking one. Below are some tips that can help to make your Thanksgiving meal both delicious and safe.
Steps Before You Cook Your Turkey
- Check the labels carefully. The temperature label shows whether the turkey is fresh or frozen. If you are going to serve a fresh turkey, you should not buy it more than two days before the big day. A fresh turkey sitting in the fridge for several days can develop dangerous bacteria that could sicken your guests.
- Buy two thermometers. One should be a refrigerator thermometer to make sure the turkey is being stored at 40 degrees F or slightly below that. The other should be a food thermometer to ensure the cooked turkey reaches 165 F, which makes it safe to eat.
- Thaw your turkey with a microwave, with cold water or in the refrigerator. Using the refrigerator to do so is recommended by the USDA.
Steps For Cooking Your Turkey
- Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before you touch any type of food so there is no risk of spreading infection and illness.
- Never wash the turkey. This will only spread pathogens onto your kitchen counter. The only way to kill bacteria that is in the turkey is to fully cook it to 165 degrees F.
- Keep any raw turkey separated from any other foods you are serving.
- Have separate cutting boards, utensils, and plates when you handle raw turkey so there is no cross-contamination.
- Be sure the turkey has been cooked to a proper 165 degrees F, measured by a food thermometer. Check the temperature of the turkey by putting the thermometer into the thickest area of the breast, the inner part of the thigh and the inner part of the wing.
Steps After Thanksgiving Dinner
- Put leftovers in the refrigerator within 120 minutes to prevent dangerous bacteria from growing on the food.
- Store any Thanksgiving leftovers in shallow containers or pans to reduce cooling time. This will prevent food from being at unsafe temperatures for too long.
- Never put stuffing inside the leftover turkey. This is a breeding ground for bacteria. Take the stuffing from the turkey and refrigerate meat and stuffing in separate containers.
- Do not consume leftovers from the fridge after they have been there for more than three or four days.
- Keep your Thanksgiving leftovers in a cooler with ice if the food is going home with someone who lives more than two hours away.
Everyone At The Mann Law Firm Wishes You A Happy and Safe Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to be with friends, family and loved ones. Just make sure that you take proper precautions when preparing food so that everyone stays safe and healthy over the holiday. Also take great care when driving to and from Thanksgiving dinner, as there is always a spike in serious traffic accidents during the Thanksgiving holiday.