June 2, 2020

Countdown to Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is Thursday! The USDA has collected lots of information to help you make this holiday food safe. Their Countdown to Thanksgiving offers tips, food safety rules, and timetables for safely preparing the Thanksgiving turkey. The government also offers Tips of the Day for turkey handling.

ThanksgivingIf you have not started thawing a frozen turkey, it’s too late. Try to purchase a fresh turkey, or cook the turkey frozen. Frozen meats can not be thawed on the countertop. It can take up to six days to thaw a large turkey in the refrigerator. You can thaw the turkey in cold water, but for a large bird this is really not possible. The water must be changed every 30 minutes, and it takes 10 to 12 hours to thaw a 20 pound turkey using this method.

Stuff the turkey loosely so the stuffing reaches a safe temperature of 165 degrees F. Never stuff the turkey in advance, for bacteria will grow in the stuffing. If the bacteria release toxins that are not destroyed by heat, someone may get sick. Turkeys take 3 to 5 hours to cook, depending on the size and whether or not they are stuffed. And always use a food thermometer to check the temperature of the turkey and the stuffing.

Leftovers should be stored within two hours of cooking in the refrigerator or freezer. Use leftovers within three to four days, or freeze the foods for longer storage. Thaw them in the fridge and reheat to a temperature of 165 degrees F.

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