Safe Holiday Meal Preparation
The delicious season of Thanksgiving is approaching. Below are some "Hot Tips and Cold Facts" for the preparation and storage of your holiday meals to ensure a safe and happy occasion.
Good Food Handling Practices
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and running water before handling food,
and again after touching raw poultry or meat.
- Wash all utensils, counters, and cutting boards with warm soapy water
after preparing meals and before they are used for making that wonderful
cranberry salad or other specialties.
- Sanitize work surfaces periodically.
(1 Tbsp. Bleach/1 gal. Water)
- Never thaw turkey or any other food product on a counter top at room
temperature. There are only four safe ways to thaw:
- Thaw in refrigerator on lower shelf (wrap in plastic bag or place on a
tray so juices won't drip on other foods).
- Thaw in sink under cool running water.
- Thaw in microwave, Cook immediately after thawing.
- Thaw as part of cooking process.
Allow 24 hours per 5 pounds to thaw.
- Use a stem thermometer to be sure food is cooked well enough to destroy
bacteria. Whole turkeys must be cooked to a minimum of 180° F.
|8 to 12 lbs.
||2¾ to 3
|12 to 14 lbs.
||3 to 3¼
|14 to 18 lbs.
||3¾ to 4¼
|18 to 20 lbs.
||4¼ to 4½
|20 to 24 lbs.
||4½ to 5
- The safest way to cook stuffing is in a casserole. If the turkey
is stuffed, the stuffing must reach an internal temperature of
- The leftovers are the best part of preparing the Thanksgiving meal in
your home, so let's serve them safely. When reheating the leftovers,
bring them up to 165°F as quickly as possible.
- Shortly after the meal, food should be placed in shallow pans
(4" in depth) and refrigerated. This includes leftover pumpkin pie,
if there is any.
- Your refrigerator thermometer should read 41°F or below.
- Don't overload the refrigerator with too many hot foods.
- Eat refrigerated turkey within 4 days; stuffing and gravy within 1-2
days. Turkey can be frozen 3-6 months.
The four most important things to remember:
1. Wash your hands!!!
2. Serve hot foods hot.
3. Serve cold foods cold.
4. Never leave food out more than 2 hours; when in doubt, throw it out!
Have a safe and tasty holiday season!!!