Each November a whopping 46 million turkeys are eaten at Thanksgiving. It’s the time of year that home cooks take on preparing the perfect meal for a crowd of friends and family. In many cases this is the largest meal these brave hosts will prepare all year. Improper cooking and food handling procedures are the main cause for poultry-associated foodborne disease outbreaks in the United States. Take the time to thoroughly plan each step of your Thanksgiving meal and brush up on food safe practices like proper hand washing.
Plan & Thaw
Decide how many guests are attending dinner and if you will be preparing a fresh or frozen turkey. Be sure to create adequate space in your refrigerator to house ingredients. Frozen turkeys need approximately 24 hours for every 4-5 pounds of turkey and should be placed on a tray to catch melting ice. Fresh turkeys should be purchased 1-2 days in advance. The USDA also has a great planning tool to help with turkey buying, thawing and storing.
To Stuff or Not To Stuff
Turkey stuffing should happen immediately before placing in the oven and pack the stuffing loosely inside the turkey. Your oven should be set to a minimum of 325 degrees. The internal temperature of the stuffing as well as the thighs, wings and thickest part of the breast must reach 165° for safe consumption.
Love your Leftovers
Within 2 hours of turkey time prepare your leftovers for storage. Food left out for extended periods of time will enter the “Food Safety Danger Zone”. This danger zone is between 40°-140° when bacteria grows rapidly. Separate turkey from stuffing and refrigerate in separate containers. It’s important to reheat leftovers to an internal temp of 165° before consuming. When stored properly, leftovers can have a 3 day shelf life.
From our family to yours, wishing everyone a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving.
-The Hydra Rinse and Idea Boxx Teams
- CDC. Food Safety Tips for your Holiday Turkey. November 13, 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/features/turkeytime/index.html
- Food Safety. Thanksgiving. FoodSafety.gov. https://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/events/thanksgiving/index.html
- Moffatt Cancer Center. Food Safety Tips to Remember While Preparing Your Thanksgiving Meal. https://moffitt.org/take-charge/take-charge-story-archive/food-safety-tips-to-remember-while-preparing-your-thanksgiving-meal/
- FSIS. Countdown to the Thanksgiving Holiday. https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/seasonal-food-safety/countdown-to-the-thanksgiving-holiday/CT_Index