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We are just a few days away now from the turkey, the stuffing and all that good stuff we love for Thanksgiving. But in all the excitement we don't want to forget to prepare our food properly and then afterward to store it properly. Katie Tranell from the Adams County Extension Office spoke with News 5 on this topic.
Katie: We don't want any unwanted guests at the Thanksgiving table, no food bourne illness. No one wants to be sick during the holidays. So, the first step is making sure you're thawing your turkey properly if you purchased a frozen one. The general rule of thumb there is 24 hours for every 4-5 pounds of frozen turkey you have. And make sure you are thawing in the refrigerator on a tray. You don't want any raw turkey drippings to get on your other food or other surfaces in the refrigerator. So if you're cutting it a little close and you don't have time to thaw in the refrigerator you can do a cold water bath so just submerge your entire turkey, cover in cold water, change that water every 30 minutes and we say about 30 minutes for every pound of turkey you have there. And when it comes to cooking properly use a 325 degree oven. So for an 8-12 pound turkey that's about 3 to 3 1/2 hours of cooking time. And you need to check the three sites: the wing, the thigh, and the breast - the thickest parts - with a meat thermometer to make sure each of those sites has reached 165 degrees.
Amy: It's really not a process you can cut corners on.
Katie: You can't. And those pop-up things in turkeys that are supposed to tell us that it's reached the proper temperature really aren't that reliable. Color is also not a good indicator of "doneness." We need to use the meat thermometer.
Amy: Let's talk about afterward. There are always leftovers it seems like. How do you make sure they stay safe?
Katie: Yeah, getting them into the refrigerator as quickly as possible in the shallowest containers you have is the way to make sure they're going to cool quickly and get below that temperature danger zone. So making sure we've cooled them as quickly as possible. Not leaving food out more than two hours at a time is a good rule of thumb. And then reheating once we're ready to eat again is important.
Amy: Alright, we want a safe Thanksgiving. No unwanted guests like you said! Thank you, Katie.
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