Thanksgiving is Thursday, and for most, the holiday menu includes a lot of foods not typically prepared. Tops on that list is the turkey. The USDA is warning while a wonderful family favorite, caution must be used to ensure the bird is prepared properly, ensuring that no one gets sick. And that all starts with moving the turkey from your freezer to the oven. Before you prepare the bird make sure it is thoroughly and properly thawed.
Janice Lopez, food safety expert with the USDA said the best way to defrost you bird is putting it in the refrigerator. She says you need 24 hours for ever five pounds of turkey. If you don’t have that much time, you can use the cold water method.
“Changing the cold tap water every 30 minutes with the turkey in its original wrapping, and cook immediately after it thaws. Or you can also thaw in the microwave. I would always recommend to read the owner’s manual, to make sure that it is something that you can properly do there.”
Lopez said when baking the turkey use a meat thermometer to ensure it’s thoroughly cooked before removing. She also recommend not stuffing the bird, but rather making your dressing in a separate dish.
So, once you’ve enjoyed your big meal, how long before you need to clean up and store the left overs?
“Make sure you put everything in the refrigerator, or store it in the freezer if you like in two hours after everything is prepared and ready and served.”
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