For many people Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday. It’s a time to give thanks and appreciate all the good things that have happened over the year. Thanksgiving is great time to eat favorite foods and get together with family and friends. Coming down with a food borne illness is never part of the plan.
If you are new to cooking or a seasoned veteran, it’s always important to keep in mind food safety. Don’t make an unwanted and expensive trip to the Emergency Room this holiday season. Keep the kitchen clean by washing cutting boards, dishes, utensils and counter tops with hot soapy water. Bacteria can spread quickly. Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables. Keep raw turkey juice away from ready-to-eat foods. Use a food thermometer. No one should eat turkey sushi. Make sure the minimum internal temperature is 165 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh, not touching the bone. And above all, don’t let the turkey sit out, while everyone is sitting around after the meal. Refrigerate the leftovers within two hours, so that bacteria won’t have a chance to grow.
Don’t forget the leftovers. Nothing stays fresh forever. If you get tired of turkey sandwiches, turkey pie and turkey soup, throw away the leftover turkey after four days. If you had enough turkey for awhile, cooked turkey will keep in the freezer for 3-4 months.
For more helpful food safety information hints on handling, preparation, food storage, recipes and shopping lists, go to the Partnership for Food Safety Education’s (PFSE) website, www.HolidayFoodSafety.org. To find a variety of tips for navigating the holidays, check out www.eatright.org. The American Dietetic Association is an excellent source of nutrition information. Registered Dietitians (RD) are nutrition experts that you can trust.
Practice safe food handling this Thanksgiving. Eat, Drink and Be Healthy!