>U Mom Knows Best: Thanksgiving Food Safety Tips

Monday, November 14, 2016

Thanksgiving Food Safety Tips

Check out these tips for safe food cooking.

   Thanksgiving is almost here! This is one of my favorite holidays as I get to do something that I love all week. I get to cook and bake all week. I love to cook new recipes and also ones that my family requests every year. One of the items that most every house, including mine, will be cooking is a turkey. I have tried taking turkey off the Thanksgiving menu, as I don't eat meat, but my family will have nothing to do with that as they love turkey. Thanksgiving is the one day that I let my family indulge in meat, I might even enjoy some too. I want everyone to have a great Thanksgiving so I am going to share some food safety tips that I have learned over the years. Having a husband who is a restaurant inspector also helps with me knowing food safety. Did you know that what most people believe to be a stomach bug, may actually be related to unsafe food procedures?  Thanksgiving is a common time for food-related illnesses to happen. So I am going to share some tips with you so you can enjoy your Thanksgiving.

1. Turkey Thawing  Buy your turkey 4-5 days in advance if purchasing a frozen bird. It is important to give your turkey plenty of time to thaw in the fridge so you won't be tempted to thaw it in the sink or on the countertop. Thawing a turkey on the countertop or in the sink is one of the most common ways that people get food sickness, as bacteria can grow rapidly at room temperature. So make sure to buy that turkey 4-5 days before Thanksgiving.I like to place my turkey in a sealed trash bag, in a pan, in my fridge. I usually buy my turkey on Sunday and it is completely thawed by Thursday morning. Here is a handy chart to help.

Thawing Time in the Refrigerator
Size of TurkeyNumber of Days
4 to 12 pounds1 to 3 days
12 to 16 pounds3 to 4 days
16 to 20 pounds4 to 5 days
20 to 24 pounds5 to 6 days

2. Don't Rinse The Turkey  That bird can be contaminated with bacteria that causes food-borne illnesses. That bacteria can spread as far as three feet away from the bird when you rinse it, thus getting all over your counter. Make sure to clean counters, tools and hands after preparing the turkey.

3. Cook The Turkey Properly It is important to cook your turkey to prevent food-borne illness. I included a chart to give you an estimate of how long you need to cook the bird. The best way to know if your turkey is cooked correctly is with an instant-read meat thermometer. Do not rely on those pop-timers that come with the turkey as they can be unreliable. Make sure to stick the instant-read meat thermometer into the deepest part of the thigh and breast. It should read at least 165 degrees for the turkey to be properly cooked. I like using the Marshcone Kitchen Waterproof thermometer. This thermometer is fast and accurate. I love that it only takes 6 seconds to the temperature of my turkey. The digital screen is easy to read and the long probe keeps my hands away from the hot turkey. This thermometer is great for many kitchen needs beyond Thanksgiving. You can purchase this thermometer on Amazon and get it 2 days with Prime shipping. https://www.amazon.com/Premium-Cooking-Waterproof-Instant-Thermometer/dp/B01LZH77O5

(325 °F oven temperature)
Cooking Time — Unstuffed
Size of TurkeyHours to Prepare
8 to 12 pounds2 3/4 to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds3 to 3 3/4 hours
14 to 18 pounds3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds4 1/2 to 5 hours

4. Storing The Leftovers  Most people leave food out long after the meal is served and that can also lead to food-borne illness. It is best to put the turkey and other meats in the fridge two hours after cooking to prevent sickness. So take care of the leftovers before you serve dessert. Make sure to enjoy your leftovers in three to four days. Then either freeze or toss them so no one gets sick. I like to freeze leftover turkey in quart size bags so I can use them in other meals later on. My family loves barbecue turkey pizza.

5. Wash Your Hands  Washing your hands before cooking and after touching raw meat is wise. Of course, wash your hands after using the restroom and before eating too. This will prevent the spread of bacteria and other germs. Make sure to use warm water, plenty of soap, and scrub to the tune of the ABC song to wash all the germs down the drain.

Here is a page from the USDA website to get some more great information about Thanksgiving and food safety.  http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/poultry-preparation/lets-talk-turkey/ct_index

Also, you can get the above mentioned Marshcone Instant-Read meat thermometer for a great price by visiting this link. The thermometer is normally $27.95 but you can purchase it for $10.20 with free shipping too.

"These opinions are my own and I received a Marshcone thermometer to facilitate this post."


yonca said...

Great tips! Since my friend barrowed my thermometer and still hasn't brought it back yet, it seems like i would need a new one😀 Marshcone thermometer looks like a good one!

AiringMyLaundry said...

Thank you for the tips! I need to get a thermometer.

Unknown said...

Those are great tips! A thermometer is really helpful, I can't live without mine.

Ashley @ Hello nature said...

Thanks so much for the tips! I need all of the help I can get for the holidays

Wren said...

Thank you so much for these tips I need all the help I can get when it comes to cooking for the holidays.

Unknown said...

I've never thought that this thermometer could make our lives easier to Holidays.

Unknown said...

I have never cooked a turkey before because my family always buys one from honey baked that is pre cooked. I try to be good about putting leftovers away in a timely manner to keep my family safe.

Unknown said...

This is a great tips, very informative glad you share this

Dhemz said...

Wow, these are very helpful tips. I always rinse the Turkey...bummer! Now I know what to do next time. Thanks for sharing!

Robin Rue said...

Making sure that the turkey is completely cooked is so important. We have one of these type of thermometers and love it.

Unknown said...

Omgoodness....undercooked meat is one of my biggest fears, as is leaving the meat out too long after its cooked. Gack! I wish everyone would read this guide.

Liz Mays said...

It takes so many days to thaw it in the fridge, but it's safe that way. I put the leftovers away as soon as possible. I hate doing it though. lol

Heavenly Savings said...

My digital thermometer just broke and I am in need of a new one! This post came at the perfect time!

Agnes Dela Cruz said...

I've been meaning to get this and now I am definitely getting one, specially the Holiday season is fast approaching. Definitely my partner in cooking.

Buzz4Mommies said...

Perfect timing Tara! I am just starting my lists for next week, and now I know I need to add a meat themometer since mine is broken! Terrific tips!

alfonzowrods said...

hahah i remmember watching a greys anatomy episode where the doctors were prepared to expect alot of people coming in with thanksgiving accident related injuries. This is an awesome post in light of that

Echo aka The Mad Mommy said...

This is a great post! Did you know that questions about turkeys are one of the HIGHEST Googled things during the holidays?

Colette S said...

I've never rinsed the turkey either.
These are really good tips!

data-matched-content-rows-num="2" data-matched-content-columns-num="2"
Mom knows best