Food Safety During the Holidays

The holidays are just around the corner! Most of us are busy shopping, finalizing travel plans, and anticipating time with friends and family. As we look forward to Grandma Charlotte’s famous turkey and Uncle George’s delicious pumpkin pie, it’s important to remember food safety! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that roughly 1 in 6 Americans (48 million people) get sick, are hospitalized, or die of foodborne disease each year. Preparing a large, holiday meal can be a daunting task in addition to taking appropriate food safety measures. Here are a few quick tips for preparing a delicious, safe meal this season!

Preparing a large, holiday meal can be a daunting task in addition to taking appropriate food safety measures. Here are a few quick tips for preparing a delicious, safe meal this season!

Turkey

  • Wash hands with soap and warm water for 20-30 seconds before and after handling the turkey.
  • Do not defrost on the counter! Defrosting in the refrigerator is the safest method and will result in the best turkey. Leave turkey in original packaging. Place in a shallow pan and allow refrigerator thawing time at a rate of 4 to 5 pounds per 24 hours. To thaw in cold water, keep turkey in original packaging and place in a clean sink or pan. Submerge in cold water. Change the cold water every 30 minutes. The turkey will take about 30 minutes per pound to thaw completely.
  • Turkey should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 F. Insert the meat thermometer in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. Total cooking time should be determined based on pounds and whether turkey is stuffed or unstuffed.

Unstuffed Turkey-Thermal/Conventional oven uncovered at 325 F

8 to 12 pounds 
12 to 14 pounds 
14 to 18 pounds 
18 to 20 pounds 
20 to 24 pounds
        2-3/4 to 3 hours 
3 to 3-3/4 hours 
3-3/4 to 4-1/4 hours 
4-1/4 to 4-1/2 hours 
4-1/2 to 5 hours

Stuffed Turkey-Thermal/Conventional oven uncovered at 325 F

8 to 12 pounds 
12 to 14 pounds 
14 to 18 pounds 
18 to 20 pounds 
20 to 24 pounds
        3 to 3-1/2 hours 
3-1/2 to 4 hours 
4 to 4-1/4 hours 
4-1/4 to 4-3/4 hours 
4-3/4 to 5-1/4 hours

 

Leftovers

  • Leftovers should be eaten, frozen, or thrown away within 3 to 4 days.
  • It’s best to divide leftovers into small portions and store in shallow containers in the refrigerator. This allows food to quickly come to the proper temperature to discourage bacteria growth.
  • When microwaving, make sure that there are no cold spots in food. Make sure to cover food, stir, and rotate for even cooking. This will ensure that food reaches proper temperature.
  • It is recommend reheating leftovers to an internal temperature of at least 165 F.

Alana Scopel

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *