Don’t overlook turkey safety
“There is no quality difference between a fresh or frozen turkey, although fresh turkeys have shorter shelf lives,” Reames said. “By purchasing a frozen turkey, you can often take advantage of special sales.”
To make sure you have enough turkey for the feast and for leftovers too, purchase at least one pound of uncooked turkey per person. If you choose to buy a frozen bird, make sure you have adequate storage space in your freezer. If you buy a fresh turkey, be sure you purchase it only one to two days before cooking. Proper thawing is important to prevent growth of harmful bacteria that may have been present prior to freezing a turkey. Reames says three safe ways to thaw a turkey safely are in the refrigerator at 40 degrees or less, in cold water and in a microwave oven. When thawing a turkey in the refrigerator, allow 24 hours of thawing time for every 5 pounds of turkey, she says. Place a frozen turkey – still in its store wrap – in a baking sheet with a lip or a shallow pan on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. For safety’s sake, wash your hands for 20 seconds in hot, soapy water after handling raw poultry or meat, she says. Also, be sure that utensils, plates, work surfaces, etc. have been thoroughly cleaned. Keep raw foods separate from cooked or ready-to-eat foods to avoid cross-contamination, Reames warns. It is important that the juices from raw meat and poultry do not come into contact with food that will be eaten without cooking. Also, never place cooked food on an unwashed plate that previously held raw meat or poultry.
To cook a turkey safely, set the oven temperature no lower than 325 degrees, Reames says. To make sure a whole turkey has reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees, use a food thermometer to check the innermost part of the thigh and wing and thickest part of the breast.
An unstuffed turkey that weighs 14 to 18 pounds will need to cook approximately 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours in a 325-degree oven.
“The color of cooked poultry is not always a sure sign of its safety,” Reames says. “Turkey can remain pink even after cooking to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees. The meat of smoked turkey is always pink.”
If you decide to stuff a turkey, prepare the stuffing and stuff it into the cavity immediately before it’s placed in the oven. When you cook a stuffed turkey, use a food thermometer to check the internal temperatures of both the turkey and the center of the stuffing, the nutritionist says.
Consumers with food safety questions can call the toll-free U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Meat and Poultry Hotline at 888-674-6854.
Subscribe Today and Save!!!
St. Charles Herald-Guide is an award-winning newspaper that covers all aspects of St. Charles Parish - from schools and parish government news to social events, features on our local residents and sports.
Order your subscription today!
A woman was found stabbed to death in her Destrehan home and her mother, who walked...
One of TV’s biggest shows, “American Horror Story,” recently wrapped up a two-week...
A drill that mimics a school shooting – complete with students covered in fake...
The woman found stabbed to death Wednesday morning in Destrehan has been identified...
A woman was found stabbed to death in her Destrehan home Wednesday morning and her...
The chairwoman of the St. Charles Parish Housing Authority said that no one’s job...
Today's Car Care is the name people trust when it comes to outstanding tires and automotive service in the River Region and beyond.
St. Rose Tavern relocates to historic New Sarpy landmark - 3769 views
The historic St. Rose Tavern is preparing to reopen in New Sarpy after the family that ran the restaurant was evicted from the building that served as their home in St. Rose for 60 years.