Turkey Tips to Make Holiday Safer

first_img Thawing a TurkeyThere are three recommended methods to defrost turkeys to limit bacteria growth: Wash hands thoroughly before and after handling raw turkey. It is best to cook stuffing outside the turkey. If cooking inside the turkey, it should be moist and loosely placed with 180 ml (3/4 cup) per 500 grams (1 pound). Stuff the turkey just before roasting. If the turkey has been washed or thawed in a sink, the sink must be cleaned with soap and water and sanitized using one and a half teaspoons of household bleach per litre of water. After placing the turkey in the oven, thoroughly clean and sanitize all utensils and work surfaces that were in contact with the raw turkey. Preparation for RoastingProper handling of the raw turkey reduces the risk of cross-contamination and foodborne illness. Refrigerate the turkey and stuffing separately within two hours of cooking. Use leftover turkey and stuffing within three to four days; gravy within one to two days. Reheat turkey, stuffing and gravy thoroughly to a temperature of 74 C (165 F) or until hot and steaming. Cooked turkey can be frozen up to four months; gravy and stuffing for one month. Soups and casseroles using leftover turkey should be made within three to four days, and may be kept frozen for four to six months. Cooking the TurkeyProper cooking will destroy bacteria. Make sure you buy a turkey from an approved source A frozen turkey can be stored in a freezer for up to one year A fresh turkey should be bought one to two days before cooking Select a turkey (or any raw meat) last and keep it separated from other foods to prevent cross-contaminating of other foods A turkey dinner with all the trimmings is a time-honoured holiday tradition for many. Nova Scotians are urged to remember some important tips for safely handling raw and cooked food. “Nova Scotians should remember to make food safety a primary concern when buying, handling, cooking and storing foods this holiday season,” said Mike Horwich, the Agriculture Department’s director of food safety. “Families can reduce the risk of foodborne illness and enjoy safe meals by following a few simple safety tips.” Buying a Turkey The turkey should be completely thawed. The oven temperature should be at least 164 C (325 F). Never slow cook overnight at a lower temperature. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the thigh reaches 82 C (180 F) or 74 C (165 F) in the stuffing. When properly cooked, the juices should run clear and have no trace of pink. When turkey is cooked to a safe temperature of 82 C (180 F), as checked by a meat thermometer, a slight pink colour may still exist in the meat, but it is safe to eat. An eight to 12 pound turkey takes three to 3 1/5 hours to cook at 325 F, while a 18 to 20 pound turkey takes 4 1/3 to 4 1/2 hours. In the refrigerator. This safe, slow method takes about 24 hours for every 2.3 kilograms (five pounds) of turkey. Place the turkey on a large platter on the lowest shelf to prevent juices from dripping on to other foods. Submerged in cold water. Wrap the turkey in a leak-proof bag and change the water every 30 minutes. It takes about 30 minutes per 500 grams (one pound). In a microwave. Cook the turkey immediately after thawing. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for time and power level. LeftoversLeaving turkey out and not reheating adequately can lead to foodborne illness. The Department of Agriculture has several practical food safety fact sheets online at www.gov.ns.ca/agri/foodsafety . -30-last_img

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