Are you preordering your Thanksgiving feast or making it all from scratch? Either way, when you follow these simple food safety practices, they can help ensure an enjoyable holiday with family and friends.
Flash-frozen turkeys are a great choice as they're often much fresher than “fresh” turkeys. It is best to thaw a frozen turkey in the refrigerator within its original packaging. Store and cover your raw turkey in a leak-proof container on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator away from foods that are ready to eat, such as desserts and salads, to avoid the risk of cross-contamination. Clean and sanitize your sink and counters. After rinsing your raw turkey thoroughly, properly clean and sanitize the sink and surrounding area before starting to prepare any other food. When cooking your turkey check that it has reached an internal temperature of 165°F by inserting a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the breast and thigh without touching the bone for accurate readings.
Handling Cooked Food
Whether you’re picking up a pre-ordered dinner or storing side-dishes while putting the finishing touches on your home-cooked feast, simply keeping food warm is not enough. Harmful bacteria multiply fastest between 40° and 140°F, so keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Prepare salads, cranberries and other colds items first and store them in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Then prep your hot dishes closer to serving time, and if needed keep them in an oven at 140°F or above so they stay hot.
Leave Room for Leftovers
Leftovers are part of the holiday tradition. Store each dish separately in clean, sealable, leak-proof containers and reheat to 165°F when you're ready to enjoy round two of your Thanksgiving meal.