Although you may be expecting a guests for your holiday dinner, food poisoning isn’t one of them.
Common bacteria found in poultry and other items in the kitchen can turn a delicious meal into diarrhea, abdominal pain and vomiting. By taking the proper precautions, holiday chefs can ensure their festive creations do not become a painful nightmare.
Help make your feast a safe and enjoyable by following these simple tips:
Basic food prep
Â· Thoroughly wash your hands with warm water and soap before handling any food.
Â· Wash all produce.
Â· Start with clean, sanitized food prep surfaces. After use, wash and sanitize all utensils and food prep surfaces with five millitres (one tsp.) bleach per litre (four cups) – especially important after working with raw meat and poultry.
Â· Do not leave raw meat, poultry, eggs, or dairy to sit out on the counter.
Finish all food prep within two hours when working with these ingredients.
Â· Avoid advance cooking or preparation where possible, as this allows bacteria to grow, especially if food is stored in danger zone temperatures
– 4Âº C (40Âº F) to 60Âº C (140Âº F).
Â· Heat destroys most bacteria, parasites, and viruses. Follow the required cooking temperature as indicated by cookbooks. Remember 74Âº C (165Âº F) for poultry, stuffing, and ground meats.
Â· Cold temperatures slow bacteria growth so keep foods refrigerated at 4Âº C (40Âº F).
Getting that bird ready
Â· Thaw in the fridge at 4Âº C. This takes a long time so
plan ahead. Allow five hours per pound.
Â· Do not cook partially frozen poultry as the outside will be overdone before the inside has reached a safe temperature.
Â· Cook all parts of a bird to at least 74ÂºC (165Âº F). As a precaution, a stuffed bird should reach 82Âº C (180ÂºF). Use a meat thermometer to confirm.
Â· Drumsticks should pull easily away when your bird is ready.
Â· The safest way to cook stuffing is on the stove or in the oven-not in the bird
Â· If you are cooking stuffing in the bird, stuff just before placing in oven, never the day or night before.
Â· Stuff loosely to allow even heating.
Â· The final cooking temperature of stuffing inside a bird should reach 80Âº C (180Âº F). Always confirm temperature with a thermometer.
Â· Refrigerate or freeze leftovers within two hours of cooking.
Â· Cut poultry into slices before refrigerating. Remove stuffing from turkey, refrigerate separately.
Â· Cool and refrigerate gravy no more than two to three inches deep in containers.
Â· Use leftovers within two or three days.
Â· Make sure all leftovers are reheated to 74Âº C (165Âº F).
Â· When in doubt about leftovers, throw it out!
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