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Handling Turkey

Author/Submitted by: "LA Times", Nov. 23, 1991
Servings: 1
Categories: Christmas / Holidays / Information / Meats


1. According to an article in the "LA Times", Nov. 23, 1991, there are probably more cases of food poisoning, in the US, at least, on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year. This is mainly due to improper handling, preparing, and cooking the family turkey. The US Dept of Agriculture offers several iron-clad rules for preparing the turkey in such a way as to limit the spread and growth of bacteria in the process. They are:

2. * Make sure juices from the uncooked bird do not drip onto other foods, even in the refrigerator.

3. * Carefully wash everything: hands, utensils, sink, etc. that comes in contact with the raw bird. Use soap and hot water.

4. * Don't defrost a frozen turkey at room temperature. Defrost it in the refrigerator, allowing one day in the refrigerator for each 5 pounds of bird.

5. * Don't stuff the bird until just before it goes into the oven. Stuff it loosely.

6. * Don't cook the bird at temperatures less than 325 F. Long, slow cooking at low temperatures allows bacteria to grow.

7. * Don't partially cook the bird the day before and finish cooking it Thanksgiving day. Cook it in a single, complete operation. You can hasten the cooking process by using commercial oven cooking bags, and by cooking the stuffing separately.

8. * Don't refrigerate a whole, cooked turkey. Carve the bird, cover and refrigerate the meat. Reheat before serving, making sure the meat and stuffing reach approximately 165 F., steaming hot.

9. * Don't allow the cooked bird to stand unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours after removing from the oven. A frequent practice is to carve just enough meat from the bird to serve the meal, and to finish carving the remainder of the bird later. Do not let later take too long.

10. * Don't use regular paper grocery bags to cover the bird in the oven. Toxins from glue in the seams can cause illness.

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