Thanksgiving turkey handling, 5 tips to keep in mind

Not to fear monger right before Thanksgiving, but raw turkey, chicken, or meats can contain Campylobacter, Salmonella or E.coli bacteria that can cause serious holiday discomforts. These bacterias are killed when cooked under a certain temperature, but not when frozen. Here are 5 tips to think about when handling your turkey on Thursday.

5. Proper heat

When roasting a whole turkey, use a food thermometer and insert it into the thickest part of the thigh, making sure not to hit the bone. Monitor for a 165° F or higher temperature.

4. Say no to pre-stuffed

Fresh pre-stuffed turkeys should be avoided. If they were not handled properly, harmful bacterias may be in the stuffing and can multiply quickly. To ensure sanitation, stuffing should be cooked separately.

3. Unless your pre-stuffed is frozen

Frozen pre-stuffed turkeys are safe since they have been processed under controlled conditions. Don’t thaw them, follow the package instructions and start cooking while frozen.

2. Cook fresh

When purchasing a fresh turkey, plan to cook it within 1 – 2 days after purchase to ensure that your turkey stays the way it’s supposed to.

1. Thawing options

Turkeys can be thawed in several ways. By refrigerator, place it with it’s original wrapper in 40° F or below and allow 24 hours for each five pounds of turkey. Keep refrigerated for 1 – 2 days before cooking.

If using cold water, change the water every 30 minutes for each pound of turkey.

Microwaves can also be used, just make sure you that the turkey fits and then refer to your manufacturer’s instructions and power levels as this will vary by maker.

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