Family and food have always been the cornerstone of my Thanksgiving celebrations, and I am sure it is the same with you. My family has a great tradition. Each year I plan a themed menu. I put together an entire meal of recipes using the theme in every course. The recipes are divided up amongst my siblings, and on Thanksgiving we gather at my home and share our creations. One year, the theme was apples and another it was root vegetables. This year’s theme is Italian American. This tradition of themed menus has kept my family’s Thanksgivings interesting year after year, so I thought I’d share the idea with you.
However, none of these celebrations would have been much fun if, because of unsafe food handling, we all got sick. So, here are some food safety tips you can follow to help you make the most of this holiday season:
- Thaw the frozen turkey in the refrigerator. Allow one day for each five pounds of turkey. A twenty-pound turkey will take about four days to thaw. Hint: Remove neck & giblets from inside the bird as soon as possible to hasten thawing.
- Do not let any juices from the turkey come into contact with any other food.
- Wash your hands with hot, soapy water before and after handling raw poultry.
- Wash all knives, cutting boards and utensils also after using for raw poultry.
- Cook fresh turkeys within two days, thawed ones within four days.
- Never slow-cook poultry overnight.
- Use a meat thermometer that is set for an internal temperature of 165°. Remove the turkey from the oven and allow it to “rest” for 20 minutes before slicing.
- If you are traveling with food, keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Wrap hot foods in foil and heavy towels to keep it above 140°. Keep cold food in a cooler with ice packs to maintain 40° or below.
- Promptly refrigerate leftovers in shallow platters instead of one large container. Remove the turkey from the bone to help it cool quicker.
- Reheat any leftovers to an internal temperature of 165°. Gravy should be brought to a rolling boil.
- Be sure to use up your leftovers within four days.
I would like to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and remind you that Eat’n Park is closed Thanksgiving Day. But, all of our locations will be open bright and early Friday morning so we can all grab breakfast before hitting those sales!
Until next time,