By Roberta Duyff, MS, RD, FAND
It’s nearly Thanksgiving and time to talk turkey — turkey safety, that is!
For your meal to bring only compliments, keep turkey flavorful and safe.
Keep clean. Before and after handling raw turkey and its parts, always wash your hands in warm, soapy water. Keep your utensils and work surfaces clean, too.
Thaw safely — in the fridge, on a clean tray, for 24 hours per 5 pounds of whole turkey, or in cold water that’s changed every 30 minutes.
Stuff with care. Cooking dressing separately is safest; fill the turkey cavity with onion or apples and herbs instead. If you prefer to stuff, fill the bird loosely just before roasting: ¾ cup stuffing per pound of turkey.
Cook thoroughly in no less than a 325°F oven. (No partial precooking!) Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness: 180°F in the thickest part of the thigh muscle, not touching bone, and 165°F for the stuffing.
Serve hot, and finish serving within two hours of roasting. Guests late? Keep cooked turkey hot in a 200°F oven, with the internal temperature at least 140°F.
Store leftovers safely. First remove the stuffing and debone. Refrigerate shallow containers within two hours of cooking. Eat refrigerated leftover stuffing within two days and turkey within four days.
Roberta Duyff, MS, RD, FAND, is author of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Complete Food and Nutrition Guide and 365 Days of Healthy Eating.
Published February 13, 2014