Biggest Food Safety Mistakes We Make When Preparing a Thanksgiving Turkey
The first step to hosting Thanksgiving is to make sure you procure yourself a turkey. You can pick up a frozen bird at any supermarket, or you can get a fresh turkey at many turkey farms throughout New Jersey.
Personally, I’ve never cooked a Thanksgiving turkey, however, I’ve seen it prepared and the mistakes that have been made during preparation.
For instance, there’s nothing worse than miscalculating how long the turkey needs to cook. You’ve got a house full of hungry people, and you realize that the bird is not going to be cooked on time. This is not a good feeling for anyone. They’re already irritated because someone started a political conversation, and now they’re hangry, not a good combination.
In a recent article, the Huffington Post talked about the biggest Thanksgiving turkey mistakes, according to food safety experts. For those fixing a turkey for the first time this holiday season, there are many mistakes that you want to avoid without exception.
Not Washing Your Hands
Health and safety manager at Tulane University, Ray Campbell, says you should “Wash your hands at least 20 to 30 seconds each time you handle the turkey and it’s in a raw state.”
Thawing Your Turkey Anywhere But The Fridge
“Bacteria, germs, and other harmful pathogens grow at an alarming rate when the turkey is thawed at room temperature.”
Cooking Frozen Turkey
Some of your turkeys will be overcooked, while others will be undercooked. Be sure to thaw all the way.
Allowing Your Thawing Turkey Juices to Drip Into Your Fridge
Place the turkey on a tray to catch any liquid and avoid cross-contamination.
Washing Your Turkey
Don’t do it. Washing your bird has more health risks than if you were not to wash it.
Stuffing the Turkey
While older generations swear by stuffing the turkey, Campbell says,“When you put a very spongy bread stuffing inside the bird, as it cooks, the water evaporates, and you get evaporative cooling, but the stuffing inside of the bird where a lot of the pathogens hideout will remain slightly cooler than the environment around it.”
Whether you’re the preparer or the guest, I hope you have a safe, satisfying, and happy holiday.