Thanksgiving is a time for families to make memories, but you don’t want those memories to include the time mom gave everyone food poisoning. Careful preparation and cooking methods can help make your Thanksgiving feast memorable for the right reasons.
Wash your hands often when handling raw meat and poultry.
Be sure to wash knives and cutting boards well between preparations – especially after cutting poultry or raw meat. Do not use the same utensils or unwashed cutting boards, which can lead to cross contamination.
Experts say you should not stuff your turkey. The turkey may reach the safe cooking temperature, but the dressing inside may not. That could allow bacteria to thrive inside your bird.
Make sure your turkey is cooked to at least 160 degrees. Do not trust the built-in pop-up thermometer that comes with the turkey to tell you when it’s done.
Bacteria can develop fast - so make sure you put leftovers in the fridge as soon as the meal is over. Gravy and stuffing should be among the first to go in the refrigerator. Place leftovers on upper shelves of the fridge to facilitate better air flow and faster cooling.
Remove the turkey from the bone before storing.
Many families enjoy leftovers for days after the big meal, but experts say turkey will only stay good in the fridge for three or four days. Gravy, stuffing and casseroles have a shorter expiration date and should be eaten within one or two days unless you freeze them right after Thanksgiving dinner.