It is very important that you take the necessary steps for you and your family to enjoy a safe holiday meal. Here are a few tips to help you prepare your holiday turkey.
1. Safely Thaw Your Turkey
- There are three different ways you can thaw your turkey
- Never thaw your turkey by leaving it out on the counter. When the turkey is left out at room temperature for more than two hours, its temperature becomes unsafe as it moves into the danger zone between 40°F and 140°F, where bacteria can grow rapidly.
2. Safely Handle Your Turkey
- Raw poultry can contaminate anything it touches with harmful bacteria. Follow the four steps to food safety – cook, clean, chill, and separate – to prevent the spread of bacteria to your food and family.
3. Safely Cook Your Turkey
- There are many different ways to cook your turkey, but no matter which method you choose ALWAYS make sure whole turkeys reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F.
- Use a meat thermometer to measure the temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.
4. Store Your Leftovers Safely
- Cut the turkey into small pieces; refrigerate stuffing and turkey separately in shallow containers within 2 hours of cooking.
- Use leftover turkey and stuffing within 3-4 days or freeze these foods.
- Reheat thoroughly to a temperature of 165 °F or until hot and steaming.