WASHINGTON – In just a few days, many families will be sitting down to one of the most important meals of the season.
If they stick with tradition, there will be plenty of turkey on the table.
Like any fowl, the turkey must be prepared properly, in order to avoid illnesses.
Whether you are a gourmet chef or a turkey novice, cooking the bird properly is key to a healthy holiday.
When preparing a turkey, you need to be aware of four safety issues including thawing, preparing, stuffing and cooking to an adequate temperature.
Thawing turkeys must be kept at a safe temperature.
The danger zone is between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature range where foodborne bacteria multiply rapidly, so let it thaw in the refrigerator, not out on the counter.
When it comes to cooking the turkey, set the over temperature no lower than 325 degrees Fahrenheit and check the internal temperature as you cook it.
It must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Experts suggest checking the temperature between the leg and the cavity of the body.
Also, check it in the thickest part of the breast.
Once the meal is over, don’t leave the food out for more than two hours.
Make sure your leftovers are stored in the refrigerator but the shelf life is short.