It’s that time of year again. No not Christmas, yet, but Thanksgiving. The time to meet up with family and friends to celebrate with a grand turkey feast, and perhaps catch a football game. During your time of celebration the last thing you want is for the holiday to be ruined thanks to food poisoning, the flu, or some other hazard. Luckily, we’ve got some safety tips to help you avoid trouble and enjoy your Thanksgiving week.
Wash Your Hands: Make sure you and your guests keep your hands clean.This might be a pretty obvious tip but it’s important, especially if you’re the one preparing food. Dirty hands can be a major source of germs and other contagions, including the infamous flu.
Clean Surfaces and Utensils: It’s not just your hands that should be clean. Dirty utensils and surfaces can also ruin your turkey dinner and help to spread disease.
Avoid Cross Contamination: One major reason you want to clean your hands and utensils is to avoid cross contamination between raw and cooked meat. Raw meat can contain various germs that could give your guests a stomachache, or even food poisoning.
Use your own Glasses: Thanksgiving is a time of sharing, but there are some things you still want to be keep to yourself. Consider labelling plastic cups with sharpies and glasses with stickers or charms in order to avoid spreading germs in addition to the usual cheer.
Keep an Eye on your Meal: With family around, especially young children, it can be easy to get distracted. Make sure you don’t let yourself get too distracted in order to avoid a potential fire hazard.
Buy Your Turkey with Caution: If the turkey is the star of your show then don’t risk it gobbling up your health. Avoid fresh, stuffed turkeys and instead try to buy a turkey 1-2 days before cooking. Make sure to store it properly in the fridge, or freezer if you got it earlier.
Defrost Correctly: If you thaw your turkey in the fridge be aware that you will need about a day for every 4-5lbs. If you’re planning to thaw it by submerging it in water then make sure the water is cold and expect each 1lb to take about a half hour. Don’t forget to change the water every hour! Finally, when microwaving make sure to use a microwave-safe pan, remove packaging, and carefully follow manufacturer’s instructions.
Cook Immediately and Check Temperatures: Don’t leave your turkey waiting after thawing. Make sure to cook it immediately and do not slow cook or partially cook the turkey. Remember, undercooked meat can be very hazardous, make sure to cook the turkey at 165°F or more and check with a thermometer.
Don’t Carve Too Fast: No one likes waiting, especially with mouth watering smells coming from the kitchen. Nonetheless, you should wait 20 minutes to let the juices settle before carving the turkey.
Store Leftovers Carefully
Refrigerate and Eat Promptly: No matter how big the appetites or the family, there always seems to be leftovers. Make sure to refrigerate these leftovers right away, within two hours, of the meal being served. Don’t let them get lost in your fridge later as leftovers are most safe to eat within three days of being cooked.
Remember to Reheat: When it’s time make sure to reheat the leftovers that need it to 165°F. Don’t forget to boil the gravy too!
Eat with Caution
Avoid Choking Hazards: Make sure to keep choking hazards out of the hands of children and pets. Be especially careful of turkey bones, which are prone to breaking. It’s best to keep most foods out of the reach of pets and to feed them before guests arrive.
Choking: With all the excitement of the day it is possible that someone could choke. Call 911 immediately if someone can’t breath or speak. To try to stop choking you can give 5 sharp blows to the back or, if that is unsuccessful, attempt the Heimlich maneuver, place your hands around their abdomen and give five quick upward thrusts.
Our last and final tip? Have fun! The holidays are a great time to unwind and relax, don’t let holiday stresses get to you. Keep our safety tips in mind and enjoy a safe and relaxing holiday!