Remember food safety when prepping for Thanksgiving meals

By Chris Swick
November 20, 2015

It seems hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is only one week away.

Jana McKinney, McPherson County Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent, says four rules apply as you prepare your menus for the holiday: clean, separate, cook and chill.

“We want to make sure that things are clean when we start cooking,” McKinney said. “Separate, so there's no cross-contamination. Cook it to the right temperatures. And, when we're done cooking it, we want to make sure that we put it away in the refrigerator.”

The accepted length of time for leftovers to be left in the fridge without needing to be frozen is about three to four days.

As for the turkey, itself, McKinney says the bird will take a while to defrost, but there are a couple of ways you can use to help facilitate that.

“You can put it in the refrigerator and let it thaw one or two days,” McKinney said. “Or you can do it under cold water. Wash, rinse, sanitize your sink and then put your turkey in there under running water and let it thaw that way.”

McKinney says, if you use a microwave to thaw your turkey, make sure you put it in the oven right away, as it may have some hot spots. She also discourages you from cooking it frozen, as it will turn out dry in spots and won't be to your satisfaction.