CDC: How to safely cook your Thanksgiving turkey

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(TUSEN DETROIT) – The Centers for Disease Control is reminding people how to safely cook turkey for Thanksgiving.

Here are six tips they shared:

Store turkey properly

  • Frozen raw turkey should be stored in a freezer at 0˚F or below.
  • The CDC says not to store turkey in a place where the temperature can’t be closely monitored, such as in a trunk, basement, on the porch, or in the snow.

Defrost turkey safely

The CDC shared three methods for safely thawing turkey.

Defrost turkey in the refrigerator:

  • Store the turkey in its original packaging and place in a container before refrigerating. The container will keep the turkey juice from dripping into the refrigerator.

Thaw turkey in cold water:

  • Place the turkey in a leak-proof plastic bag before putting it in the sink. The bag prevents the turkey juice from spreading in the kitchen and keeps the turkey from absorbing water.
  • Cover the turkey completely with cold water.
  • Thaw for 30 minutes for each pound of turkey.
  • If the turkey is thawed in cold water, it should be cooked immediately afterwards.
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Defrost turkey in the microwave:

  • According to the CDC, people should follow the microwave manufacturer’s instructions about defrosting turkey
  • If a turkey is thawed in the microwave, it should be cooked immediately afterwards

Handle turkey correctly

The CDC says raw turkey can contaminate anything it touches, so it’s important to handle the turkey correctly to avoid spreading harmful germs.

  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling turkey.
  • Provide a cutting board for raw turkey and a separate one for other foods.
  • Never put cooked foods or raw products on the same plate as raw turkey.
  • Wash utensils with hot, soapy water after cooking raw turkey before using on subsequent foods.
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Cook the stuffing thoroughly

  • According to the CDC, it’s safest to cook stuffing in a baking dish.
  • Once the stuffing in the turkey is done, put the stuffing in just before cooking the turkey and use a food thermometer to make sure the center of the stuffing reaches 165°F.

Cook turkey to a safe temperature

  • Check this by inserting a food thermometer into the thickest part of the breast, where the body and thigh meet, facing the thigh, and where the body and wing meet, facing the wing. Avoid the bone.
  • Even if the turkey has a pop-up timer, still use a food thermometer to make sure it’s cooked safely.
  • Make sure the stuffing reaches 165°F when you cook in the turkey and allow the turkey to stand for 20 minutes after cooking. This allows the filling to cook longer and also makes it easier to cut.
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Have leftovers

  • Refrigerate leftovers at 40°F or colder within 2 hours of cooking to avoid food poisoning. Leftovers that were in temperatures over 90°F, such as in a hot car, should be refrigerated within 1 hour.
  • Cut large pieces of turkey or roast into smaller pieces to help them cool faster. Food can be refrigerated or placed in the freezer before it has cooled.
  • Eat cooked turkey and dishes made with it, such as soup or casserole, within 3 to 4 days. To keep the turkey longer, store it in the freezer.
  • All leftovers should be reheated to 165°F before serving or eating.

For more information on food safety when it comes to leftovers, visit here.

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