Monday, November 9, 2009

Thanksgiving Turkey Safety

November is a very busy month for me. As always, I am participating in the National Novel Writing Month project. I am having a minor surgery later in the month, I have to work on the marketing and publicity for my novel that will be released in December (more on that later), and of course there's Thanksgiving. Needless to say, I may not be posting as often on here this month as I usually do.

I thought this would be a good time to write about preparing your Thanksgiving turkey. I remember my first attempt at baking a turkey all by myself. Like many people, I forgot to take the giblets out and they baked right along with the turkey. That was almost 26 years ago and in that time, I figure I have baked over fifty turkeys. Now, that is a lot of poultry. I've learn so much from those many years of baking and I would like to pass along a few tips on preparing your turkey safely.

1. Thawing a turkey at room temperature or in warm water promotes the rapid growth of bacteria. It's best to thaw it in the refrigerator. Calculate your thawing time by figuring 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey.

2. When you're ready to bake it, remove all of the netting and wrapping from the turkey. Remove the giblets and neck bone (check both ends of the turkey) from the body cavity. Discard the giblets, if not using. If you do plan on using the giblets, rinse them in cold water, pat dry and refrigerate until ready to use.

3. Thoroughly rinse your turkey in cold water inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels. After handling a raw turkey, your hands will be contaminated. Do not touch any other food until you have washed your hands with soap and water.

These are just a few tips for making sure your turkey is prepared the safest way possible. If you have any questions about baking your turkey, I would recommend visiting the Butterball web site. I found that they even have a video on there showing how to carve a cooked turkey. That is something I wish I had seen the first time I served a turkey. Butterball also has a tip line that you can call with your questions, 1-800-288-8372 for residents of the U.S. and Canada through November and December.

Good luck with Thanksgiving cooking this year and don't forget to check a few days before to make sure you have all the ingredients that you will need.

Happy Thanksgiving,

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