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Turkey Talk

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November 8, 2022
Brandi Silver

This is Brandi Silver, FCS agent with the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Burke County Center. It’s time to talk turkey!

Thanksgiving will be here before we know it so I want you to begin thinking about food safety to avoid any turkey mishaps. All poultry can carry a common type of bacteria known as Salmonella. Properly handling, thawing, cooking and storing your turkey can drastically decrease the risk of causing a food-borne illness.

The first and most important step is properly thawing the turkey. The best way to thaw your bird is in the refrigerator. You will need 24 hours of thawing time for every 4 to 5 pounds. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to complete this process before it is time to prepare the turkey. Leave the turkey in the original wrapper and place in a pan or tray to catch the juices as it thaws. This will help prevent cross-contamination. It is NEVER safe to thaw turkey or other meat on the counter at room temperature.

Please wash hands, sinks, counters, utensils and platters thoroughly with soap and hot water before and after working with raw turkey. Do not wash the turkey! This can splash potentially contaminated droplets and juices onto the countertop, ready-to-eat foods and utensils.

If you plan to stuff your turkey, do so just before cooking. The internal temperature of the stuffing should reach 165 F. Invest in a meat thermometer this holiday season and do not rely on the pre inserted pop-up thermometer.

This has been Brandi Silver with the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Burke County Center. For more information, contact us 764-9480.