Pumpkin Pie in a Bag

Thanksgiving food safety starts at the grocery store. 

  • DO clean your grocery cart.  Use those sanitary wipes next to the cart corral. 
  • DO start with the room-temperature foods.  Pick up cold and frozen foods at the end of the trip working to keep those foods out of the temperature danger zone - 41°F to 135°F- where bacteria likes to grow.
  • DO organize your cart – keep raw protein separate from fresh produce.  Keep juices from raw protein from dripping on other foods helps avoid the spread of foodborne germs.
  • DO check out and wrap or bag your raw protein wrapped separately. 
  • DO thaw your turkey and cook it to an internal temperature of 165°F.

  • DO use a calibrated food thermometer to check three spots to ensure this temperature is reached throughout:  the thickest part of the breast, the innermost part of the thigh and the innermost part of the wing.

Turkey shopping:

  • Buying fresh?  Make your purchase only one to two days out.  This length of time a fresh, whole turkey can be safely kept in the fridge before cooking.
  • Buying frozen?  Make your purchase ahead of time, knowing that thawing in the fridge may take a few days.  For a 5 -12 pound turkey, it will take 1-3 days.  For a 12-16 pound turkey, it will take 3-4 days.  For a 16-20 pound turkey, it will take 4-5 days.
  • DON’T leave your prepared dished out at room temperature.  Cold and hot dishes left in the temperature danger zone for 2 or more hours should be thrown out, not eaten or saved for later. 
  • DON’T allow friends and family to refill their plates using personal utensils.  This is a surefire way of spreading foodborne germs.  Instead, provide separate serving utensils for each dish.
  • Finally, discard or freeze Thanksgiving leftovers after three to four days in the fridge. 

For more food safety tips, visit:  www.food.unl.edu

 Source:  Tips have been provided by Tara Dunker, Nebraska Extension Educator located in Gage County.

 Learn how to cook your Thanksgiving turkey.  A short online video by Wyoming Extension is availabe which shows how to correctly cook your turkey using different methods.  

  • Cooking stuffing safely:  The stuffed meat, poultry, or stuffing in a casserole should be placed immediately after preparation in an oven set no lower than 325 °F. A food thermometer should be used to ensure that the stuffing reaches the safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F. If the stuffing is inside whole poultry, take the poultry out of the oven and let it stand 20 minutes before removing the stuffing. Refrigerate cooked poultry and stuffing within 2 hours. For meat containing small amounts of stuffing (for example: stuffed pork chops, veal breasts, or chicken breasts), meat and stuffing may be left intact when refrigerating the leftovers.