THANKSGIVING, Wow it will be here soon. Just a little over a week and a half now. Thanksgiving would not be the same without turkeys, yet very few people take the time to learn how to handle them properly. Any poultry needs special attention when handling. Thawing a frozen turkey the proper way is important to the safety of your family.
Never thaw a turkey at room temperature because this promotes the growth of dangerous bacteria. The safest way to thaw a turkey is to thaw it in the refrigerator. You should do this with the turkey still in its own unopened wrapper breast facing up and placed on a tray. The accepted rule of thumb for time is 1 day refrigerator thawing for every four to five pounds of turkey. Thawing in cold water is also acceptable.
In the refrigerator
Thaw the turkey in its original wrap on a tray placed in the bottom section of the refrigerator.
Allow about 24 hours of defrost time for every 5 pounds of turkey. Example: a 20 pound turkey will take 4 to 5 days to thaw.
Do not thaw on the counter. Thawing at room temperature increases the risk of bacteria growth.
Allow 30 minutes per pound to defrost a turkey in cold water. Do not use warm or hot water
At room temperature, bacteria on the turkey can grow rapidly when the outside portion of the bird begins to thaw. These bacteria can multiply to dangerously high levels producing toxins that cooking may not destroy.
In cold water
Thawing in cold water is safe too. Submerge the bird in its wrapper in a deep sink of cold water and change the water every 30 minutes to keep it cold.
GENERAL THANKSGIVING SAFETY TIPS
Start holiday cooking with a clean stove and oven and avoid those grease fires now.
Keep the kitchen off-limits to young children and adults that are not helping with food preparations to lessen the possibility of kitchen mishaps.
When cooking, do not wear clothing with loose sleeves or dangling jewelry. The clothing can catch on fire and the jewelry can catch on pot handles, causing spills and burns.
Cook on the back burners when possible and turn pot handles in so they don’t extend over the edge of the stove.
Never leave cooking unattended. If you must leave the kitchen while cooking, turn off the stove or have someone else watch what is being cooked.
Keep Thanksgiving decorations and kitchen clutter away from sources of direct heat.
Watch those knives in your silverware drawers, just don’t reach in and grab, you may get sliced.
A 2 1/2 lb. class ABC multi-purpose dry chemical extinguisher is recommended. Know how to use your fire extinguisher.
Keep your family and overnight guests safe with a working smoke detector on every level of the house, in every bedroom, and in the halls adjacent to the bedrooms. Overnight guests should be instructed on the fire escape plan and designated meeting place for your home.
Immediately wash hands, utensils, equipment and surfaces that have come in contact with raw turkey.
HOW TO PREVENT SERIOUS INJURIES OR ACCIDENTS WITH TURKEY FRIERS:
• Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors and away from buildings and other material that burns.
• Never use turkey fryers on wooden decks or in or near houses, garages, or overhanging objects.
• Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
• Use peanut oil it has a higher flashpoint to prevent overheating and fires! (Make sure no one has a peanut allergy that will be dining with you first!!)
• Oil temperature should be no hotter than 350 degrees.
• Check the oil temperature frequently.
• If oil begins to smoke, immediately turn gas supply OFF.
• Make sure there is at least 2 feet of space between the liquid propane tank and fryer burner.
• Place the liquid propane gas tank and fryer so that any wind blows the heat of the fryer away from the gas tank.
• Center the pot over the burner on the cooker.
• Completely thaw (USDA says 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds) and dry turkey before cooking. Partially frozen and/or wet turkeys can produce excessive hot oil splatter when added to the oil.
• Follow the manufacturer's instructions to determine the proper amount of oil to add. If those are not available:
1. Place turkey in pot
2. Fill with water until the turkey is covered by about 1/2 inch of water
3. Remove and dry turkey
4. Mark water level. Dump water, dry the pot, and fill with oil to the marked level.
• Never leave the fryer un-attended. If you don't watch the fryer, the oil will heat until it catches fire.
• Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use. Even after use, never allow children or pets
near the turkey fryer. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot, hours after use.
• To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.
• Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
• Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water don't mix and water causes oil to spill over, causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.
• Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby.
• Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. Remember to use your best judgment when attempting to fight a fire. If the fire is manageable, use an all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call 9-1-1 for help.
• Lids and handles can become extremely hot. Use well-insulated pot holders or oven mitts when handling any part of the aluminum pot.
• Follow the manufacturer's directions.