Make us your home page
Instagram

Thanksgiving safety tips: How to store leftovers, cook stuffing, refrigerate a turkey and more

There is a reason that so many of us don't do our own taxes. With something we do only once a year, the details don't stick in our brains. So it goes with Thanksgiving turkey. Wait, is it 20 minutes per pound in a 350-degree oven? And when do I start basting?

Along with turkey cooking particulars, it's good to be reminded of holiday food safety fundamentals. This is where Amy Simonne, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences food safety expert, comes in.

Her answer to the big controversial question of the moment: To wash your poultry or not?

"It is not recommended because it causes more contamination in your kitchen. Minimize handling those products in the kitchen before cooking."

More safety fundamentals for the big day:

• Fresh turkeys can be kept in the refrigerator for only one or two days, but after that, they must be cooked or frozen. Store a fresh turkey in a pan in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook it.

• To save time, you can prepare the stuffing ingredients in advance. Keep wet and dry ingredients separated — and the wet ingredients refrigerated — until just before you cook the stuffing. The safest way to make stuffing is to cook it separately, not inside the turkey. If you do choose to stuff the turkey, pack the stuffing loosely, and cook the turkey immediately afterward. Remove the stuffing from the turkey about 20 minutes after the turkey is done cooking.

• If the turkey, stuffing and gravy or other perishable foods are left out at room temperature longer than 2 hours or for 1 hour when the temperature is above 90 degrees, discard them.

• After you've cooked and served the meal, you can divide the products into small portions and keep them in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

• Leftover meat should be eaten within 3 to 4 days; gravy, within 1 to 2 days. You can freeze leftovers, but make sure you eat them within 6 months.

For more questions on turkey or other holiday foods, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline toll-free at 1-888-674-6854.

Laura Reiley, Times food critic

Thanksgiving safety tips: How to store leftovers, cook stuffing, refrigerate a turkey and more 11/18/15 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 10:50am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Tuesday May 30

    Events

    Finding Neverland: The hit Broadway show follows the story behind playwright J.M. Barrie as he struggles to find inspiration to create Peter Pan, until he meets four young brothers and their beautiful widowed mother. 7:30 p.m., Carol Morsani Hall at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, …

    Mitchell Wray, Jordan Cole, Finn Faulconer and Ben Krieger as the Llewelyn Davies Boys in the National Tour of Finding Neverland. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
  2. Big rents and changing tastes drive dives off St. Pete's 600 block

    Music & Concerts

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kendra Marolf was behind the lobby bar of the State Theatre, pouring vodka sodas for a weeknight crowd packed tight for Bishop Briggs, the latest alternative artist to sell out her club.

    Sam Picciano, 25, left, of Tampa and Molly Cord 24, Palm Harbor shop for record albums for a friend at Daddy Kool Records located on the 600 block of Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, Florida on Saturday, May 20, 2017. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
  3. Restaurant review: Features Gastropub in Riverview is fine as movie theater fare, but unimpressive otherwise

    Food & Dining

    Movies aren't exactly dying. Despite all the sturm und drang of predictions that Netflix and streaming videos would kill the cinema, global box office receipts hit $38.6 billion in 2016, a 1 percent gain over the previous year. But that doesn't mean going to the cinema is precisely what it was a generation …

    Soft pretzels are displayed with a beer at the Features Gastropub in the Riverview 14 GDX  theater in Gibsonton, Fla. on Thursday, May 25, 2017.   The 5,900-square-foot Features Gastropub open in the . This element of the project is the brainchild of Philadelphia chef Brian Duffy, who appears frequently on NBC's The Today Show and the Spike TV show Bar Rescue
  4. From the food editor: I love that food is a huge part of Master of None's transcendent second season

    Cooking

    Deep into a late-night binge of Master of None, Aziz Ansari's Netflix series that returned for its second season May 12, I realized I was laying as far back on my couch as possible, blanket clutched up to my chin, eyebrows permanently raised.

    Dev (Aziz Ansari) and Arnold (Eric Wareheim) eat lunch in Modena, Italy, in the second season of "Master of None."
  5. Three 'MasterChef' contestants from the Tampa Bay area talk cooking inspiration and more

    Cooking

    When Gordon Ramsay's MasterChef begins its eighth season tonight, the Tampa Bay area will have three contestants to root for. A marketing director from Tampa, a dentist and Palm Harbor native, and an employee for a steel supply company are all trying to impress a trio of judges with their home-cooking skills.

    Jeff Philbin, from Tampa, left, Palm Harbor native Paola Annoni Patel, and Danny Flores, of Land 'O Lakes, will be competing on the season premiere of "Masterchef."