Turkey tips for a healthy holiday Saint John NB

Traditionally, the Thanksgiving celebration includes feasting upon all the gifts of nature fresh from the farm.

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Turkey tips for a healthy holiday

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(NC)-Traditionally, the Thanksgiving celebration includes feasting upon all the gifts of nature fresh from the farm. Sharing in this harvest abundance may inspire a special dinner for two, a Sunday supper with your kids, or a grand feast for a large number of family and friends.

If you're planning a multi-course meal, you might consider spending a few minutes to review the following tips from Ontario.ca/EatRight to keep your kitchen safe and your guests healthy.

According to EatRight Ontario, safe food handling applies to more than just the preparation of meat and poultry. Other items - such as unpasteurized dairy products, fruit juice, cider, plus recipes that contain raw eggs - can cause illness.

In Canada, more than two million cases of food poisoning are reported each year. Most are not serious, although even mild symptoms can include an upset stomach or diarrhea. Toxins, bacteria, and parasites may already be present in the food item, or you may unknowingly contaminate it with improper handling.

Here are a few simple food rules from Ontario.ca/EatRight:

• Chill, or refrigerate promptly

Bacteria grow rapidly at room temperature so don't leave turkey and other meat sitting on the kitchen counter or in the car. Keep unfrozen raw turkey and other raw meats in the refrigerator until you are ready to handle and cook them. Foods left out of the refrigerator for more than two hours should be discarded.

• Keep clean

Wash your hands before and after touching raw turkey and meat. Thoroughly wash dishes, cutting boards, counters and utensils with hot water and detergent, or in the dishwasher. Dishcloths used for wiping utensils, pots and pans can harbour many bacteria, and should be changed daily. Any utensils that have come into contact with potentially hazardous foods or contaminated dishrags should be thoroughly washed before using again.

• Separate ? don't cross-contaminate

Take care that juices and marinades from meat and turkey do not drip onto other foods. Keep raw meats and turkey separate from cooked meats in the refrigerator. Never put cooked turkey on an unwashed plate.

• Cook to proper temperature

Cook poultry until the internal temperature in the breast or thigh is 85°C (185°F). The temperature of the separately cooked stuffing should reach 74°C (165°F).

Turkey is likely to be done when the meat is tender to a fork or no longer pink. Slow cooking is not advised for large pieces of fresh or frozen meat because the temperature may be insufficient to kill hazardous bacteria.

• Store properly

Left over turkey should be de-boned and the meat placed in small packages in the refrigerator for more rapid and uniform cooling. If not de-boned, the leftover meat should be cooled to below 4°C (40°F) in less than four hours. Use up refrigerated leftovers within two to three days. Food should be reheated until it is piping hot throughout before serving.

- News Canada