Keeping holiday food safe
As you prepare for your holiday guests and the foods they will enjoy, please take precautions against food born illnesses.
Thanks to Jim Langcuster, an information specialist, and Dr. Jean Weese, a food scientist, both with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Auburn, we are going to you a few helpful tips to prevent food illnesses.
The first tip is to wash your hands before handling food.
Be sure to wash a full 20 seconds before and after handling food like raw meats and items typically associated with bacteria.
Using ant-bacterial, bottled pump-action soap will help prevent contamination because you will not have to actually touch the bottle or the bar.
If you decide to use bar soap, it should be placed in a well-drained dish.
A little drop of bleach in your sink water is also a good way to cleanse bacteria from this often overlooked surface.
Be careful not to let raw meats touch uncooked salads and fruits, and be sure not to use the same cutting board for meats and other food.
Avoid recipes that use raw eggs, and make sure all egg dishes are thoroughly cooked.
Be sure that you wash cloths in the kitchen with hot water before using them again to wipe off countertops.
Using paper towels makes it even easier to ensure that no germs are spread.
It's important that you make sure that your Christmas turkey reaches 160 to 165 degrees before serving.
Do not let drippings come in contact with other foods if you thawed your turkey in the refrigerator.
When microwaving food, make sure that there are no cold spots in the food.
Remember to refrigerate all perishables within two hours, and try not to overload your refrigerator with leftovers because air needs to circulate in order to keep things fresh. It's important that you keep your refrigerator on 40 degrees as well.
We hope these tips will help you have a merry and well Christmas.
Suzanne Langcuster is a food writer for the Franklin County Times.