Over the Holidays as we celebrate with family and friends, we may be preparing an appetizer for a buffet, the main entrée or all the fixings for a family meal, or bringing a dish to pass for an office potluck.
Our hectic Holiday pace can lead to food-safety shortcuts and errors that could cause Norovirus, a foodborne illness with flu-like symptoms, that folks sometimes experience following a Holiday gathering.
Outbreaks of Norovirus usually occur when someone eats food or drinks liquids that were handled by an infected person who did not wash hands properly. People can also become infected after touching contaminated surfaces or serving utensils.
When it comes to holiday leftovers, many of us secretly relish that slice of cold turkey or ham the next morning, and how reheating those candied yams just enriches their flavor. Before you take that first bite, it’s important to ensure the leftovers you love stay safe, edible and bacteria-free.
“They’re a great way to stretch your food budget,” says food scientist Kantha Shelke, Ph.D, a representative for the Institute of Food Technologists. “Properly handling and storing leftovers can help ensure your family gets the most value and enjoyment out of the food you’ve prepared.”
Shelke offers these tips for managing leftovers:
On Thanksgiving, many of us will take on the challenge of cooking 12-20-plus pounds of poultry. The basics of roasting a turkey at 325 degrees for approximately 15 minutes per pound are pretty simple. But, there is more to the safe preparation of the turkey.
Before purchasing the turkey, assess your freezer and refrigerator space. Is there ample freezer space to store a frozen turkey and enough refrigerator space to thaw a turkey?
Thawing a frozen turkey takes time. In the refrigerator allow 24 hours (or more) for each 4-5 pounds of turkey. Hold no more than 1-2 days after thawing. You can speed up the process by thawing in cold water. Place the turkey in its original packaging in cold water, allowing 30 minutes per pound to thaw. Change the water every 30 minutes. Cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed. Do not thaw frozen food on the counter.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics the average person gains 2-3 pounds during the holiday season. Between the comfort food, alcohol and the cold weather, the holiday season makes it so easy to gain and keep that weight on. The holiday season would not be the same without the pies, potatoes or stuffing so keep reading for tips on how to keep your waistline trim during the holiday months while still enjoying everything they have to offer:
• Golden rule for the holidays: Moderation. Eating healthy is not about depriving yourself. Have a sliver of pie, and a spoonful of stuffing if you really want some, just remember 2-3 inches thick of pie and a half cup of stuffing are the appropriate portions.
• Do not skip the meals before the big holiday meal, especially breakfast. When you don’t eat breakfast, it sets your body up for being hungrier later and causes you to eat more throughout the day. Have some yogurt, oatmeal or fresh fruit to make better choices through the day.
Venison jerky is an easy to make flavorful snack. Remember when processing any meat, food safety must be at the forefront. In recent years, illnesses caused by Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7 from homemade jerky have raised questions about the safety of traditional drying methods.
It is important that the meat strips reach a sufficient temperature in the drying process to kill harmful pathogens that may cause
foodborne illness. A food dehydrator, or your oven, should maintain a temperature of at least 145-155 degrees F for 4-6 hours when drying meat. But, to ensure the meat strips reach a temperature where pathogens are destroyed, the University of Wisconsin recommends heating the jerky (after drying) in a preheated 275-degree F oven for 10 minutes. This method, as a final step in the drying process, achieves an extra margin of safety and produces a quality jerky product.