Survival Guide: Holiday Kitchen Safety Tips
It's easy to let daily household tasks slip during the hustle and bustle of the holidays, but this is a prime season to keep your kitchen;and your family and friends;safe and healthy! These simple tips will keep your kitchen merry and bright this holiday season.
Safely Thawing and Cooking a Turkey
- Never thaw a turkey at room temperature.
- Thaw a frozen turkey in the refrigerator approx. one week prior to cooking. Allow approx. 24 hours of defrosting for each five pounds.
- Always wash your hands when cooking with turkey.
- Ensure that all surfaces that have been in contact with the turkey are sanitized using a mild bleach solution: two drops bleach to one cup of water.
- Use a separate cutting board to prepare the turkey.
- When cooking the turkey, use a meat probe thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 85°C (185°F) and stuffing temperature should reach a minimum temperature of 74°C (165°F).
- Food should never stay out at room temperature for more than two hours. Ensure that foods are kept warm (above 60°C) and cold foods cold (below 4°C).
- Ensure that leftovers are refrigerated as soon as possible to minimize exposure in the danger zone (zone between 4 and 60°C). Store leftovers in shallow containers so they can cool in a quick fashion, then cover the food to prevent cross-contamination.
- When re-heating leftovers, ensure that the minimal temperature reaches 74°C (165°F) and ensure that gravy is brought to a rolling boil. Do not leave leftovers in the refrigerator for more than 3 days.
Bringing Food to a Potluck
- Ensure that cold foods are stored at 4°C in coolers and are properly covered.
- Ensure that when transporting hot foods to an event that the temperature is maintained at 60°C.
Think Double Duty
How charming would those liqueur glasses look cupping a floral bloom? Place these mini-arrangements in unexpected places, like beside the kitchen sink, in a powder room or on a bedside table. Now that's spreading holiday cheer!
Christmas Clutter: Plan For It!
A few baskets arranged on the kitchen counter are a perfect way to keep organized during a busy holiday season. Holiday linen looks perfect neat and is ready to use, all those Christmas letters that you have yet will be kept safely until you have a moment to read them.
Bunches of Greenery, Festive Fruits, and Floral Stems
These are a great excuse to keep those counters neat and tidy. Reward yourself for keeping your counters organized with a holiday floral arrangement. Go ahead, be merry.
Cooking and the Holidays Go Hand-In-Hand
Get the jump on the madness by organizing your cupboards. Break down your kitchen into three basic zones: food storage, food preparation and the cooking area. Group all related items into those three zones and remember: if you haven't used in last year consider donating it.
With all that extra cooking, remember to check that your fire extinguisher is fully charged and remember to store it in the cooking zone.