Food tips for the holiday season, including how to safely thaw a turkey and information on selling treats, were recently shared by Fayette County Public Health (FCPH).
Defrost a turkey
Turkeys, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website, are safe “indefinitely” as long as they remain frozen. Once the turkeys begin to thaw, bacteria that might have been present before they were frozen can continue to grow again. The three safe ways to thaw a turkey are in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in a microwave.
To thaw in the refrigerator, which is the USDA recommended method, allow about 24 hours for each 4 to 5 pound slice of turkey. Once thawed, the turkey can be safely stored in the refrigerator for an additional 1 to 2 days. This is the recommended method because the turkey thaws at a constant and safe temperature.
To thaw in cold water, the turkey should be immersed in cold water, the water being changed every 30 minutes. As soon as the turkey is thawed, it should be cooked.
To thaw in the microwave, use the defrost function according to the weight of the turkey and cook the turkey as soon as it is thawed.
The website explains, “Before you commit to thawing your turkey in the microwave, check your owner’s manual for the size of turkey that will suit your microwave, minutes per pound, and power level. to use to defrost a turkey. Remove all outer packaging and place the turkey on a microwave-safe dish to catch any juices that may leak out. Use the defrost function by weight. As a general rule of thumb, allow 6 minutes per pound when thawing a turkey in the microwave. Make sure to rotate it a few times, and even turn it over, during the defrosting process. If the turkey begins to cook instead of just thawing, let it rest for about 5 minutes before resuming thawing. Halfway through thawing, you may want to cover the tips of the wings and drumsticks with a small piece of foil to protect them from microwaves and prevent them from cooking.
Thawing techniques that are not recommended, according to the USDA, include thawing a turkey on the counter or back porch, in a brown paper grocery bag or plastic garbage bag, using the dishwasher with or without water, or any other method that is not via the refrigerator, cold water or microwave.
Come Thanksgiving, if the turkey is still frozen or glazed, it can be cooked from a frozen state. The website explains that it will take at least 50% longer to cook a solidly frozen turkey than a thawed turkey, but it’s perfectly safe to cook it this way. A food thermometer can be used to make sure the turkey is cooked through. Once the innermost part of the thigh, the innermost part of the wing, and the thickest part of the breast reads at or above 165 degrees Fahrenheit, the turkey is done.
Sale of homemade treats and treats for the holiday season
According to the FCPH, Ohio law allows certain items to be made in family kitchens and sold without a requirement for inspection or licensing under the Cottage Food Act. While some can be made and sold under this law, not all homemade products are exempt.
Some examples of foods that are not allowed due to a higher risk of foodborne illness are puddings, cheesecakes, pumpkin pies, cream pies, cream pies , etc.
Here is a list of authorized foods shared by the FCPH:
-Not potentially dangerous bakery products (such as cookies, breads, brownies, cakes, fruit pies, etc.)
– Candy (including no-bake cookies, chocolate-coated pretzels, or similar non-perishable chocolate-coated items)
-Granola (including granola bars and candy dipped granola bars; if the fruit used is to be commercially dried)
-Popcorn (including flavored popcorn, kettle corn, popcorn scoops, caramel corn, but does not include unpopped popcorn)
– Baked donuts without filling
– Mixtures of dry cereals and nut snacks with seasonings
– Roasted coffee (coffee can be whole bean or ground)
-Dry baking mixes (for making items such as bread and cookies)
-Dry herbs and dry herb mixtures
-Dry seasoning blends (such as dry barbecue rubs and seafood boils)
-Mixtures of dry teas
– Flavored honey
-Dried soup mixes containing store-bought dried vegetables, beans, grains and seasonings.
The Artisanal food production operation The online document explains that a “cottage food production operation” is someone who makes food in their own home for sale that is not potentially dangerous. The document provides information for that person such as – foods must be labeled correctly, otherwise they will be considered mislabelled or adulterated.
Contact reporter Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.