New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - November 19, 1997, New Braunfels, Texas
Herald-Zeitung g Wednesday, November 19,1997 fj 9A
The turkey, die traditional bird, is • tasty, healthy choice for holiday meals. Don’t let the risk of foodbome illness from improperly handled turkey spoil your holiday fun.
Turkey is a highly perishable food and requires special handling in thawing, preparation, cooking and storage. Follow these tips on handling turkey safety:
Frozen turkey is die best bet Look for one that is solidly frozen. Keep it frozen at 0 degrees or below until ready for thawing. Allow two to three days, depending on die size of the turkey, for drawing in the refrigerator.
In determining what size turkey to buy, allow about one pound per person or a pound and a half per person if you have hearty eaters. This will provide generous servings with enough leftovers for other meals.
Thawing a frozen turkey in die refrigerator is the preferred method for safety reasons, but you can also thaw it in cold water. The important thing is to keep d»e turkey cold while thawing to prevent bacterial growth. To thaw in the refrigerator, put the turkey in the original wrap on a tray or in a pan to catch dripping juices. An 8- to 12-pound turkey will take one to two days to thaw; a 16-to 20-pound turkey will take three to four days. For faster thawing, put the turkey package in a watertight plastic bag and submerge it in cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes to keep it cold. Depending on size, this can take from 4 to 12 hours. Do not thaw turkey on the counter. Bacteria can multiply rapidly at room temperature, and outer portions of the turkey may thaw and reach room temperatures before the inside is thawed. Small turkeys can be thawed in die microwave according to the manufacturer’s manual instructions, but the turkey should be cooked immediately after thawing.
Wash the turkey with water inside and out before cooking, removing neck and giblets from the cavity. To prevent spread of bacteria, wash hands, utensils and the sink after contact with the turkey.
Turkeys stuffed with dressing
present special problems because bacteria can easily multiply in the stuffing and cause food poisoning. Cooking stuffing separately is the safest method.
But if a stuffed bird is the choice, take special precautions.
Never stuff the bird ahead of time; stuff just prior to putting in the oven. Never stuff 4 bird that will be cooked in the microwave. It may not cook thoroughly.
Cook turkeys to an internal temperature of 180 to 185 degrees. A meat thermometer can be used to check for doneness. If die turkey is stuffed, check die stuffing for doneness. It should reach at least 165 degrees. When done, remove all stuffing from die bird immediately and put in a separate container. Harmful bacteria is more likely to grow in die stuffing if it sits in the bird cooking.
Never partially cook a turkey one day and then complete cooking later. Interrupted cooking increases the possibility of bacterial growth.
Allow the cooked turkey to sit for 20 minutes before carving.
If you choose to roast the turkey ahead of time, it needs to be deboned after cooking and refrigerated in shallow containers. The meat can be reheated in die oven for approximately IO minutes per pound. To prevent the meat from drying out, add either the leftover meat drippings, gravy or turkey broth and cover with foil.
At this time of year cooks generally call with questions about holiday pies. Foods made with eggs and mille such as pumpkin or custard pies and cheesecake must be safely baked to at least 160 degrees, then refrigerated after baking. Eggs and milk have high protein and moisture content and when these baked products are left at room temperature,
conditions are ripe for bacteria to multiply.
Fresh fruit pies, vegetables pies like squash, pumpkin and sweet potato, mince pies, chocolate and lemon chiffon pies freeze successfully. Custard pies do not ~ freeze successfully. Meringue toppings tend to toughen, shrink, separate and stick to the wrapping. Baked and unbaked pie shells and graham cracker shells may be frozen. Just use a standard recipe.
Fruit pies may be frozen either before or after baking. The crust is more tender and flaky and the flavor fresher when pies we frozen before baking.
Do not freeze lattice top pies. Do not cut steam vents in the top of frozen unbaked pies until die pies are ’ removed from the freezer. Cut the steam vents just before baking. When freezing baked pies, prepare as usual and cool thoroughly before wrapping. Wrap the pie in a moisture-vapor-proof material and seal. Cover the pie with a sturdy paper plate and place it in a paper box for added protection.
The best way to thaw frozen baked fruit pies is to remove the wrapper and heat the pie at once in a 375-degree oven for 30 minutes.
Bake frozen unbaked fruit pies the same as fresh pies, allowing IO minutes longer. Allow chiffon pies to thaw before baking. You may store frozen pies up to two to three months.
If your freezer space is limited, freeze your pie mix. Ingredients for squash, pumpkin and sweet potato pies including the milk, thickening agent, sweetening, eggs and spices, except for cloves, may be mixed together and frozen. A pint container holds enough for an 8-inch pie. Store it up to two months. When ready to use, partially thaw in the container, add other ingredients if needed and pour into a pastry-lined pie pan. Bake as usual.
Follow these tips to keep the holiday fun, not frantic.
(Patricia Anderson Rasor is an agent with the Comal County Agricultural Extension Service Office)
Bread makes a great htead-and-bui
We’re having our first Thanksgiving dinner at my daughter-in-law's parents’ house, and although the hostess politely refused my offer to contribute to the meal, I’m loathe to arrive empty-handed.
I certainly don’t want to offend, so what’s the best way to handle it?
It's always dicey to bring a dish or dessert
unbidden: yon don’t want to obligate the host to serve something that doesn’t fit with the planned mean. Ditto for flowers, which may clash with the table setting or decor. Consider baking and packaging beautiful breads, presented with the suggestion that yonr host enjoy them In the days to come. Here’s one of my favorites:
2 1/2 cnps all-purpose flour 1/2 cup granulated sager 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder I teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 cup shortening I cup canned pumpkin 2/3 cup milk 2eggs
I cnp chopped ants
Heat oven to 350°. Grease bottom only of loaf pan, 9x5x3 inches. Beat all ingredients except nuts in large bowl on low speed 15 seconds. Beat on medium speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Stir in nuts. Pour into pan. Bake I hour IS minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. For best results, wrap and refrigerate at least 8 hours before slicing. I loaf (about 20 slices).
Holiday Tip: Gift-Wrapping Breads
Wrap breads tightly in plastic wrap, then use a linen tea towel as gift wrap. Tie with ribbon or raffia and tuck in a few cinnamon sticks
or a sprig of bittersweet. A well worn or brand new bread board with an antique or shiny new bread knife adds the perfect touch.
If you’re shipping your bread gift, a shoe box covered with seasonal paper is a good container, and real popcorn an unusual packing material. Wrap the loaf tightly in foil or plastic.
(Call toll-free I-888-ASK BETTY for a free copy of my “Happy Thanksgiving " booklet.
“Ask Betty Crocker" at: One General Mills Blvd., Minneapolis. MN55426; Website: www. bettycrocker. com)
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