Keep Black Friday for Shopping by Handling Thanksgiving Leftovers Safely
No one wants to have to have holiday time with family and friends overshadowed by a foodborne illness, especially after the Thanksgiving day feast. There are some easy steps to keeping the ‘happy’ in holidays. Learn more
Wash Your Hands, Not Your Poultry (or other meat)
Poultry (chicken, turkey, duck) and other meat should not be washed before cooking. Washing poultry and other meat spreads germs to other areas of the kitchen, and is not effective at removing bacteria that may be present. Learn more
Cooking the Thanksgiving Turkey: Oven, Deep-Fryer, Frozen
Family and friends will gather soon for Thanksgiving Day. While most people will sit down to a roasted turkey, there are also options for deep-frying a turkey and, for those running behind, you can place a still-frozen turkey in the oven and still end up with a meal that your family and friends will enjoy. Following are tips on successfully cooking the Thanksgiving turkey, with several routes to the table. Learn more
Safe Thawing Instructions for the Thanksgiving Turkey
Many families purchase a frozen Thanksgiving turkey, and getting the turkey to the table involves “The Big Thaw.” Turkeys must be kept at a safe temperature during “the big thaw.” While frozen, a turkey is safe indefinitely. However, as soon as it begins to thaw, bacteria present before freezing can begin to grow again. Turkey must be kept out of the “Danger Zone” during thawing; the Danger Zone is the temperature between 40 and 140°F at which bacteria can grow rapidly. There are three safe ways to thaw food: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in the microwave oven. Learn more
Brining Safely Will Bring Tender, Flavorful Meat to the Thanksgiving Table
Brining means to add flavor to the turkey by soaking in a salt/water solution (wet brining) or by rubbing the bird with salt and other seasonings. In wet brining, ingredients such as sugar, molasses, honey or corn syrup, as well as herbs are often added to the salt-water solution. Either way, the purpose of a brine is to produce a more tender and flavorful turkey, and sometimes to impart a golden color to the roasted bird. Learn more
Fresh or Frozen: Purchasing a Thanksgiving Turkey
Fresh? Frozen? Organic? Natural? Hen or Tom? There are plenty of decisions to make when purchasing your Thanksgiving turkey. Turkeys to be sold fresh are quick-chilled to 40°F or lower at the processing facility, but must not go below a temperature of 26°F. You may think that turkeys chilled to this temperature would be ‘frozen’, but they aren’t. The low temperature helps to retain quality at the market and in your home refrigerator. The noted advantage of a fresh turkey is that you skip the thawing step; the 4-5 days when the turkey is taking up room in your refrigerator. If you purchase a fresh turkey, keep it refrigerated and cook within 1 to 2 days from purchase. Learn more
You’ve got the right stuff(ing)! Tips to handle stuffing with care.
Posted on November 13, 2017
Stuffing is a big favorite around the Thanksgiving holiday. Regionally in the U.S., it’s called by various names: stuffing, filling, or dressing. The ingredients used in stuffing are often regional as well. Usually based on a bread mixture, other ingredients such as grains, pasta, fruits, vegetables, shellfish, sausage, giblets, and nuts are also used. Stuffing is spooned into the cavity of whole poultry or a pocket cut into a solid piece of meat, or spread on a flat piece of meat and then rolled. Because stuffing is an excellent medium for bacterial growth, it’s important to handle it safely and cook it to a safe minimum internal temperature as measured with a food thermometer. Here are some common questions consumers ask. Learn more
Plan Ahead to Avoid Thanksgiving Panic
The Thanksgiving holiday focuses on bringing family and friends together over a shared meal. Planning ahead will help ensure an enjoyable holiday. Tips for starting the planning process: Learn more
Canned Breads and Cakes an Unsafe Holiday Gift
Breads and cakes baked in glass jars and then sealed with canning lids are not safe to eat. Ideas for canned breads and cakes in glass jars can be found on the internet and sometimes are printed in magazines. The bread or cake is not really home-canned. The product is baked in an open glass canning jar and then covered with a canning lid (which seals due to heat); there is no actual ‘canning’ process. Learn more
Labeling Added Sugars
Sugar is sugar, right? Not so fast according to an article in Food Processing and reporting by the Center for Food Integrity. It’s getting a bit confusing with new requirements to label ‘added sugar.’ There is sugar and then there’s ‘added sugar’ which metabolically is the same as sugar, but will now be labeled differently on food packages. And even though ‘natural’ and ‘added’ sugars will be required to be labeled differently, there’s generally no way to detect or distinguish these sugars in food products – either in the laboratory or by your body. Learn more
Pressure Canner Testing is available by appointment. Please contact Deb at 608-224-3722. Our office hours are 7:45 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. We are closed major holidays. The charge is $3 per gauge.
- UW-Extension Home and Family Publications (including food and nutrition)
- UW-Extension Food Preservation Bulletins
- Food Preservation Bulletins Order Form
- Food Safety and Health – the premier resource for food safety & health information for Wisconsin consumers. Your source for up-to-date and research-tested information on food preservation, food safety, starting a small food business, and hot topics in food safety and health.
- Smart Start: Guiding Your Child to a Lifetime of Healthy Eating
Other Helpful Links:
- Fight BAC!
- Be Food Safe
- National Center for Home Food Preservation University of Georgia
- Database of Food Preservation Information Pennsylvania State University
- Links to Government Websites with Nutrition Information
- Gateway to US Government Food Safety Information
- Searchable Nutrient Composition Database From US Dept of Agriculture (USDA)
- Food and Nutrition Information From the USDA
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (Part of the National Institutes for Health)
- Information from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- National Dietetic Association
- Meat HACCP – research-based help for small meat and poultry processors. Key resources on this site include: THERM a web-based program for evaluating deviations in raw product processing or handling; HACCP Model Plans – model plans jointly developed by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (Food Safety division) and the University of Wisconsin-Extension for use by small and very small meat processors throughout the state.