Don't Invite Bacteria Over For The Holidays
By Lee Dobbins
The holidays is a time to entertain guests with food and festivity is a but if you do not store, prepare and cook your food properly you may end up with one guest you don't want - bacteria.
Improper food handling can result in your food becoming a great host for bacteria which can cause food poisoning and make you and your guests sick. Bacteria is all around us every day but you can't smell, see or taste it so you need to be sure to prepare your food properly so that it does not harbor harmful bacteria.
Proper food handling starts when you purchase your food in the grocery store. You've probably seen meats in Styrofoam packages with the juices leaking out. These juices can contain bacteria! You want to be sure to put these meets in a bag by themselves so that the juices don't contaminate your fruits and vegetables or even your hands. Be sure to the meats in the cart at the end of your trip so that they will be thought of refrigeration for the least amount of time. When you get them home and pack them first and get them into the refrigerator right away.
When preparing your food you should always wash your hands before and after touching any meat. Also be aware that raw meat juices can get on your counters and cutting board so be sure to wash them with an antibacterial wash after you have prepared the meat. If you are grilling, and you put your raw meat on a plate to bring it to the grill, don't use that same plate to bring the cooked meat to the table as it can have harmful levels of bacteria on it from the raw meat.
Believe it or not, we carry harmful organisms on our skin that can produce a toxin would spread to food. While normal cooking destroys bacteria It does not destroy his talks and so this is another reason that it's very important to wash her hands with soap and water before you do any food preparation.
Defrosting can be a big problem. While it should be done in refrigerator, most people are impatient and leave their turkey or other meats out on the counter to defrost. This is a baf idea as a turkey defrosted on the counter instead of in the refrigerator can contain bacteria levels that are high enough to harm humans. Since the growth rate of bacteria speeds up between 40°F and 140°F, defrosting you meet in the refrigerator can allow it to be defrosted in a controlled environment where the bacteria growth has slowed. Another method is to defrosted in a sink full of water but you must be careful to change the water at least every 45 minutes.
Once you have defrosted your meat you should cook it right away or put it in the refrigerator but please cook it within 24 hours. You should not refreeze meat.
When it comes to cooking you should plan your meals ahead of time. It won't do to partially cook a turkey put it in the refrigerator and then put it back in the oven to complete the cooking this can cause a harmful level of bacteria to reside in the bird. Also, you can cook your meets to be rare or well-done but Turkey needs to be thoroughly cooked. Use a thermometer and keep the thermometer inside the oven with a turkey is so it does not provide a false reading. The thermometer should be put in the innermost part of the turkey thigh and should be 170°F for non-stuffed bird in hundred and 80 for stuffed. In addition make sure the staffing is at least 165°F.
Many families like to sit around the dinner table talking and drinking coffee in picking at the turkey and other foods for the whole afternoon. However this practice is not a good idea and you must get your cooked foods into the refrigerator within two hours to avoid risk of illness.
Leftovers are great and you could probably eat them all week long but you should be sure to eat your turkey and gravy within a couple of days.
Preparing and cooking your food properly can ensure safe eating for everyone.
Lee Dobbins writes for http://online-gourmet-foods.com when you can learn more about food preparation as well as discover the world of gourmet foods.
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