The Clock is Ticking…Countdown to Your Thanksgiving Feast! By Taylor Burrage, student in the UGA Dept. of Foods and Nutrition.

17 Nov

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is so close already? If you haven’t started planning yet, here are some ways to ensure a delicious and safe meal that you can be thankful for.

Clear the Fridge! Use up as many foods in your refrigerator as you can right now. This will free up space for your turkey and all of your tasty leftovers. If you’re not sure if a specific food is still good to eat, call your local FACS Extension Agent at 1-800-Ask-UGA1 or the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline.  The USDA Hotline is open year-round Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET for calls or email at  Help is available in English and in Spanish.

Gather Your Equipment and Ingredients

  • Will your turkey fit in your roasting pan?
    • Do you have enough cooking and serving vessels for all of the dishes planned? Make sure they are all clean and ready to use.
  • Do you know where your food thermometer is? Is it calibrated to read accurately and ready to use?
  • Do you have all the ingredients for the recipes you are preparing?
    • Don’t leave perishable foods out at room temperature while you go to the store for the ingredients you forgot!

Buying the Turkey

  • Allow 1 pound of turkey per person. The quality is almost equal between fresh or frozen turkeys, so buy whatever is your personal preference. If buying a fresh turkey, check the date on the package. It is a good idea to buy it no more than two days in advance.

Cooking the Turkey

  • Use an oven temperature no lower than 325 degrees F.
  • Cook your turkey to a minimum internal temperature of 165ºF. You should take the temperature of ALL of the following parts of your turkey:
    • The innermost part of the thigh
    • The innermost part of the wing and
    • The thickest part of the breast.
  • An unstuffed turkey can take up to 3 hours to cook so plan ahead and your meal will be right on time!

celebration-315079__180For more information on food safety, contact your local Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent at 1-800-Ask-UGA1

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