Tag Archives: cooking

Handle Your Turkey, Leftovers Safely This Thanksgiving

As you gather with family and friends to break bread this Thanksgiving Day, DHEC wants to make sure you avoid any food-handling issues that could result in illness.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), food-handling errors and inadequate cooking are the most common problems that lead to poultry-associated foodborne disease outbreaks.

Here are some tips to consider before, during and after you fry your turkey.

Don’t buy the bird too early

If you bought your turkey fresh, keep it in the refrigerator (40° F or less) and cook it within one to two days. If you bought your turkey frozen, to thaw it safely in the refrigerator, allow for a thaw rate of 4-5 pounds per day. For example, for a 12-pound bird it will take 2.5 to 3 days in the refrigerator to thaw. It should then be cooked within one to two days.

You can thaw your turkey in the refrigerator, a sink of cold water that is changed every 30 minutes, or in the microwave. Never thaw your turkey by leaving it out on the counter. A frozen turkey is safe indefinitely, but a thawing turkey must defrost at a safe temperature. When the turkey is left out at room temperature for more than two hours, its temperature becomes unsafe as it moves into the danger zone between 40° F and 140° F, where bacteria can grow rapidly.

Safely Cook Your Turkey

Set the oven temperature to at least 325° F. Place the completely thawed turkey with the breast side up in a roasting pan that is 2 to 2-1/2 inches deep. Cooking times will vary depending on the weight of the turkey. To make sure the turkey has reached a safe internal temperature of 165° F, check by inserting a food thermometer into the center of the stuffing and the thickest portions of the breast, thigh, and wing joint. Let the turkey stand 20 minutes before removing all stuffing from the cavity and carving the meat.

Turkey Frying  

When working with large amounts of hot oil, select a cooking vessel large enough to completely submerge the turkey without it spilling over. The oil should cover the turkey by 1 to 2 inches. Select a safe location outdoors for deep frying a turkey. Heat the cooking oil to 350° F. Very slowly and carefully lower the turkey into the hot oil. Monitor the temperature of the oil with a thermometer during cooking. Never leave the hot oil unattended.

Allow approximately 3 to 5 minutes of cook time per pound. When reaching approximate time needed, check to see if the turkey is safely cooked by removing the turkey from the oil, draining the oil from the cavity and with a food thermometer, check the internal temperature of bird. DO NOT test the temperature while the turkey is submerged in oil.

Monitor Your Leftovers

After dinner, remember to follow the two-hour rule. For safety, do not leave the turkey or other perishable foods sitting out at room temperature longer than two hours. Refrigerate your leftovers at 40° F or colder as soon as possible to prevent food poisoning.

If you have any questions about keeping your leftovers safe, you can check out the USDA’s FoodKeeper app. It’s available on Android and Apple devices. The app provides storage timelines for the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry, for more than 500 products.

From Other Blogs: Handwashing and food, arthritis, preparing for a hurricane or tropical storm & more

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

Give Yourself a Hand!

“Clean vs. dirty” is a concept that seems easy enough to understand. You know your jeans are dirty when they get grass stains on them, because you can easily see the stains. Seeing bacteria on your food is a different story. All foodborne bacteria are microscopic and can’t be seen with the naked eye, making it difficult to know if your foods have been cross-contaminated. Bacteria may come into contact with our foods from contaminated cooking equipment, utensils and even our hands. According to the 2016 FDA Food Safety Survey (PDF, 530 KB) Americans are doing well to prevent cross contamination from some common sources, but not all. — From the US Department of Agriculture blog

Five common myths about arthritis

More than 50 million Americans are affected by arthritis, a painful and often debilitating condition that limits quality of life. Arthritis is defined as inflammation involving a joint and is characterized by joint pain, stiffness, swelling and decreased range of motion. Some forms are also associated with damage to the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys and skin. It is the leading cause of disability in the United States and accounts for 172 million missed days of work, translating to $165 billion in lost wages and medical bills. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

UTI symptoms all women should know

Urinary tract infections are one of the most frequent clinical bacterial infections in women, according to the National Institutes of Health.

“If you are a woman, chances are you will have at least one urinary tract infection (UTI) during your lifetime,” said Katie Schill, nurse practitioner with Palmetto Health’s Mobile Clinic. “UTIs do not just afflict women. Men can develop UTIs as well, just not as commonly. And contrary to some belief, a UTI is not a reflection on one’s hygiene.” — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Preparing for a Hurricane or a Tropical Storm

You can’t stop a tropical storm or hurricane, but you can take steps now to protect you and your family.

If you live in areas at risk, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages you to begin preparing for hurricane season. The Atlantic hurricane season is June 1 through November 30 each year. — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Your Health — Your Environment blog

Women: Take Time for Self-Care. You’re Worth It!

My late grandmother, Ms. Anne E. Larkins, was an accomplished elementary school principal and teacher when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in the spring of 1983. In her typical solutions-focused way, she sought to understand the disease and how best to manage it. She modeled steps a cancer survivor must take to live a longer, healthier life. — From the CDC’s The Topic Is Cancer blog

From Other Blogs: Impacts of smoking on women, opioid crisis, cervical cancer screening & more

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

Impacts of smoking on women

There is abundant research about the many harms of smoking – whether it’s the dangerous chemicals, the addictive properties or the damage smoking causes to the body. The effects of smoking can have a profound impact on your health and those around you.

Here are some facts about smoking and its impact on women’s health.

— From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Opioid Crisis Affects All Americans, Rural and Urban

Every day, more than 90 Americans die after overdosing on opioids. That’s three people every hour.

As if the death rate wasn’t bad enough, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the “economic burden” of prescription opioid misuse in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, and addiction treatment.

 From the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) blog

Get the Facts: 3 Myths about Cervical Cancer Screening

I recently attended a school reunion and was able to catch up with some former classmates. I had not seen many of them for over 10 years. Of all the conversations I had that weekend, one about cervical cancer screening has stuck in my mind. As a friend and I discussed what we do, I mentioned that most of my work in the past few years has focused on cervical cancer prevention and research. She was curious to learn more about the need for screening.

My friend told me that she had not been screened for cervical cancer since the birth of her now 10-year-old daughter. What followed was a conversation where she gave me her reasons for not getting screened. I listened and tried to shed light on the myths she believed that make it okay for her to avoid screening.

— From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) The Topic Is Cancer blog

What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl’s #2017BestNine

As 2017 has come to a close, the What’s Cooking team at USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service is joining the #2017BestNine fun – a social media trend where users share their favorite or most popular moments of the year – by taking a look back at our top-viewed recipes. From quinoa to quesadillas, we are proud to share our users’ favorite recipes.

 From the USDA blog

Cooking Matters Program Teaches Healthy Meal Preparation

By Shorus E. Manning, RD, LD, DHEC SNAP-Education Dietitian

cooking matters lex

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Healthy Food Initiative works to empower low-income families, kids, and adults with the knowledge and skills to prepare healthy and tasty meals on a budget. As part of that effort, DHEC has partnered with Share our Strength’s Cooking Matters® program. Participants in the Cooking Matters program learn to shop smarter, use nutrition information to make healthier choices, and cook delicious, affordable meals. Courses and tours equip families with the skills they need to stretch their food dollars and maximize the benefits they receive through public nutrition programs like SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps) and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children). Cooking Matters is currently in 27 states and has served more than 100,000 families across the country since its inception in 1993. DHEC’s Office of Professional & Community Nutrition Services oversees the Healthy Food Initiative and the partnership with Cooking Matters.

Cooking Matters Serves Families in Three Ways

Hands-On, Six-Week Courses

Community partners that serve low-income families offer six-week Cooking Matters courses to parents.  Team-taught by a volunteer chef and a nutrition educator, the course covers meal preparation, grocery shopping, food budgeting and nutrition. At the end of each class, participants take a bag of groceries home.

Interactive Grocery Store Tours

Cooking Matters at the Store tours provide families with hands-on education as they shop for food. The tours give families skills to compare foods for cost and nutrition. Families learn how to plan and budget for healthy, affordable, and delicious meals.

Education-Based Outreach

Using Cooking Matters toolkits, handouts and recipes, DHEC presents nutritional information and conducts demonstrations at community events, fairs, and emergency food distribution sites.

Questions?  Email raaschac@dhec.sc.gov or call (803) 898-1629.