ORONO, Maine — University of Maine Cooperative Extension has the resources you need to safely prepare a tasty Thanksgiving meal.
UMaine Extension associate professor and registered dietitian Kate Yerxa suggests planning for 1 to 1 ½ pounds of turkey per person. This will provide enough for the meal and leftovers for turkey sandwiches or your favorite turkey recipe.
How to safely thaw the turkey is a common question, says Extension professor Kathy Savoie. The length of time it will take to thaw a turkey in the refrigerator depends on its size. Plan on 24 hours per 5 pounds of frozen turkey.
Turkey should be cooked to reach an internal temperature of 165°F to kill harmful bacteria. The temperature should be measured in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast with a food thermometer. Leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator at 40°F or colder, within two hours of being cooked.
Detailed information on options to safely thaw, cook and store a cooked turkey is available online in Extension bulletin #4213, Food Safety Facts: Helpful Hints on Handling Turkeys for Thanksgiving.
If you are looking for suggestions for side dishes, Extension has tasty, simple recipes that use local produce, such as beets, carrots and Maine potatoes. More food safety resources from Extension are available online, or by contacting 207.581.3188; firstname.lastname@example.org.
The USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline, 1.888.MPHotline (1.888.674.6854), is open on Thanksgiving from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. EST. Consumers can chat live at ask.usda.gov from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday.
–University of Maine Cooperative Extension
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