How To Keep Your Food Safe
November 17, 1999. Detroit Free Press.
These food safety tips from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will make your Thanksgiving feast a happier one:
Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Don't leave perishable foods at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Two hours is considered the bacteria danger zone in which harmful bacteria can grow rapidly in temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees.
If preparing your meal to eat at a later time, cut the turkey meat off the bone and remove all the stuffing. Slice the meat (legs and wings may be left whole) and refrigerate.
Store all side dishes in the refrigerator. Thoroughly reheat them to a temperature of 165 degrees until hot and steaming. Bring gravy to a rolling boil before serving.
Store leftovers properly. If the turkey was stuffed, remove all of the stuffing from the cavity, place in a shallow container and refrigerate. Cooked turkey will keep three to four days in the refrigerator or frozen up to four months. Gravy and side dishes such as stuffings, potatoes and vegetables should be stored in shallow containers in the refrigerator. Stuffing and gravy will keep one to two days in the refrigerator and side dishes three to four days.