Safe Holiday Cooking

 

BRUCE BRANUM/THE GREENVILLE STANDARD

Prepared meats:

Sometimes cooking meats takes advanced planning, especially if the meat is frozen and must be thawed before cooking, like a turkey. The recommended thawing times for meats is 2-8 pounds 1 day, 8-12 pounds 1-2 days, 12-16 pounds 2-3 days, 16-20 pounds 3-4 days and 20-24 pounds 4-5 days.

Place meat in the refrigerator on a plate so juices don’t drip on other foods. Although thawing meat in the refrigerator is not the only acceptable method for thawing meats, it may be one of the safest.

You can thaw meats under rapidly running cool water, or you can place the meat in cold water, but you must remember to change the water every 30 minutes. Some meats and other food items can be thawed in the microwave (see your microwave manual for instructions).

When preparing meats like roasts, hamburger and poultry, you will want to observe a few extra rules. Place meat on a clean cutting board or in a pan for cooking. If you need to cut up a chicken, place it in a large mixing bowl or pan that will allow the juices to be kept from contaminating other surfaces and foods.

If you use a cutting board for slicing a roast before cooking it, make sure you sanitize the cutting board with a solution of two teaspoons of chlorine bleach per one quart of water before using it again. Flood the surface with the bleach solution, and allow it to stand for at least two minutes; then rinse it and let it air-dry or pat it dry using fresh paper towels. Also, wash the mixing bowl or other pans that have been contaminated with the raw meat immediately after you have finished preparing your meat dish.

Remember; don’t use a cutting board or any pot or pan that has come in contact with raw meat before properly sanitizing it.

You can even put the bleach solution into a spray bottle to make it easy to use.

Use the following steps. 1. Clean the counter. If you use a cloth rag, be sure to place it into a sink of hot water and chlorine bleach to sanitize the cloth after you have wiped up the spilled liquid. After the liquid is removed, the surface may look clean, but the bacteria are still present. 2. To get rid of the bacteria, spray a mist of chlorine solution over the counter. Make sure you can see the dampness on the counter. 3. Allow the solution to stand on the counter for at least two minutes. 4. Wipe off the solution, using a fresh paper towel. Remember, it takes time to kill bacteria. If you want to make bread on the counter surface, make sure the surface is completely dry before proceeding.

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