Posts Tagged ‘food thermometer’

thermometerIt’s that time of year, when the sun comes out and we are ready to rid us from the winter blahs and make it all fresh and clean! How long has it been since you cleaned the refrigerator? This is a food safety issue that sometimes we overlook. Following are a few tips to get you started:

  • Start by checking the temperature. Make sure it is at 40° F or lower. Maybe it’s time to buy a new refrigerator thermometer to leave in the refrigerator.
  • Next, check the packages of food. Perishable foods should be wrapped or covered. Most foods will keep for 3-5 days. Notice the food that is found at the back of the refrigerator shelf has probably been there too long. Eggs should be stored in their original container and not on the door.
  • Wipe up any spills or dirt left on shelves. Don’t forget the door seals. Use clean, warm water. Avoid using detergents, abrasives or any chemical which could leave an odor.
  • Don’t forget to clean the front grill and condenser with a brush or vacuum cleaner. If it has a filtering system for water, now is the time to replace the filter.
  • Place an opened box of baking soda on one of the shelves to keep it fresh smelling. The baking soda will help to absorb odors left behind.
  • The outside surface of the refrigerator can be cleaned with a mild detergent or special surface cleaner depending on your refrigerator. And, don’t forget to clean the handle.

If food has spoiled and leaves a nasty odor, following these steps to clean:

  • Wash with equal parts of white vinegar and water.
  • Follow with a wash of baking soda and water, making sure to clean gaskets, shelves, drawers and doors.
  • For tough odors, place a cotton ball soaked with vanilla in a dish and set it on a shelf in the refrigerator. Keep it there for at least 24 hours. It will help to absorb lingering odors.

Source: homefoodsafety.org

Author: Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.
Reviewed by: Melinda Hill, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

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Few things could spoil your family’s holiday celebrations like foodborne illness! Handling your holiday foods safely can prevent harmful bacteria from making your family sick. While some individuals are at a higher risk for foodborne illness: pregnant women, young children, older adults and people with weakened immune systems, we should follow the four steps below to control the spread of bacteria throughout the kitchen and keep our families healthy and happy.

1 . Clean. Begin by washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water before and after handling food. Be sure that countertops are clean by washing with hot soapy water after preparing food, and keep cutting boards and utensils bacteria free by washing with hot soapy water or running through the dishwasher. A mild solution of bleach and water can be used to help Rinse fruits and vegetables that are not being cooked under cool running water.

2. Separate. Help prevent cross contamination by keeping raw meat, poultry and seafood away from ready to eat foods in your shopping cart and your refrigerator. Use one cutting board for these raw foods and another for salads and ready to eat food.

3. Cook. Use a food thermometer to tell if a food is cooked to a safe temperature – just going by color is not sufficient. Always bring sauces, soups, etc to a rolling boil when reheating. If using a microwave oven, cover, stir and rotate the food to ensure even cooking.

4. Chill. Remember the “danger zone” where bacteria can grow rapidly, 40° – 140°F. Keep the refrigerator below 40°, use an appliance thermometer to check the temperature. Chill leftover foods within 2 hours and put food into shallow containers to allow for quick cooling. Thaw meat, poultry and seafood in the refrigerator, not on the counter.

By following these four simple rules, you can help prevent the spread of harmful bacteria which could make your family ill and make your holidays less than jolly!

Source: http://www.fsis.usda.gov and http://www.befoodsafe.org

Author: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator,OhioStateUniversityExtension

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You are getting ready to prepare the Thanksgiving meal and it is the first time you have prepared a turkey.  Let’s talk about some of the questions you may have.

Question:  What is a safe way to thaw a turkey?

Answer:  The best way is to take your turkey from the freezer and put your frozen turkey in the refrigerator.  Allow 1 day for every 4-5 pounds of turkey.

Question:  How long is it going to take to fully cook my turkey?

Answer: At an oven temperature of 325 degrees F., it should take a whole turkey (unstuffed) 2 3/4 -3 hours for an 8 to 12 pound turkey; 3-3 3/4 hours for a 12 to 14 pound turkey; and 3 3/4-4 1/4 hours for a 14-18 pound turkey.  These times are approximate.  You should always check to see if the turkey has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. by using a meat thermometer.

NOTE:  Don’t forget to remove the giblets from the inside cavity of your bird before roasting.

Question:  How long can I leave the turkey out after dinner before it spoils?

Answer:  It should not be out for more than 2 hours.  Take the turkey off the bones and refrigerate in small portions, or freeze the meat for later use.  This applies to the rest of your meal that is perishable as well.

For additional questions, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at:  1-888-674-6854.  Or send an email to:  mphotline.fsis@usda.gov

Happy Thanksgiving!

Author:  Linnette Mizer Goard, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

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