PARKERSBURG — The Environmental Health section of the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department has turkey cooking safety tips for Thanksgiving.
“We want all of the Mid-Ohio Valley to enjoy their Thanksgiving dinner — and their health — by following food safety guidelines,” Nicole Needs, environmental health director, said.
Turkeys should thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours for every five pounds of weight. A cold-water bath may be used for 30 minutes per pound. A turkey should never be thawed in hot water or left on the counter.
Washing or rinsing a turkey increases the risk of spreading germs to other food.
Stuffing the turkey is not recommended. It takes longer to cook to the proper temperature of 165 degrees for both bird and stuffing. Cook the stuffing in a separate dish.
Cook turkeys breast-side up at a minimum of 325 degrees. If using an oven bag, follow manufacturer instructions for how long to cook.
Approximately, it should take:
* 8-12 pound turkey: 1 1/2-2 hours
* 12-16 pound turkey: 2-2 1/2 hours
* 16-20 pound turkey: 2 1/2-3 hours
* 20-24 pound turkey: 3-3 1/2 hours
Temperature of the turkey must reach 165 as measured by a food thermometer. Check the temperature in the thickest part of the breast, innermost part of the thigh and the innermost part of the wing.
Refrigerate leftovers within two hours of cooking to prevent food poisoning. Cut the turkey into smaller pieces to quickly cool. Use leftover turkey and any dishes made with it within three days. Freeze turkey to store it for longer. Reheat leftovers to at least 165 degrees.
For more information, call the United States Department of Agriculture Meat and Poultry Hotline from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday at 1 888 674-6854 or chat live at ask.usda.gov. On Thanksgiving Day, the hotline is available from 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
The Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department serves Wood, Wirt, Calhoun, Pleasants, Ritchie and Roane counties. The headquarters are at 211 Sixth St., Parkersburg, and offices are open 8 a.m.-4 p.m.