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HERE'S ADVICE FOR SAFELY COOKING HOLIDAY HAM, LAMB OR TURKEY

Mon December 19, 2011

DUPAGE COUNTY-Whatever is on the menu for your holiday meal, be sure that foods are prepared safely. DUPAGEThe improper storing, cooking, and serving of ham, beef, lamb or turkey can lead to the growth of harmful bacteria like salmonella, which can cause foodborne illness.

The DuPage County Health Department offers these tips for preparing traditional holiday foods safely:
 
Ham

Fully cooked, ready-to-eat ham must be kept refrigerated. If heated for a meal, heat to internal temperature of 140°F. Use a meat thermometer to be sure the proper internal temperature has been reached. After the meal, cut the ham into thin slices and refrigerate promptly. Slices will keep up to four days in the refrigerator.

Lamb and beef

Raw lamb or beef should be used within three to five days of purchase. Lamb and beef roasts should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F to be medium rare and 170°F for well done. Use a meat thermometer to be sure the proper internal temperature has been reached. Cut into thin slices and refrigerate promptly after the meal.

Turkey

Thaw frozen turkey in the refrigerator. Allow one day for each five pounds of turkey. A 20-pound turkey will take approximately four days to thaw. (Hint: Remove neck and giblets from inside the bird as soon as possible to hasten thawing.) Do not thaw on the kitchen counter. If you do not have time to thaw in the refrigerator, you can thaw the turkey in the kitchen sink, provided you refill the sink with cold water every half-hour. Cook fresh turkeys within two days, thawed turkey within four days. Read and follow the cooking directions on the label. Cook turkey until it is done (165°F). Do not slow cook overnight at low temperatures or partially cook. Some turkeys come with pop-up thermometers. They are to be used only as a guide to doneness; therefore, taking the temperature with a meat thermometer is still important.

 Food safety basics

Remember some basic food safety measures when handling any meal:Eat the meal as soon as it is prepared.

  • For leftovers, cut the meat off the bones or into slices and put it in shallow containers in the refrigerator. Put other leftovers in shallow containers as well. Food that takes too long to cool can still grow harmful bacteria in your refrigerator.
  • Reheat all leftovers to 165°F (use your thermometer). Gravy should be brought to a rolling boil.
  • Wash your hands with hot, soapy water before and after handling raw meats.
  • Wash all knives, cutting boards and utensils also.

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HERE'S ADVICE FOR SAFELY COOKING HOLIDAY HAM, LAMB OR TURKEY