Thanksgiving is a time to come together as family and friends to give thanks for the blessings we have in life. But more often than not, this break from our normal lives can be filled with stress, anxiety, and….house fires.
To help you keep you and your entire family safe this year, we’ve compiled the best of the best tips for a safe and happy Thanksgiving! Check it out below!
Practicing Safety in the Kitchen (Safe turkey cooking tips)
How to Defrost Your Turkey
Avoid a Thanksgiving nightmare by ensuring your turkey is ready to cook! Follow these tips for defrosting:
Refrigerator: When placing your turkey in the refrigerator to thaw, allow 24hrs for every five pounds of turkey. Make sure you plan ahead to leave adequate time for the bird to defrost. Always keep the turkey in its original wrapping, using a tray to catch any leaks during the process.
Thawed turkeys can safely remain in a refrigerator for up to two days.
Using Cold Water: If you are looking for a way to be more active in the defrosting process, try using a small tub of water to submerge the turkey. It takes 30 minutes of submersion per pound to defrost. Make sure the water is changed every 30 minutes. Always cook the turkey immediately following the defrosting process as this method does not allow for temperature control.
Microwave: A less commonly used method (for obvious reasons), you can also use a microwave for the thawing process. Always make sure the turkey will fit first and follow any provided instructions printed on the turkey packaging for heat times, Turkey must be cooked immediately following.
How do I know if my Turkey is done?
One of the biggest questions around the Thanksgiving meal is how to know if your turkey is done and safe for consumption.
Experts recommend checking the temperature to ensure the turkey is safe to eat. Place the thermometer near the thigh bone without touching it. It should read 180 degrees Fahrenheit in the thigh and 170 in the breast. If you are doing a stuffed turkey, the stuffing should be 165F.
Some experts say that because of the size of the bird, you can actually remove the turkey before it reaches its cooked temperature, and during its time outside the oven, it will rise another 5 degrees.
Proceed at your own risk, however.
How do I check my turkey without a thermometer?
While using a cooking thermometer is the safest way to determine if your turkey is safe to serve, if you don’t have one, there are a few other tricks you can use.
Cut a small slit in the thickest part of the meat. If the juices run pinkish, it’s not quite done. But if the juices run clear, you are set!
How to NOT Set Your House on Fire
The number of cooking-related house fires is said to triple on Thanksgiving. Don’t be the next turkey victim. Use precaution in cooking your feast.
- Don’t leave your kitchen unattended! When frying, broiling, or grilling, always stay nearby. If you must leave, always turn off the stove or other cooking devices to avoid potential risks.
- Check food regularly: Always keep watch on your food, especially items cooked in grease. Use a timer if needed to remind yourself to make checks.
- Don’t Use Water for a Grease Fire: In the event of a grease fire, never throw water on it — that will only make the flames worse. Turn the heat off at the source and cover the pan or fryer with a lid to remove it’s access to oxygen. That will extinguish the flames quickly and with little risk.
- Know the dangers of deep fryers: The video above, produced by the National Fire Protection Association is a great illustration of why deep-frying is just not a good idea.
Traveling Home for the Holidays
Thanksgiving ranks second behind Christmas for the most traveled holiday. From trekking cross country, flying, or driving a few hours down south, heading out for the holidays can either be a magical experience or one filled with one misfortune after another. Here are top tips to make the most of it:
Don’t Post Travel Plans on Social Media
These days, we practically live life on social media. And while Thanksgiving is a great time to reconnect with old friends and post updates for the long drive to grandma’s, it’s part of safe social media practices not to post any travel plans on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Posting that you are away alerts others that your home is free for the pickins!
Limit social media postings to the end of the day or, even better, when you have returned from your trip.
Inspect Your Vehicle Before Leaving
When traveling a long distance by vehicle, ensure you’ve given your vehicle the once or twice over.
Have you filled your tank with gas?
Are your tires fully inflated?
What about the coolant or oil levels?
Inspecting all these things can help prevent roadside incidents.
Furry Friends: “Is it safe to feed my pet turkey?”
Let’s face it. Pets have become like a member of our families. They eat when we do, they dress up for Halloween, and even get a gift or two under the Christmas Tree.
But Thanksgiving is not the holiday for them to take part in.
Don’t Feed Your Pet a Thanksgiving Feast
It’s best to keep your pet’s diet relatively the same for their welling being and health.
Feeding pets large amounts of turkey, pumpkin pie, or even a side of gravy could be hazardous to their health with issues ranging from upset stomach, diarrhea, or even worse, pancreatitis. Pets may be allowed to sample a small piece of turkey, but ensure that is well cooked and boneless.
Never let your pet consume uncooked turkey or chew on a turkey bone.
To stay on the safe side, it is best to keep pet’s diets the same over the holidays.
Have some tips of your own? Leave a comment below!