November kicks off holiday season with one of the most food focused holidays of the year…Thanksgiving. We have gathered some tips from our pros on how to make your Thanksgiving a success.
The right tool really does make all of the difference. For a delicious turkey done right, use a thermometer. If you have typically relied on the plastic pop-up, take the plunge and buy yourself a meat thermometer. You will want to check the temperature of the turkey above the leg in the thickest part of the meat. When the temperature reaches 165°F, the turkey is done. Take it out and let it sit for a few minutes before carving. Once you see success with the turkey, you’ll want to use your thermometer on other meats and dishes you are cooking. You will have far fewer over or undercooked meals.
Keeping it safe
Food safety is such a top priority for chefs that it becomes an automatic part of what they do. Cooking for a crowd on Thanksgiving means we need to think like chefs for the day. Wash your hands and wash them often. Keep food out of the temperature danger zone of 40-140°F. This means thawing in the refrigerator, never on the counter. It also means putting leftovers in the refrigerator right after the meal. Anything out for more than 4 hours needs to be tossed.
Leftovers are some people’s favorite part of Thanksgiving. To reduce waste, have a plan. Know how many people you are hosting and prepare accordingly. If you want extra for sandwiches, soup or other weekend favorites, include those amounts in your planning. Make sure you will have space in the refrigerator and containers to store it in. If you want to send your guests home with food, have them bring containers or pick up some extras that you don’t mind sharing. Any leftovers stored in the refrigerator should be used within a few days. If you won’t be able to use them in that time, put them straight into the freezer. When reheating, get out your thermometer and make sure everything gets back to 165°F.
Chef tips provided by Chris Aquilino, Corporate Executive Chef.
Additional tips and recipes available at www.stopfoodwasteday.com.