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7 questions and answers about Thanksgiving food safety

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These tips from a food safety expert will guide you through buying, thawing, prepping, and cooking your Thanksgiving feast without giving anybody food poisoning.

Even the most seasoned chefs have questions when it comes to pulling off this once-a-year feast. In this series of videos, NC State Extension specialist and associate professor Ben Chapman offers research-based advice about seven major Thanksgiving meal conundrums:

1. How do I thaw the turkey and how long can it hang out in the fridge?

First, Chapman walks through the variables, including fresh or frozen, that determine how long the turkey can hang out in your fridge.

2. Should I rinse my turkey in the sink before I cook it?

No, no you should not.

3. What the heck is brining? How do I do it without making a mess?

“Brining is great from a taste standpoint,” says Chapman, but the key is to do it without spraying questionable turkey-water all over your kitchen.

4. How long will it take to cook this thing? How do I know if it’s done? Should I trust the little plastic pop-up thermometer that came in the bird?

The only surefire way to know if the turkey’s done is to use a thermometer. Clear juices and other indicators aren’t as reliable.

5. How do I cook everything with just one oven? What should I cook first?

“As I’m planning my meal, I want to make sure that I get my bird cooked as close to mealtime as possible,” shares Chapman.

6. I don’t have room in my fridge for all these pies! What do I do?

The sugar and pH of an apple pie are an advantage, says Chapman, who’s more concerned about you getting that pumpkin pie into the fridge.

7. And what about the leftovers?

Getting leftovers into the fridge as quickly as possible is important to keeping them tasty, says Chapman, but also for food safety.

Source: Elizabeth Beal for NC State