UMaine Extension presents meals security suggestions, recipes for Thanksgiving

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ORONO – University of Maine Cooperative Extension has numerous resources to help prepare a safe and healthy Thanksgiving meal.

If turkey is on the menu, UMaine Extension professor and registered nutritionist Kathy Savoie suggests allowing 1 to 1.5 pounds of turkey per person. This provides enough for the meal and leftovers for turkey sandwiches or a popular turkey recipe. Allow half of this amount if other poultry, beef or pork is served.

How to safely thaw the turkey is a common question, says Savoie. How long it takes to thaw a turkey in the refrigerator depends on its size. Schedule 24 hours for every five pounds of frozen turkey.

The turkey should be cooked to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit to kill harmful bacteria. The temperature should be measured at the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the chest with a food thermometer. Leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator at 40 degrees or colder within two hours of cooking. Leftovers should be frozen or used within four days; Sauce should be used within two days.

Extension also offers easy healthy recipes that use local Maine produce in their main dishes, and Mainely Dish recipe videos show a variety of vegetarian recipes or those that can easily replace other proteins as meat substitutes. Additional publications for a healthy vacation, including “Helpful Hints on Handling Turkeys for Thanksgiving” and “General Food Safety Tips when Preparing Food” are also presented.

The USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline is available from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Thanksgiving Day at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, or chat live at ask.usda. reg.

For more information, contact 207-591-3188 or extension@maine.edu.