Holiday meal leftovers have almost as many traditions as the meals themselves. From turkey salad sandwiches to turkey tetrazzini, cooks want the leftovers for their traditional holiday meals to be as good, and as safe, as the feast itself.
Renee Boyer, consumer food-safety specialist for Virginia Cooperative Extension, recommends putting leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer soon after a holiday meal to avoid temperatures that promote bacteria growth and turn food stale. As a general rule, plan to refrigerate leftovers within two hours of when the food is put on the table.
“The sooner you store leftovers, the better,” Boyer said. While the turkey is at room temperature, approximately 72 degrees F, it is in the temperature danger zone of 40 to 140 degrees F. This is the temperature range in which bacteria can grow. The cooler temperature of the refrigerator, 35 to 40 degrees F, slows down metabolic processes and therefore slows the growth of harmful bacteria.
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As the winter holidays approach, families should know the proper way to roast a turkey. Virginia Cooperative Extension offers advice on safely preparing this holiday meal.
Safely thawing a frozen turkey is the first step. “One of the biggest food-safety recommendations when preparing a turkey is to defrost at cool temperatures,” said Renee Boyer, consumer food-safety specialist for Virginia Cooperative Extension and as assistant professor of food science and technology at Virginia Tech.
Place the turkey in a shallow pan with the original wrapper, sliding the bird into the refrigerator and leaving it there until completely thawed. This keeps it below 40 degrees F. Defrosting will take approximately 24 hours for every five pounds of turkey.
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BLACKSBURG, Va., Oct. 22, 2015 –Grilling burgers in your backyard or at a late afternoon tailgate doesn’t seem like a scenario set for danger, but your burger can bite back if bacteria is allowed to remain in the meat, Virginia Tech researchers say.
Daniel Gallagher, an associate professor in the Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is the principal investigator on a collaborative project to track thermometer use in cooking hamburger meat. Renee Boyer, associate professor of food science and technology, and Virginia Cooperative Extension specialist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is collaborating on the project, a joint effort with North Carolina State University, Kansas State University, University of Nebraska, and Texas A&M.
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Families in Ian Pasquarelli’s healthy cooking classes learn about the importance of preparing balanced meals using fresh fruits and vegetables.
When Habitat for Humanity suggested that Virginia Cooperative Extension Agent Ian Pasquarelli’s programs would be of interest to the mainly Hispanic community of Southwood in Charlottesville, he set about developing a Spanish-language component to incorporate into his programming.