When most people think about storage, large spacious units to keep mementos and other important belongings come to mind. Let’s consider a different type of storage for this time of year: food. Thanksgiving and the holiday season bring numerous gatherings, parties, and other festive outings. A major part of spending time with family, friends, and co-workers is preparing and serving food. Correctly storing food is crucial for a safe, healthy eating environment.
Food Storage Tips for a Healthy Holiday
Clean Work Area
Proper food storage starts at the time of preparation. Consider implementing extra cleaning measures prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. Prior to purchasing your holiday food, spend time cleaning your refrigerator and wiping down counters, cutting boards, and other spaces for preparing food. During the food preparation and cooking process, keep these general rules in mind.
- Keep your preparation and cooking area clean.
- Practice proper hand washing especially after handling fish and poultry.
- Use an antibacterial spray to wipe down counters and other cooking areas.
- When handling the turkey, use separate (or wash between uses) cutting boards, plates, and other cooking utensils.
- Cook all food items as directed.
- Do not thaw the turkey or other poultry on the counter. Use the refrigerator to thaw the meat.
- Using warm water, attempt to keep your dishes washed as you progress through the cooking process. Unclean dishes, utensils, or cooking ware may harbor bacteria.
Implementing basic precautionary measures in the kitchen will help you maintain a healthy holiday.
Watch the Temperatures
Another crucial component of proper food storage is temperature. When serving food, keep in mind, hot foods need to stay hot. Cold foods need to stay cold.
- Using warming plates or slow cookers to keep food around 140°F.
- Place ice in larger bowls than set your colder dish down into the bowl. The ice will help maintain the proper temperature.
- Use a food thermometer. Checking temperatures help in keeping the food safe from forming bacteria.
- Do not leave food set out for long periods of time.
Storing Food Properly
After eating the Thanksgiving feast, storing food properly is vital for healthy, edible leftovers. Plastic containers, bowls with lids, freezer bags, tin foil, and plastic wrap are all valuable items for storing food.
- Use shallow bowls or containers for warmer food storage. Once placed in the refrigerator, the food will cool down at a faster rate.
- If applicable, remove the stuffing from inside the turkey prior to storage.
- Cut turkey into smaller pieces or remove from the bone for easier storage.
- Remove food from cooking dishes. Place food into smaller, easier to store containers.
- Limit food storage in the refrigerator to up to four days.
- Placing turkey in high-quality freezer containers or bags provide a longer storage time. Consume frozen turkey within four months to maintain flavor.
Proper food handling, preparation, and storage is a vital part of the Thanksgiving meal. Failure to implement basic guidelines may result in illness from bacteria. At Abba Self & RV Storage, we have a variety of storage unit sizes available to meet your needs, including storing any leftover holiday decorations. Stop by today to tour our storage units in Concord, CA and find the one that will work best for you.
This article originally appeared on Abba Self & RV Storage’s blog at http://www.abbastorage.com/thanksgiving-food-storage-tips-safe-holiday/.