Keep holiday meals safe!

Whether it is a simple meal for two, or a large gathering with a buffet, food safety is a priority at any meal, and especially at the holidays. Nobody wants the gift of foodborne illness!

Are you the host for the holiday meal? Reduce your stress by starting a list now to plan the location, food and recipes, activities and games, and what your guests could bring. Put it in a timeline or on a calendar to stay on schedule.

Are you buying a fresh or frozen turkey? If you choose fresh, be sure to place an order with your grocer or butcher shop and pick it up one to two days before the meal. Frozen turkeys can be purchased any time and stored in the freezer. Pay attention to grocery sales to save some money.

Frozen turkeys are best thawed in the refrigerator or in cold water. In the refrigerator, plan on at least five days for a 20-pound turkey. In cold water, allow about 30 minutes per pound of turkey.

Do you only have one oven? Use a slow cooker for hot dishes. A table top roaster oven can be used like a regular oven for many items. Even electric pressure cookers can cook up some tasty dishes! Some items, such as dessert or bread can be made ahead and frozen.

When cooking the turkey, remember that 325 degrees Fahrenheit is the lowest oven temperature to safely cook turkey. Use a food thermometer to be sure it reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Freezing Yeast Dough

To save time during the holidays, or any time of year; prepare yeast dough ahead of time and freeze into dough balls or rolls to bake later. The trick is using a dough with extra yeast because slow freezing can damage yeast.

According to Fleischmann’s Yeast, it is best to use dough recipes developed for freezing. These recipes are high in yeast and sugar and low in salt. It is recommended to use bread flour to help maintain bread structure.

After preparing and kneading the dough, shape into rolls or flatten into a disk and wrap airtight. The dough can be frozen up to four weeks. When ready to use, thaw at room temperature or slowly in the refrigerator. Once thawed, shape, let rise, and bake as directed.

If you are needing some recipes for freezer dough, please give me a call and I would be happy to share this information with you. I can be reached at 785-863-2212.

Cindy Williams45 Posts

Cindy Williams is the Meadowlark Extension District agent in the areas of food and nutrition.

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