'It's Thanksgiving Time'

Edith Lovett Pulaski County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences

Mrs. Linda Mardis will be teaching us how to bake a delicious Turkey, on Monday, November 25 at the Extension Office. The class begins at 1:00 o'clock. You will get to sample the turkey, dressing and receive a free recipe booklet of how to prepare that delicious Holiday Luncheon.

If you haven't purchased that "turkey" for Thanksgiving, it's time to being thinking about what size you are going to purchase. And if you buy a frozen one, you need to buy it soon, so it will have time to thaw out in the refrigerator. If the turkey weighs 16 pounds you will need about 4 days to thaw it out.

To ensure that foodborne illness isn't a guest at your holiday table, follow these tips from the USDA when buying and preparing your turkey. When buying a turkey, allow about one pound or more per person, depending upon if you like left overs. If you want left overs, then allow 1 ½ pounds per person.

If you buy a frozen turkey, and most of us do, keep it frozen until you are ready to thaw it out for cooking. USDA recommends that you thaw a frozen turkey in the refrigerator. Leave the turkey wrapped in the original wrapping plastic, and place it in a pan to catch any juices that leak. Allow about one day to thaw for each four pounds of turkey. After thawing, it is safe to store the turkey in the refrigerator for up to two more days before baking.

If time is running out, you can use the cold water method to thaw the turkey. Keep the turkey covered in its original wrapping paper, place in a pan of cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes to keep it cold. Allow about 30 minutes per pound of turkey to thaw, and cook immediately after thawing. A 16 pound turkey will take about 8 hours to thaw using the cold water method.

You can also use a microwave oven to thaw your turkey. Be sure to follow the microwave oven manufacturing's instructions. If you use this method plan to bake the turkey immediately after thawing because some parts of the turkey may become warm and begin to cook during the microwaving process. How long will it take? As a general rule, allow 6 minutes per pound when thawing in the microwave. Remember too, that microwaves have different levels of wattage that will make a difference in the thawing time.

On Thanksgiving Day when you are ready to bake the turkey, wash your hands, and all areas where you are going to be preparing the turkey, with warm water and soap. Do not wash the turkey. Washing poultry can spread bacteria around the sink and kitchen and lead to the contamination of other foods. Likewise, keep the raw turkey separate from the other foods you will be serving; use separate cutting boards and utensils to avoid spreading bacteria. If you need another cutting board, we will give you a plastic cutting board at the Pulaski County Extension Office.

To roast the turkey, set the oven temperature to no lower than 325 degrees. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. The time that it takes to roast a turkey depends on the size of the bird, the type of pan using, and the oven itself. If you are baking breasts only, it may take from 1 ½ to 3 ½ hours; a whole turkey may take 3 to 5 hours, depending again on its size and pan. The only way to be sure the turkey is safely cooked is to use a food thermometer, checking the temperature at the thigh, the wing and the thickest part of the breast. All parts of the turkey must reach 165 degrees to ensure that harmful bacteria are killed. Once baked, remove the turkey from the oven and allow it to stand 20 minutes before carving. After the meal be sure to refrigerate left overs within two hours. Store the turkey and dressing separately and use it or freeze it within three to four days.

For optimum safety, bake the dressing in another casserole dish, separate from the turkey. Bake the dressing to a temperature of 165 degrees as measured with a food thermometer. We will also give you a meat thermometer at the Extension Office.

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender, identity, gender expressions, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status or physical or mental disability.

Here is a dressing recipe that you will enjoy eating and making. You will have most of these items on hand in your kitchen.

Turkey Dressing Recipe from Linda Mardis

8 biscuits (about 2 cups)

1 iron skillet of cornbread, (about 2 cups)

1 stick butter

1 medium onion, chopped finely

1 cup chopped celery (finely chopped)

2 teaspoons Sage

1 teaspoon Black Pepper

Salt to taste

Turkey Broth (Amount needed 2 cups or more)

Combine cornbread and biscuits of equal amounts. Cook onion and celery in the butter, until onions are done. Mix bread with the onions and celery, and add sage, pepper and salt. Add enough broth to this mixture to hold it shape. Taste the mixture to adjust more spices if needed. Put in a 9 by 13 pan that has been sprayed with cooking oil. Bake at 350 degrees until hot, or about 20 minutes.

EVENTS GOING ON AT THE EXTENSION

The Pulaski County Extension Homemakers Bazaar will be held this Saturday, November 23, from 10:00 to 6:00 at the Somerset Mall. Be sure to shop with the vendors for handmade craft items and other great Christmas Gifts. Tables can be rented for $10 to homemakers or $25 to others. You must rent your table in advance.

Denise Salter will be teaching a card making class this Monday November 25, starting at 10:00 o'clock at the Extension Office. This is a free class for the public.

Our Food Calendar Class will be taught this Tuesday, November 26, starting at 11:30 at the Extension Office. Please call the office at 679-6361 to register for the class so we will have enough food for everyone to taste. We will be making the "Autumn Apple Pork" recipe.

Bessie Bane will be teaching a painting class on Wednesday December 11, at the Extension Office. The class begins at 10:00 o'clock and cost $20. You will complete the painting on this day.

The Extension Office will be closed Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving Holiday.

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