Is your kitchen ready to cook a holiday dinner?

Follow these quick tips to prepare for a great holiday meal and serve it safely.

Hosting a holiday meal this weekend? As the weekend gets closer, plan ahead to ensure a great, safe meal and celebration. Holiday meals can be tricky when preparing, cooking, cooling and storing large amounts of food.  Michigan State University Extension reminds you to consider the following tips when planning for your delicious holiday meal.

  • The refrigerator: As you prepare to shop for the menu items, consider cleaning out your refrigerator before shopping. Check expiration dates and thoroughly wash the inside of the refrigerator. Use hot water and soap to rid your refrigerator of any bacteria, mold or mildew. Also, make sure to have a refrigerator thermometer inside your refrigerator and check the temperature. A safe refrigerator will store food at 38-40 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the refrigerator is cleaned and ready to handle larger quantities of food, you are ready to go shopping.
  • Clean kitchen: Fight Bac! reminds you that, even though your counters may look clean, BAC! may be hiding all over your kitchen. Always clean surfaces thoroughly with hot water and soap. After thoroughly washing surfaces with hot water and soap, sanitize surfaces with a diluted chlorine bleach solution or a disinfectant kitchen cleaner. Use a mixture of 3/4 teaspoon liquid chlorine bleach per quart of water (or one tablespoon bleach per gallon of water). Let the solution stand on the surface for several minutes, then rinse with cold water and air dry or pat dry with fresh paper towels. Bleach solutions can lose their effectiveness over time, so discard unused portions after one week. Clean and sanitize all food contact surfaces, countertops, cutting boards, etc.
  • Kitchen tools: have the important kitchen tools ready: refrigerator thermometer, vegetable scrub brush (to keep your fresh produce safe), food thermometer (you can’t tell by color if a food item is ready to eat), roasters/crockpots (for keeping hot food hot), clean utensils and cutting boards, minimum internal cooking temperatures chart and food storage containers.

A safe enjoyable meal starts with a clean environment and a plan. Make a plan for your holiday meal and be sure it includes food safety tips along the way.  

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