Holiday Food Safety Tips
Written By Dominque Simon and Ginny Moore, Franklin County Cooperative Extension
The holidays are near. Time to be thankful, enjoy family, friends and food. While it's great to enjoy all of the greatness that the holidays bring, it's also important to keep yourself and your loved ones safe by practicing food safety. I would like to remind you of a few tips that will help keep everyone safe during this holiday season.
Tip #1: Clean- Wash hands and surfaces often.
- Wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food. Wash food contact surfaces (cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and countertops) with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item.
- Rinse fruits and vegetables thoroughly under cool running water and use a produce brush to remove surface dirt. Do not rinse raw meat and poultry before cooking in order to avoid spreading bacteria to areas around the sink and countertops. The heat (not rinsing with water) from cooking the raw meat and poultry will kill any bacteria that may be on the food.
Tip #2: Separate- Separate raw meats from other foods.
- When shopping in the store, storing food in the refrigerator at home, or preparing meals, keep foods that will not be cooked separate from raw eggs, meat, poultry or seafood, and from kitchen utensils used for those products.
- Consider using one cutting board only for foods that will be cooked (such as raw meat, poultry, and seafood) and another one for those that will not (such as raw fruits and vegetables).
- Do not put cooked meat or other food that is ready to eat on any unwashed plate that has held any raw eggs, meat, poultry, seafood, or their juices.
Tip #3: Cook- Cook to the right temperature.
- Use a food thermometer to make sure meat, poultry and fish are cooked to a safe internal temperature. To check a turkey for safety, insert a food thermometer into the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. The turkey is safe when the temperature reaches 165°F.
- Bring sauces, soups, and gravies to a rolling boil when reheating.
- Cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm. When making your own eggnog or other recipe calling for raw eggs, use pasteurized shell eggs, liquid or frozen pasteurized egg products, or powdered egg whites.
- Do not eat Uncooked cookie dough, which may contain raw eggs.
Tip #4: Chill- Refrigerate food promptly.
- Refrigerate leftovers, takeout foods and any type of food that should be refrigerated, including pie-within 2 hours.
- Set your refrigerator at or below 40°F and the freezer at 0°F. Check both periodically with an appliance thermometer.
- Thaw frozen food safely in the refrigerator, under cold running water, or in the microwave, never at room temperature. Cook food thawed in cold water or in the microwave immediately.
- Allow enough time to properly thaw food. For example, a 20-pound turkey needs 4-5 days to thaw completely in the refrigerator.
- Do not taste food that looks or smell questionable. When in doubt, throw it out.
- Leftovers should be used within 3-4 days unless frozen. By keeping these four words in mind; Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill, you will be doing your best to keep you and your loved ones safe. Please keep the above tips in mind not only during the holiday season but throughout the year.
Roast Perfect App
As cool weather and the Holidays near, you may start thinking about family gatherings and what you are going to prepare for those Holiday meals. Or maybe you are looking for different options for your family for dinner because you feel like you make the same things over and over. I am raising my hand on that! Guilty. Roasts are a great option for family gatherings or dinner. I find myself however sticking to what I know and generally that is the sirloin tip roast in the crock pot. Not a bad option but I know when I stand in the meat section of the grocery store there are so many more options there. For example the Tri Tip Roast, Top Round Roast, or Brisket to name a few. Well I have found this great new app for my smart phone called Roast Perfect.
This app will help you overcome your fear of selecting, buying and preparing different cuts of beef. Roast Perfect offers recipe ideas, a roast timer and tips on how to select the perfect roast, how to cook, and how to carve. Braising may sound scary but this app gives you step by step instructions with pictures. Many know that braising makes all the difference when slow cooking meats in the crockpot or oven.
So what if you are standing in the grocery store and they have Tri Tip Roasts on sale? Everyone loves a bargain but you have never prepared this roast before. Open your app and choose Select A Roast. Scroll over till the arrow points to Tri Tip Roast and then enter how many people you will be serving. This app will tell you how many pounds of roast you will need to purchase and the suggested serving. By now you are feeling pretty smart... but wait it gets better. Since you have never prepared this cut before you don't have a recipe. Below suggested serving size it says Find a Recipe. So click on Find a Recipe and voila....recipes appear. That Santa Maria Tri-Tip Roast recipe looks good and I think that will be my next roast venture. Prepare to impress your family at meal time and Happy Roasting Y'all!
4-H Gingerbread House Contest
Tuesday, December 13, Alexander Extension Center
- All gingerbread house entries must be brought to the Alexander Extension Center by 10am on Tuesday, December 13, 2016
- Entries may be picked up beginning on December 13th at 3pm, and must be picked up by 5pm on Wednesday, December 14th.
- Entries may be placed on a base not more than 20"x20", and cannot exceed 2 feet in height.
- NO decorations (icing, candy, etc) may be placed on the side of the base.
- The ENTIRE display except for the base must be made of edible materials (Styrofoam or other support materials are not permitted). Edible items could include: gingerbread, graham crackers, icing, candies, nuts, cereal, etc. No items should be in a wrapper, stick, or non-edible material. Structures could be but are not limited to the following: house, barn, birdhouse, doghouse, or lighthouse.
- Competitors must be 5-18 years of age.
- Participants may receive assistance in baking, but design, construction, and decoration must be completed by competitor.
- Entries will be judged on creativity, originality, decorating detail, and theme in the following age categories: 8-under, 9-13, and 14-18 years old
- Prizes for each age category: 1st place-$15 4-H Scholarship; 2nd place-$10 4-H Scholarship
Alexander County Beekeepers Association
Beginning Beekeeper Class
ander County Beekeepers Association will be offering a beginning beekeepers class at C
atawba Valley Community College-Alexander Campus that will start in January 2017.
The teacher for the class will be Mr. Greg Farris, local apiary inspector, from NCDA. Mr. Farris is a master beekeeper and has taught numerous beekeeping courses throughout the state.
Classes will be on Tuesday evening from 7-9 p.m. beginning on January 3rd - January 31st. A three hour hands-on Saturday Apiary workshop will be included in March or April. The cost of the class is $40. Please register by visiting the Alexander Extension Center at 376 1st Avenue SW, Taylorsville, NC. If you have any questions please call 828-632-4451.
Master Gardener Program for 2017
Are you an avid gardener, but still wanting to improve your knowledge on all aspects of gardening? Well the Nationally known Extension Master Gardener Program might just be for you. Our Master Gardener Program is an educational program designed to enhance public education and assistance in horticulture in our communities. It provides a comprehensive 12 session educational program to its participants.
The Master Gardener Program is supported by a State Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator housed in the Horticultural Science Department at N.C. State University and by various Extension specialized agents and subject matter specialists. As a participant in the Master Gardener Program, you will receive 40 hours of training in all aspects of Horticulture including fruit and shade trees, ornamentals, lawn care, and vegetable culture. After the training if you wish to be certified as a Master Gardener, you will have the opportunity to provide 40 hours of volunteer service. This can be done by either judging 4-H gardens, assisting with fairs and their horticulture entries, planting or caring for community or public gardens/landscaping, or assisting with educational programs through the Extension Center.
Plans are well underway for the 2017 series of Alexander/Caldwell Master Gardener classes. Classes will be meeting on Wednesdays 1:30 - 4:30 PM beginning on March 8 and ending the first week in June.
From the looks of things, this is going to be one GREAT YEAR!!! We have recruited outstanding speakers, presenters, and subject matter specialist to meet the needs of interested citizens. Some classes will be taught in the Alexander Extension Center, three at outdoor settings, and several at the Caldwell Extension Center to which we will ride together to attend jointly with the Master Gardener groups there.
Application for acceptance into the Extension Master Gardener Program will be taken into February or until the class is full which ever comes first. The cost is $100 which will be used to cover the costs of the Master Gardener Notebook, hands on supplies, and field trip expenses.
Call the North Carolina Cooperative Extension - Alexander County Center at 632-4451 for more information, or to register for the 2017 Extension Master Gardener Program. Please plan to register now as the class usually fills up.
NC Agritunity Conference & Trade Show
Saturday, March 4th, 2017
Iredell County Agricultural Center
444 Bristol Drive, Statesville, NC 28677
NC Agritunity is a one-day educational conference for farmers of all types, featuring a tradeshow and a keynote speaker. Large commodity producers, livestock producers, small farm managers, beginning farmers, and anyone just interested in agriculture are welcome to attend.
Participants will choose from presentations in three educational tracks: livestock, field crop production, small farm management. The program features NC State Extension specialists, agents, and individuals from agricultural organizations. Continuing education credits (CEUs) and pesticide training credits will be available in some of the presentations for existing license holders (this will be noted on the agenda). Participants will also be able to visit tradeshow vendors including agricultural businesses, suppliers and manufacturers, non-profits, and service agencies.
The event is free and open to the public. Lunch will be available for purchase on site.
Please register in advance by calling Iredell County Cooperative Extension Center at 704-873-0507. Walk-in registration may be limited. For more information, please contact your local County Extension Center.
Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Statement
2.1. North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, religion, creed, national origin, sex, a
ge, disability, or veteran's status. In addition, the two Universities welcome all person without regard to sexual orientation. North Carolina State University, North Carolina A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.
2.2. Persons with disabilities and persons with limited English proficiency may request accommodations to participate by contacting Alexander County Extension Director, Lenny Rogers, at (828)632-4451 or
or in person at the County Extension Office at least 14 days prior to the event.