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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

November 24, 2020 - 8:00am --

This year, some days trudged along while others flew past, and now the holiday season is here. Even if things look and feel a little different this year, you may be planning a holiday meal or two. If so, consider these tips for creating a delicious meal that follows these food safety guidelines from Fight Bac:

  • Pay attention to sell by and use by dates. Eat or freeze foods on or before their use by dates.
  • Use a food thermometer. Food thermometers are helpful to ensure your food is cooked to the correct temperature. For example, it is important to cook turkey breast and stuffing to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Eat or freeze leftovers within 3 to 4 days (gravy within 2 days). Do not leave leftovers to become an unpleasant experiment in the back of the refrigerator. If you do not think you will eat leftovers within 3 to 4 days, place them in the freezer. Be sure to reheat leftovers to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Planning to eat turkey with your holiday meals this year? Fight Bac highlights three ways to safely thaw turkey. Consider your options so you know which method works best for you:

  1. In a refrigerator. Make sure the refrigerator is 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Turkey thawed in a refrigerator will take about 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds. This means a 12-pound turkey will take about 3 days to thaw. When using the refrigerator method, place the turkey (still in its wrapping) on a pan to catch any juices that leak.
  2. In cold water. This method takes about 30 minutes per pound. This means a 12-pound turkey will take about 6 hours to thaw. When using this method, submerge the turkey (still in its wrapping) in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes. Cook the turkey immediately after it’s thawed.
  3. In a microwave oven. For this method, remove the turkey’s outside wrapping. Place the turkey on a microwave-safe dish to catch any juices that leak. Refer to the owner’s manual for your microwave oven to ensure you are using the correct power level and minutes per pound for the size of turkey you plan to thaw. Cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed.

While you are keeping up with food safety practices, brighten your holiday meals with a new recipe! Check out this Cran-Apple Crisp recipe from Celebrate Your Plate, which makes 8 servings and takes about 50-60 mins to make:

Equipment: Baking dish or pan (8 x 8 inches), cutting board, measuring cups and spoons, mixing bowl, foil to cover in oven, knife, and spoon.

Ingredients: Cooking spray; 4 apples, cored and thinly sliced; 1 1/4 ounce can, whole berry cranberry sauce; 2 tablespoons soft margarine or butter, melted; 1 cup oatmeal, uncooked; 1/4 cup brown sugar; 1 teaspoon cinnamon


1. Before you begin wash your hands, surfaces, utensils, and fruits.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3. Wash apples. Cut apples in quarters. Remove cores. Slice thinly, keeping peel on.

4. In bowl, combine the cranberry sauce and apples. Pour into an 8x8 inch pan.

5. Cover with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes. Sauce should be bubbling and apples fork-tender.

6. While apples are baking, combine melted margarine with oatmeal, brown sugar, and cinnamon until well blended. Set aside.

7. Remove apple mixture from oven.

8. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees.

9. Sprinkle oat topping over apple/cranberry mixture. Return to oven and continue baking for an additional 5-7 minutes or until oat mixture is golden brown.

10. Serve warm or cold.

11. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Check out and for more food safety tips and recipes.


Sara Meeks is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Program Assistant and may be reached at 330-264-8722.

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