Holiday cooking safety

By: Sarah Platt Email
By: Sarah Platt Email

Turkey day is now just a day away. That means many folks will be working up quite a sweat in their kitchens. Local fire departments want to remind folks to be extra careful, as kitchen fires can be all too common during the holidays. As Clay Township Fire Marshal Dave Cherrone puts it, "Common sense isn't always common practice.” With a lot happening in a crowded kitchen, sometimes people loose track of all the things they're doing and that can be dangerous.

Cherrone demonstrated some ways people can prevent oven fires. He recommends lining your oven with foil and putting down some baking soda. This will prevent grease fires from getting out of control.

If a grease fire breaks out on the stove top, Cherrone says it's important to quickly cover the pot with a lid. “You don't need to look inside to see how the fire is doing, because you're not going to eat what's inside anyway, but do not move it from it's spot, leave it to sit there,” explains Cherrone.

Meantime, oven bags can also be a cause for concern, if they're not used right. “Make sure it has room to expand, so it's not hanging over the edge, because if this catches on the side of the oven that is hot, it'll burst open,” adds Cherrone.

Also, the popular turkey fryers can cook up quite a bird, but Cherrone says overfilling the pot can start a fire. He says cooks should follow the directions and shy away from using vegetable oil. “They recommend peanut oil to be used because it has a higher ignition temperature. Some people, if they don't buy that because it's expensive, will tend to replace it with a vegetable oil that has an ignition temperature of about a 100 degrees less,” says Cherrone.

Meantime, food safety can be another concern. If foods are left out too long, doctors say that can be a breeding ground for bacteria to grow. Also, after handling raw meat, it's important to wash your hands and any surfaces or utensils used. “Any surface that you've had raw meat on, turkey or whatever it is, make sure you clean that well before you start working on vegetables and things like that,” says Dr. J.R. Reid, an ER physician at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center.

Dr. Reid says people struggling with heart disease or diabetes should enjoy the holiday, but be careful not to go overboard.

Usually leftovers can be stores for three to four days. Also, most leftovers should be put in the fridge within about two hours of cooking.

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