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Thursday, November 25, 2021

Local fire departments offer Thanksgiving cooking safety tips

Local fire departments want to ensure that this year’s Thanksgiving is a safe one for residents and their families.

Earlier this week, Marion County firefighters gave a demonstration that highlighted what can go wrong when frying a turkey.

Marion County firefighters offer Thanksgiving cooking safety tips
Marion County firefighters showed how quickly a fire can start if proper safety measures are not taken

To avoid such accidents, Ocala Fire Rescue is offering residents the following tips when using a turkey fryer:

  • Only use the turkey fryer outdoors on a sturdy, level surface and keep it away from anything that can burn.
  • To help determine the correct amount of oil needed, first place the turkey in the pot with water.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and patted dry before frying it.
  • Use a cooking thermometer to check the temperature often so the oil does not overheat.
  • Wear long cooking gloves that protect the hands and arms when handling the pot, lid, and handles of the turkey fryer.

A turkey is safe indefinitely while it is frozen, but bacteria that may have been present will continue to grow as soon as it begins to thaw. There are three recommended ways to safely and effectively thaw a turkey:

  • Refrigerator: This is the USDA recommended method. Allow around 24 hours for every four to five pounds of turkey. It is safe to store the turkey for an additional one or two days in the refrigerator.
  • Cold water: Submerge the turkey in cold water and change the water every 30 minutes. Cook the turkey immediately after thawing it.
  • Microwave: Use the ‘defrost’ function based on the weight of the turkey. Cook the turkey immediately after thawing it.

Frozen turkeys are also safe to cook in the oven, though the cooking time will be 50% longer.