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Tips for a Holiday Buffet

I'm planning to have guests to my house for a holiday buffet. I know that I need to be careful about safe food handling. Do you have any tips for me?
Tips for a Holiday Buffet

Photo courtesy http://flic.kr/p/cqCZ23

✔  Always wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling food. Use soap and scrub for 20 seconds.

✔  Be careful not to cross-contaminate. Use clean dishcloths, cutting boards, utensils and plates when preparing and serving food.

✔ Thaw the turkey in the refrigerator or under cold water.

✔ Cook foods to the recommended internal temperature and use a food thermometer to check if foods are “done.” Cook  turkey, chicken and stuffing to an internal temperature of at least 165 F.

✔ If you cook food ahead of time to reheat later, be sure to cook it until it is “done,” then refrigerate it in shallow pans. Before serving, reheat it to 165 F.

✔ Cook stuffing in a casserole dish separate from the turkey.

✔ Don’t give bacteria the opportunity to grow and possibly make people sick. Perishable food should not sit at room temperature for more than two hours.

✔ Arrange and serve food on several small platters rather than on one large platter. Refill as needed.

✔ Keep hot foods hot in the oven set at 200 to 250 F, or in a slow cooker set on low.

✔ Keep cold foods cold. Keep food such as salads, cut-up fruit or vegetables in the refrigerator until serving time.

Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

Featured in Food Wise November 2012 newsletter (PDF).

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