NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County

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eXtension FAQ's

eXtension FAQ’s

 

                If you have a question concerning food safety or parenting or agriculture or disaster preparedness or something from several dozen different topic areas, where do you go? Launched over five years ago, eXtension is a reliable and always updated answer source. www.eXtension.org is an interactive learning environment delivering the best, most researched knowledge from the best land-grant university minds across America.

                eXtension is unlike any other search engine or information-based website. It's a space where university content providers can gather and produce new educational and information resources on wide-ranging topics. Because it's available to students, researchers, clinicians, professors, as well as the general public, at any time from any Internet connection, eXtension helps solve real-life problems in real time.

                A recent search of their FAQ’s on food safety brought up a wide variety of questions, that I think you might enjoy reviewing.         

 

Q - When cooking poultry, what temperature has to be reached in order to be considered safe?

 

A -The minimum oven temperature to use when cooking poultry is 325ºF. Using a food thermometer is the only sure way of knowing if your food has reached a high... sure way of knowing if your food has reached a high enough temperature to destroy foodborne bacteria. All poultry should reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165ºF as measured with a food thermometer. Check the temperature at the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.

 

 

Q -How long can I keep a whole turkey in the freezer?

 

A -Whole turkeys can be safely kept in the freezer at 0°F for up to one year without much loss in quality. Be sure that the packaging is free of any punctures...

 

 

Q -How long can I keep fresh eggs in my refrigerator?

 

A -Eggs will retain their quality for four to five weeks after being packaged. Consumers should purchase eggs before the “sell-by” or “expiration” date that is...

 

 

Q -Is it O.K. to freeze a whole cooked turkey?

 

A -It is not recommended to freeze a whole cooked turkey because it can take a long time for the interior of a whole cooked turkey to cool and freeze. It is...

 

 

Q – Why do I need to blanch vegetables before freezing them?

 

A - Foods such as fruits and vegetables contain enzymes that cause color and flavor changes. The activity of enzymes is temperature dependent. This activity can be destroyed at boiling temperatures but still be active at extremely cold temperatures. For vegetables, blanching for a brief amount of time will inactivate these enzymes and result in a higher quality food. Vegetables, in particular, are heat blanched with water or steam. Blanching will also destroy surface microorganisms. The food will also shrink slightly for increased freezer storage. The length of time and blanching method depends on the vegetable. It is important to follow recommended blanching times. After blanching, the vegetable must be cooled quickly to stop the cooking process. Plunge into ice water for the same amount of time as blanching.

 

Q -Is it safe to can food without salt? I always thought it added in the food preservation process.

 

A -When canning vegetables salt is not necessary, it is used for flavor only and is not necessary to prevent spoilage.  In pickling recipes none of the ingredients - including salt - should be altered

Is the chlorine wash used on baby carrots safe for human consumption?

 

 

Q – Is the chlorine wash used on baby carrots safe?

 

A -Yes, chlorine wash can be used on baby carrots. If you use a chlorine wash it should be no more than one teaspoon per gallon of water.  USDA recommends that before eating or preparing, wash fresh produce under cold running tap water to remove any lingering dirt. This reduces bacteria that may be present. Since the carrot has a firm surface then you can scrub them with a brush or peel them.  You should not wash fruits and vegetables with detergent or soap.  Chlorine washes used by the produce industry undergo approval and therefore are safe for consumption. 

 

 

Q -Can green beans be canned using a water bath canner?

 

A -No! Green beans are a low-acidic food, which means the risk of botulism and exposure to other harmful food microorganisms is extremely high. Using an open kettle canner or water bath canner to preserve green beans and other low acidic foods can result in serious illness and even death. These low-acidic foods should instead be canned using a pressure canner, which will ensure that adequate temperatures are attained to destroy Clostridium botulinum spores.

 

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