A Community Challegene
Atchison County Extension Council is joining the state-wide Kansas Beats The Virus campaign. Learn more about Kansas Beats The Virus activities across our state or discover how to involve your group in the efforts, visit the Kansas Leadership Center website.
Our local neighbor to neighbor campaign will share yard signs and banners across Atchison County as a reminder to support each other. We are adding some fun to our campaign by asking members of our community to post a picture on their social media accounts wearing their favorite mask. Be sure to post a selfie wearing your mask at your favorte business. Follow our facebook page for more details. Or to share a fun mask wearing selfie with the community.
Remember to add this hashtag to your posts:
Random gift certificate drawings to local busiess will be awarded in the weeks ahead. Together Atchison County, we can Beat The Virus.
Living Well Together Virtual Learning
Our gathering to learn series resumes on January 7 @ 6:45 pm. Plan to join us weekly on Thursdays from January-March. Discover more about our Living Well Together virtual education series. This page provides details to register, class schedules and recordings plus resources from previous sessions.
Developmental relationships are the roots of young people’s success. They are essential for all young people, in every community. When young people experience these relationships in their families, schools, programs, and communities, they are more likely to be resilient in the face of challenges and grow up thriving.
Can you give us an idea of some of the food safety challenges people face? Throughout the year there’s going to be some challenges that everyone has to face and it probably becomes a little more challenging during the holiday season. And that has to do because of purchasing and preparing many foods simultaneously in advance and that increases the risk of cross contamination and also other handling mistakes. For example, if you have contamination in something that comes from a raw product, such as a fresh meat or a raw dairy product, it can actually be spread from that raw product to a ready to eat food within the refrigerator. It can be spread via using same cutting boards, the kitchen counter, sinks, sponges, and even hands. And then in particular with holiday season, with a lot of the social activities, it’s challenging to keep the foods accessible to the guests as well as keeping them both hot and cold at appropriate temperatures.
Are there some best management practices people should stick to?
There are four main rules of food safety and those are: to be clean, separate, cook, and chill. For cleaning make sure that your hands are washed and the food preparation surfaces are washed thoroughly with warm water and soap, both before and after handling foods. Separate, keep that raw food and ready to eat foods separate in the refrigerator and on the counter, use separate cutting boards. Cook to an appropriate temperature using a cooking thermometer. And chill, chill them to less than 45 degrees in less than 4 hours and also make sure you have a thermometer in your refrigerator to make sure it is less the 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
During the holiday season, are there foods that are more sensitive that you should keep an eye on?
Well certainly any of the raw foods are going to be potentially problematic because they can be the source of contamination. Raw meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, those can be particularly problematic. On the other hand even cooked foods can be problematic because you can cross contaminate them with your hands or with something else that hasn’t been cleaned properly. And if that has been sitting on the counter for too long of a time or hasn’t been properly refrigerated, it can also serve as a growth medium for these bacteria to be able to grow. You enjoy eating them and so does the bacteria.
What are some of the warning signs that something’s gone wrong?
So what we are looking for are those gastrointestinal problems and if they don’t resolve themselves within a day or so, then it may be worthwhile seeking medical care.
The video link below provides useful information. For additional reliable information visit the CDC website
Learn About The Importance of Social Distancing from Chicago medical expert. (Click the picture to view the video clip)
Safe Food Handling
The coronavirus pandemic means many of us will gather in smaller groups than usual for Thanksgiving. That may also mean there will be more people preparing their first turkey with all the trimmings. Whether you’re a complete rookie or an experienced cook, chances are that you don’t prepare a holiday turkey and multiple side dishes every day.
Kansas State University food safety specialist Karen Blakeslee says there are ways to avoid last-minute stress and keep food safe when putting it all together.
“Plan a simple meal to reduce extra stress,” she said. “For a smaller group, buy a smaller turkey or even a turkey breast. Cornish hens would be a good substitute.”
One way to share the day if you can’t be together is to have a recipe exchange of holiday favorites, she added.
Blakeslee, the coordinator of the K-State Research and Extension Rapid Response Center, provided these tips for before and after the holiday meal:
- Make a list well ahead of the holiday. Include a timeline when activities should happen, whether five days before the meal, two days before or two hours before. Will the turkey go in the oven? In a countertop roaster? If the turkey will take up oven space, think about other foods you’ll prepare and how. Utilize your stovetop, slow cooker or electric pressure cooker.
- Wash your hands often throughout food preparation.
- If you want a fresh turkey, order it ahead so your store will have it ready. Pick up the fresh turkey one or two days before preparation.
- A frozen turkey can be purchased much earlier. Store it in the freezer until it’s time to thaw and cook it. Watch for sales at this time of year.
- How long to thaw the turkey depends on the size of the turkey. Plan for a 12- to 16-pound turkey to thaw for a full week in the refrigerator. If thawing a smaller one, move it from the freezer to the refrigerator the weekend before Thanksgiving.
- Forgot to thaw the bird in advance? Submerge it in clean, cool water in a large pot, but change the water every 30 minutes or so. This takes about 30 minutes per pound as opposed to several days in the refrigerator. Never thaw any meat at room temperature.
- If you forget to thaw the frozen turkey, it can be cooked from a frozen state, but it will take about 1-1/2 times the amount of time that it would take to cook a thawed turkey.
- When prepping the turkey, there’s no need to rinse it. Food scientists say rinsing any meat or poultry can splash water with bacteria on countertops and other foods. Cooking it properly will take care of any potential bacteria.
- Cook turkey at 325 degrees F or higher until a meat thermometer inserted in the meatiest area, typically the thigh, shows 165 degrees F. Take readings in a couple of places.
- Cover the turkey with a lid or aluminum foil to ensure consistent cooking. Take the lid or foil off toward the end of cooking for extra browning.
- Don’t rely on pop-up thermometers only. Pop-up thermometers that come with some turkeys indicate temperature, but not the true temperature of the innermost part of the turkey. These can pop up before the bird is cooked through.
- Making stuffing? Bake in a separate pan from the turkey, so it easily reaches (also required) 165 degrees F. If you stuff the bird, stuff it loosely. Packing it tightly slows down the time to reach 165 degrees F.
- Let the turkey “rest” for 15-20 minutes when it comes out of the oven. It helps the juices reincorporate into the meat.
After the meal
- To help prevent foodborne illness, don’t let food sit out more than two hours after it comes out of the oven or off the stove. That invites potential bacterial growth and no one wants foodborne illness after a nice holiday meal.
- Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Avoid leaving perishable foods in the temperature danger zone, 40-140 degrees F, for more than two hours.
- Turkey meat will chill faster if you take the meat off the bones. Save the bones in the refrigerator or freezer to make turkey soup.
- Store leftover foods in a flat, wide container (about 2 inches high) before refrigerating if possible. That helps it chill faster which keeps bacteria from growing. Freeze leftovers that cannot be used within three to four days.