Talking Turkey with Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
WebMD Live Events Transcript; Event Date: Thursday, November 18, 2004
There are lots of ways we can add cranberries to all sorts of foods
year-round, using frozen cranberries. Certain stores tend to have them, like
Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.
You can make special holiday cranberry pecan pancakes or waffles; you can
add them to your apple crisp; I like to use cranberry sauce as a spread for
sandwiches, too. You can even make a quick holiday appetizer with some light
cream cheese and some yummy cran-raspberry sauce on top and serve with whole
We have folks coming early for Thanksgiving dinner and will want to have some
appetizers out for them. Any suggestions?
My in-laws make a point of having a few appetizers, and I just usually don't
partake, because I'm saving room for the main event. So I think if you do have
appetizers, just stick to appetite-stimulating, palate-cleansing type of
appetizers, like raw vegetables with a light dressing, salad dressing for dip,
like jicama, and maybe some fresh fruit -- something to nibble on without
loading up. Even a cheese and cracker platter should do OK, because people tend
not to go on and on tasting cheese.
Let's talk about some food safety issues, starting with thawing the turkey. And
can you comment on the new "freezer to oven" turkeys?
The first thing about thawing turkey is that the ideal place to do that is in
the refrigerator. That is going to guarantee your turkey doesn't fall below a
safe temperature. You're going to have to have some time to do this over a few
days. So for a lot of us last-minute turkey planners, we may be tempted to try
this new freezer to oven turkey by Jennie-O turkeys.
I've just learned that it comes in a special wrapping that you then have to
add some ventilation to, and put it in a 350-degree oven. My guess is they
might be injecting certain things into the turkey. If it's a saline solution or
salt water, that's fine, just know that it's happening. I would look on the
label to check this, but this sounds like a pretty great solution if you leave
it to the last minute. It's probably not something you want to try yourself
with a frozen turkey that's not designed to go from freezer to oven.
Another safety concern is stuffing the turkey cavity with your dressing or
For safety reasons and health reasons, it's definitely ideal to bake your
stuffing separately. Your stuffing will not have contact with raw or partially
raw turkey and any bacteria, and your stuffing will not absorb the turkey fat
drippings as it cooks, either. Stuffing is like a sponge, and it will soak up
every drop of turkey fat, if you let it.