A despicable turkey day ritual gets hosed
The Kansas City Star
We begin the work week with good news.
From Kansas State University’s news service comes a dispatch that should cheer many a cook on Thursday.
Contrary to what a lot of us have long believed, one does not have to rinse the turkey before cooking, says Doug Powell, professor of food safety.
In fact, we are strongly advised to not rinse the turkey.
“Do not wash that bird,” says Powell. “You’ll spread bacteria everywhere.”
Liberation! This was one of my least favorite Thanksgiving Day rituals. Get up early, spray the sink with a disinfectant. Rinse the sink. Wrestle the turkey out of its wrapping and plop it in the sink to be rinsed. Then haul it out of the sink, water dripping from its many cavities, usually ending up on the floor.
I always thought I was fighting bacteria with this rinsing business, but apparently I was just distributing it throughout my kitchen.
The way to destroy bacteria, Powell says, is to cook it to the proper temperature, and use a thermometer to make sure.
Cooks are bombarded this time of year with dire warnings about food safety. You know, the timeless controversy about whether it’s safe to stuff the turkey…how long it’s OK to keep leftovers around, etc. I frequently marvel at my luck in not poisoning an entire houseful of people. But the no-rinse rule is one I’m happy to follow.
Powell and some of his food safety pals publish an entertaining blog, barfblog, which you can find here.