McAlester News-Capital

McAlester News-Capital office

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on all the reasons we have to be thankful.

We hope everyone enjoys the holiday with family, friends, neighbors and loved ones.

Our staff here is thankful for our readers, our own loved ones, and for the community support shown throughout the years.

We are also thankful for everyone involved in the Pittsburg County Community Thanksgiving — the annual event county elected officials and volunteers put together to offer free turkey day meals for the community. It's a great event that we believe shows how our community members look out for each other, especially during the holidays.

But if you missed the deadline to sign up for the meal or if you want to make your own Thanksgiving meal, here are a few tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the United States Department of Agriculture.

Planning and preparing Thanksgiving meals:

• Ask these questions to help plan your meal: Do you want a fresh or frozen turkey? Do you have enough space to store a frozen bird if purchased in advance; if not, when should you purchase a turkey? What size bird do you need to buy?

• You can buy a frozen bird at any time, but ensure you have enough storage for it. A fresh bird should be purchased only 1-2 days before cooking. Do not buy a pre-stuffed fresh turkey.

• A few rules of thumb to determine how big of a bird to get: one pound per person for a whole bird; 1/2 pound per person on boneless turkey breast; ¾ pound per person on turkey breast.

• Thaw a turkey in the fridge in a container; or in a leak-proof plastic bag in a sink of cold water (change the water every 30 minutes); or in the microwave, following the microwave oven manufacturer’s instructions.

• Never thaw your turkey by leaving it out on the counter.

• A whole turkey is safe cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F throughout the bird.

• When turkey is removed from the oven, let it stand 20 minutes. Remove stuffing and carve turkey.

Cooking with a fryer:

• Set up a turkey fryer more than 10 feet away from your home; keep children and pets away; and never leave it unattended.

• Place a fryer on a flat, level surface and carefully gauge the amount of oil needed.

• Completely thaw and dry a Thanksgiving turkey, heat the cooking oil to 350°F, and slowly and carefully lower the turkey into the hot oil.

• Allow 3-5 minutes per pound for cooking time, remove turkey from the oil and drain oil from the cavity, and turkey is safely cooked when the food thermometer reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165 °F in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.

We hope everyone will enjoy the holiday and count their blessings on Thanksgiving.

• McAlester News-Capital Editorial Board

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