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Friday, Jan. 30, 2015

How to plan for a happy, healthy holiday

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's the season for eggnog, holiday baking, and leftovers! The last thing anyone wants this time of year is to be sick -- especially if it could have been avoided. Food borne illness is often disguised "a tummy ache" or "a bug." And often it's caused by careless actions on the part of people. Still, it can disrupt holiday plans and enjoyment of spending time with family and friends.

Some of our favorite holiday foods, such as eggnog, may contain raw eggs or lightly cooked eggs. Most commercially sold eggnog is pasteurized, meaning the mixture has been heated to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria that may have been present in the raw ingredients. However, if you're making your own eggnog, be sure to use a recipe that calls for slowly heating the mixture to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. This will maintain the taste and texture while also killing bacteria.

And no, a dash of rum won't make it safe! Adding alcohol cannot be relied upon to kill bacteria.

When making eggnog, use your favorite recipe, but follow this procedure.

* Beat eggs, sugar and salt in large heavy saucepan until blended. Stir in half the milk.

* Cook over low heat, stirring constantly but gently, until mixture is just thick enough to coat a metal spoon and the temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit --about 15 minutes. The mixture should drip off the spoon, leaving a thin coating that adheres to the spoon. Repeat test as necessary, using a clean spoon each time until the correct stage is reached. Do not allow to boil. Remove from heat immediately.

* Stir in the remaining milk, vanilla, and any other ingredients. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, several hours or overnight.

Follow the same procedure for making custards, puddings or ice cream safely.

Recipes that call for raw, whipped egg whites, such as frozen fruit salads or fluffy desserts, are also not safe. Those raw eggs have the potential to be contaminated with salmonella.

And, as tasty as that raw cookie dough or cake batter may be, resist the temptation to taste it, or to lick the beaters if the batter contains raw eggs.

Leftovers from a holiday meal come in handy for future meals, but handling them safely can mean the difference between a quick-and-easy meal -- or foodborne illness.

Tips to remember:

* Store leftovers within two hours of serving time.

* Transfer leftovers to a shallow pan for quicker cooling, and cover loosely. Once cooling is complete, tighten covers to protect food quality and prevent cross contamination.

* Use leftovers within a few days -- 1-2 days for gravy; 3-4 days for turkey and stuffing. Reheat gravies, sauces and soups to a boil. Reheat cooked leftovers to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

* For longer storage, freeze.

How long can leftovers be stored in the refrigerator? A handy website is www.stilltasty.com. This site is a one-stop resource that pulls information from the United States Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control. It also uses information from universities and non-profit organizations that study food storage. This might be a site you'll want to bookmark on your computer for future reference.

Merry Christmas!

Editor's Note: Ann Ludlum is a K-State Research and Extension family and consumer sciences and 4-H extension agent assigned to Bourbon County. She may be reached at (620) 223-3720 or aludlum@ksu.edu.


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I think that an alternative option could be to use pasteurized eggs. Personally, I have been using them for a few years now. I look to use them in all my egg-based recipes. And really have made it one of my missions that people really know about these. These recent egg recalls/ salmonella outbreaks have increase gov't interest to the point where they are taking more steps to increase inspectitions a technology that would eventually produce better and safer foods for us. However, in my opinion there is already a product out there that is safe. I would highly recommend pasteurized eggs for your next batch.

Happy Holidays.

-- Posted by concernedfoodie on Tue, Dec 21, 2010, at 12:58 PM


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Ann Ludlum
FCS Agent, Southwind District
Editor's Note: Ann Ludlum is a K-State Research and Extension family and consumer sciences and 4-H extension agent assigned to Southwind District -- Fort Scott office. She may be reached at (620) 223-3720 or aludlum@ksu.edu.