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Football season is time for good food, tailgating, and family times with lots of good food. With changing weather from cool to warmer temperatures, it can also be a time for the risk of foodborne illness to increase. Keep your family safe from foodborne illness this season by following these on-the-go food safety tips:
• Carry cold perishable foods in an insulated cooler with several inches of ice or frozen gel packs. Never let raw meat, cooked food or cut fresh fruits or vegetables sit out for more than two hours.
• Keep raw foods (especially meats) separate from ready-to-eat foods, to avoid cross-contamination.
• Keep drinks in a separate cooler. The drink cooler can be opened often, while the food cooler stays cold.
• Hot foods prepared at home should be piping hot and placed in a pre-heated insulated container. Keep the container closed as much as possible to keep the heat in. Food should stay hot for several hours.
• Hot take-out foods should be eaten within two hours of purchase.
• Grilled foods should be cooked to a safe internal temperature (160 degrees for ground meat, 145 degrees for steaks and 165 degrees for poultry). Use a food thermometer to be sure. Do not partially cook meats at home and finish on the grill — this allows harmful bacteria to survive and multiply. Be sure to carry a reliable food thermometer and know how to use it correctly.
• Never put cooked food on a plate that held raw meat, poultry or seafood.
• Avoid leftovers; cook only the amount of food to be eaten.
• Pack clean dishes and utensils for serving cooked food.
• Bring soap, water and paper towels for cleaning hands and surfaces. Hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes will work in a pinch, but they are not as good as soap and water for removing dirt and bacteria.
• Bring nonperishable snacks for after the game or the drive home. Never eat cooked foods that have been out for more than two hours. Throw out leftovers that have not been kept ice-cold.
Be safe when it comes to food be it tailgating or another get together this fall.
Kentucky fall foods
As summer wanes and leaves change color, apple and pumpkin season arrives in Kentucky and across America. We begin to think of our favorite fall foods, apple and pumpkin pie, wonderful baked squash and other fall foods. Visiting an apple orchard or a pumpkin patch is a great family outing. Apple, pumpkin and other fall food crops may be purchased in larger quantities as they store well in a cool, dry space for up to a month or 6 weeks. Produce can also be purchased and processed soon after purchase by canning or freezing while it is in peak season.
Look for tasty varieties of apples to use in homemade applesauce, cooked apples and apple desserts. Some suggestions for good ones for cooking are Winesap, Jonathan, Yellow Delicious, Jonagold, Gingergold, Honeycrisp and Macintosh. Favorites for eating are Red and Yellow Delicious, Macintosh, Honeycrisp, and Jonagold. You can find other varieties that might become a favorite for eating and cooking. Pumpkins come in many sizes and varieties. Smaller “pie” pumpkins are easier to handle and cook more quickly. Freshly cooked or frozen pumpkin can be mashed and used in pancakes and muffins.
Be sure to plan for fall table and home decorations with small pumpkins, gourds and mums. If you use a special ingredient in a potluck dish, let everyone know where it was grown or made.
A trip to your farmers market or local orchard is a fun way to teach children about how food is grown while getting some of the best tasting fall foods.
Dates of interest
Sept. 28: Heritage Day, 11 a.m. Lots of old fashioned heritage events. Masterson House, Carrollton.
Oct. 3-5: Tobacco Festival, visit the Extension tent during the festival, downtown Carrollton.
Grace Angotti is Carroll Co. Extension agent for family and consumer sciences. Call her at (502) 732-7030 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.