Thanksgiving Kitchen Safety Tips - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Nov 17, 2018

Thanksgiving Kitchen Safety Tips

Get Your Kitchen Ready to Host Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving means many things to different people - the chance to gather with family, the one time of year you break out the cherished family recipe for pumpkin pie, the unofficial start of the holiday season and - if you’re hosting - the biggest workout your kitchen will get all year. After all, when else are you making one giant main course, six or more side dishes and numerous desserts for a group of people?

If you’re planning on hosting Thanksgiving this year, be sure to ask yourself ahead of time if your kitchen is ready. Prepping your cooking space in advance can make cooking day-of (and let’s be honest, a day or two before as well) less stressful and safer. Read on for kitchen safety tips for the big day:

The Week Before

Plan Ahead: You’ll want to think about defrosting your turkey safely and efficiently to avoid food poisoning. The best method for defrosting a turkey is in your refrigerator, but it takes roughly 24 hours to defrost just 4 or 5 pounds. A 20-lb turkey will take 4 or 5 days to thoroughly defrost.

Clean Your Oven: Many ovens have a cleaning feature to burn off fallen food and grease. Getting rid of oven build up will lessen the chance of anything setting flame while you’re cooking your turkey and casseroles on the big day.

Check Your Smoke Detectors: While you shouldn’t have these installed directly in the cooking area, smoke detectors should be installed in the hallways just off the kitchen. Make sure they are charged and ready to go for Turkey Day! Although it might be tempting to turn them off while cooking, avoid doing so to make sure you’re alerted in case of emergency.

Double Check Your Fire Extinguisher: Be sure to have a fire extinguisher nearby. One of the most common types of fire is a grease fire. Although a fire extinguisher may ruin your meal, it may very well save your home.


The Day Before

Clean the Cooktop of Your Stove: Whether you use a glass cooktop, electric element, or gas, be sure that any excess food or grease splatters are cleaned up prior to cooking to avoid a kitchen fire.

Unclutter the Counter: Unplug any unnecessary appliances and put them away to clear up counter space. You’ll be so glad you did once it’s time to get cooking! Plus, less clutter means less chance of accidentally knocking things on the floor.

On Thanksgiving Day

Be Cautious of Turkey Fryers: If you are planning to deep fry your bird, make sure the turkey is completely thawed and plan to fry outside. Do not use the fryer in a garage or outside structure and make sure you are well away from anything flammable.

Gather Your Tools: Have a food thermometer nearby. A turkey is done cooking when its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure you also have plenty of cooling trays and oven mitts on hand to protect both your hands and your counters!

Make a First Aid Kit: Be prepared with aloe and bandages just in case a burn or cut occurs. Cool, running water can also lessen pain and swelling.

Stay in the Kitchen While Cooking: Tempting as it may be to step out of the room to do some last minute cleaning or place setting, it’s important to remain in the kitchen at all times while cooking. If you need to step out, have someone else watch the food in your absence.

Designate a Space for Children and Pets: Remind children to stay out of the kitchen and away from the stove to ensure their safety. Help keep them occupied by setting up a play area in a separate room. During all the holiday hustle and bustle, you’ll also want to keep an eye on your pets. Consider shutting them in a separate room while your guests are over so you don’t have to worry about them becoming overstimulated, injured in the kitchen or running out the door as guests come and go. 

A safe Thanksgiving is achieved through preparation. Follow these tips and you’re sure to have a successful Thanksgiving meal with your friends and family.