The Christmas holidays are my favorite time of the year. During this time of year we eat all types of good comforting foods. We also attend all types of functions, parties, family dinners, etc. It is very important that we keep our foods safe for our families and friends during this holiday time. Please read and follow the following recommendations.


• Wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling any food.

• Wash food-contact surfaces (cutting boards, dishes, utensils, countertops) with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item.

• Rinse fruits and vegetables thoroughly under cool running water and use a produce brush when needed.

• Do not rinse raw meat and poultry before cooking in order to avoid spreading bacteria to areas around the sink and countertops.


• When shopping in the store, storing food in the refrigerator at home, or preparing meals, keep foods that won't be cooked separate from raw eggs, meat, poultry or seafood ñ and from kitchen utensils used for those products.

• Consider using one cutting board only for foods that will be cooked (such as raw meat, poultry and seafood) and another one for those that will not (such as raw fruits and vegetables).

• Do not put cooked meat or other food that is ready to eat on an unwashed plate that has held any raw eggs, meat, poultry, seafood or their juices.


• Use a food thermometer to make sure meat, poultry and fish are cooked to a safe internal temperature. To check a turkey for safety, insert a food thermometer into the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. The turkey is safe when the temperature reaches 165 degrees. If the turkey is stuffed, the temperature of the stuffing should be 165 degrees.


• Bring sauces, soups and gravies to rolling boil when reheating. Cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm. When making your own eggnog or other recipe calling for raw eggs, use pasteurized shell eggs, liquid or frozen pasteurized egg products or powdered egg whites. Don't eat uncooked cookie dough which may contain raw eggs.

• Refrigerate leftovers and takeout foods and any type of food that should be refrigerated, including pie within two hours.

• Thaw frozen food safely in the refrigerator, under cold running water or in the microwave; never at room temperature. Cook food thawed in cold water or in the microwave immediately.

• Don't taste food that looks or smells questionable. When in doubt, throw it out. Leftovers should be used within three to four days, unless frozen.

The 4-H foods/nutrition project is an excellent project for 4-H'ers to consider enrolling in. For more information please give us a call at (601) 656-4602.


• Dec. 3 - Christmas Parade Popcorn Popping, 4 p.m., Neshoba County Courthouse Square at Edward Jones Office.

• Dec. 7 - Annual 4-H Christmas Party and Homemade Ornament Competition, 6 p.m., Neshoba Coliseum.

Until next week, get into 4-H!