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What's the Proper Way to Stuff a Turkey?

Generations of Americans have been enjoying turkeys -- stuffed and unstuffed. Whether you choose to stuff your turkey or cook stuffing in a casserole dish is a matter of personal preference. As with any preparation involving raw food ingredients, it is important to carefully follow proper food safety and handling procedures to ensure a safe turkey every time. For consumers who choose to stuff their turkey, we recommend the following five guidelines.

* Prepare stuffing just before placing in turkey. Use only cooked ingredients in stuffing -- saut vegetables, use only cooked meats and seafood (oysters), and use pasteurized egg products instead of raw eggs. * Place prepared stuffing in turkey just before roasting. Do not stuff the turkey the night before roasting. * Stuff both neck and body cavities of completely thawed turkey, allowing 1/2 to 3/4 cup of stuffing per pound of turkey. Do not pack stuffing tightly in turkey. * Return legs to original tucked position, if untucked for rinsing or stuffing. * Use a cook method that allows the stuffing to cook along with the turkey. Do not stuff turkeys when cooking on an outdoor grill or water smoker or when using fast cook methods where the turkey gets done before the stuffing. If you do not have a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the stuffing in the turkey, the stuffing should be cooked separately from the turkey.

Copyright 2003, ConAgra Foods, Inc. Reprinted with permission.

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