University of Maine Cooperative Extension has several resources to help prepare a safe and healthy Thanksgiving meal.

Before buying that turkey, UMaine Extension associate professor and registered dietitian Kate Yerxa suggests “planning for one to 1½ pounds of turkey per person. This will provide enough for the meal and leftovers for turkey sandwiches or a favorite turkey recipe,” according to a news release from the Orono-based extension office.

“How to safely thaw the turkey is a common question,” said UMaine Extension professor Kathy Savoie, according to the release. “The length of time it will take to thaw a turkey in the refrigerator depends on its size. Plan on 24 hours per five pounds of frozen turkey.”

Turkey should be cooked to reach an internal temperature of 165 F to kill harmful bacteria. Using a food thermometer, the temperature should be measured in the innermost part of the thigh and wing, and the thickest part of the breast. Leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator at 40 F or colder, within two hours of being cooked. Leftovers should be frozen or used within four days; gravy should be used within two days.

UMaine Extension has simple healthy recipes that use local Maine produce and “Mainely Dish” recipe videos demonstrate a variety of recipes. Extension publications for a healthy Thanksgiving, including “Helpful Hints for Handling Turkeys for Thanksgiving” also are featured. These can be found online at extension.umaine.edu or extensionpubs.umext.maine.edu.

The USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline is available from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thanksgiving Day at 1-888-674-6854, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, or from live chat at ask.usda.gov.

For more information, call 207-591-3188 or email [email protected].