Turkey Time: Extension Service Offers Thawing Tips

November 27, 2013

It’s Thanksgiving, time for family and friends to gather and give thanks. And time for cooks to ponder the correct way to prepare their turkey.

Today, we are taking a look how to make sure your turkey is properly thawed with tips from Dorthy Lee, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent for the Escambia County Extension Office.

Following four simple food-handling practices—clean, separate, cook, chill—will ensure a delicious and safe meal.

Frozen turkeys should be thawed—at a safe temperature— prior to cooking. There are three safe ways to thaw a turkey — in the refrigerator at 40°F or less; in cold water; and in the microwave.

Frozen Turkeys

Allow 1 pound of turkey per person.
Keep frozen until you’re ready to thaw it.
Turkeys kept frozen in the freezer should be cooked within one year for best quality.

Thawing Your Turkey

In the Refrigerator (40°F or below)

Keep the turkey in its original wrapper. Place it on a tray or in a pan to catch any juices that may leak. A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. If necessary, a turkey that has been properly thawed in the refrigerator may be refrozen. When thawing in the refrigerator, allow 24 hours thawing time for every 5 pounds of turkey.

4 to 12 pounds = 1 to 3 days
12 to 16 pounds = 3 to 4 days
16 to 20 pounds = 4 to 5 days
20 to 24 pounds = 5 to 6 days

In Cold Water

When thawing in cold water, allow 30 minutes per pound and change the water every 30 minutes until the turkey is thawed. Wrap your turkey securely, making sure the water is not able to leak through the wrapping. Submerge your wrapped turkey in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes. Cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed. Do not refreeze. Allow approximately 30 minutes per pound.

4 to 12 pounds = 2 to 6 hours
12 to 16 pounds = 6 to 8 hours
16 to 20 pounds = 8 to 10 hours
20 to 24 pounds = 10 to 12 hours

In the Microwave

When thawing in the microwave, follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and plan to cook the turkey immediately after thawing because some areas of the turkey may become warm and begin to cook during microwave thawing.

For more information, call the Escambia County Extension office, (850) 475-5230.

Featured Recipe: Sweet Potato Marshmallow Swirl Cheesecake

November 27, 2013

As Thanksgiving approaches, we are featuring recipes on NorthEscambia.com this week. Today’s featured recipe, from columnist Janet Tharpe is a Sweet Potato Marshmallow Swirl Cheesecake.

Ernest Ward Names November Students Of The Month

November 26, 2013

Ernest Ward Middle School has named their November Students of the Month. They are  (pictured L-R) Isaac Armstrong, seventh grade; Jarrod Davison, eighth grade; and Brandon Berry, sixth grade. Submitted photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Let The Miracle League Fry Your Turkey

November 25, 2013

Want a fried turkey but afraid to try it yourself? Volunteers from the Miracle League of Pensacola will fry your turkey for you on Wednesday, November 27, saving you the time and trouble while benefiting the charity. And there is still time to make an appointment.

Completely thaw your turkey, removing all of the inside packaging and giblets. Write down exactly how much your turkey weighs so it is fried perfectly and take it to the Miracle League Park at 555 East Nine Mile Road from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Wednesday. For a monetary donation to Miracle League, the volunteers will fry your turkey to perfection. A minimum of $20 per turkey is necessary to help cover costs.

Appointments are encouraged. Call (850) 476-1650 to schedule your time.

Tate’s Showband Of The South To Perform in 2014 Philadelphia Thanksgiving Parade

November 24, 2013

The Tate High School Showband of the South has been selected to perform in the 2014 Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia. Aired on WPVI TV in Philadelphia, the parade is also seen nationally on ABC’s Good Morning America. The parade is billed as the oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in the United States.

Plans call for the Tate Showband to spend time in both Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. when they make the trip next year.

Pictured: The 2013-2014 Tate High Showband of the South. Courtesy photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Brothers In Communications

November 24, 2013

“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.” This William Shakespeare quote is literally true for two sets of brothers in Escambia County’s 146th Expeditionary Signal Battalion.

Brothers Spc. Micaiah Glover and 1st Lt. Elijah Glover; and Sgt. Brandon Corey McAlpin and Sgt. Richard Kyle McAlpin provide communication and signal support for the 31st Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Brigade, of Alabama and the 4th Military Police Brigade, of Michigan for Vibrant Response 13-2. Vibrant Response, a major field training exercise, is conducted by U.S. Northern Command and led by U.S. Army North.

Approximately 5,700 service members and civilians from the military and other federal and state agencies are training to respond to a catastrophic domestic incident. As a component of U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Army North, coordinates timely federal military response to disasters in the homeland to help the American people in time of need.

Elijah Glover, the unit’s executive officer and acting commander at Vibrant Response, treats his twin brother in a professional manner. Micaiah addresses Elijah as sir, and Elijah addresses Micaiah as Glover. Elijah leaves it up to the non-commissioned officer to counsel his brother if it is needed.

Micaiah said if he needs something for the field, he uses his chain of command like any other soldier in the unit would. He doesn’t go directly to his brother.

“We still joke around and talk about family matters every once in while if we have time during lunch or before formation,” said Micaiah, a 25B — an information technology specialist. Adding they focus on the mission while on duty.

Micaiah installs, operates and performs unit maintenance on multi-functional/multi-user information processing systems and peripheral equipment and auxiliary devices. He’s mostly in charge of the internet networks inside a building.

Elijah said it takes people a while to figure out that he and Micaiah are brothers because of their professionalism.

The other set of brothers are a little different.

Unlike the Glovers, they are not twins. And they call each other by their middle names — Corey and Kyle.

“NCOs are allowed to call each other by their first name if they know each other and are the same rank,” Elijah said.

“We work off each other’s strengths,” said Kyle. “There’s some stuff I know better, and there’s some stuff he knows better. We work really well as a team.”

Corey, a 25S — satellite communication systems operator-maintainer, is responsible for lines of communication. He works mostly with line-of-site communications. It’s a truck that has an external wire that connects to a 15- to 30-foot antenna. The line-of-site communications is mostly there in case the satellite goes out, but also to help clear disruption in communication.

Kyle, a 25Q — multichannel transmission systems operator-maintainer, works directly on equipment that communicate through more than one channel. He mostly works with the Satellite Transport Terminal. As a civilian mechanic, Kyle also is able to fix some of the unit’s equipment when it goes down — like the generator.

“Soldiers describe Corey as the ‘City Mouse’ and Kyle as the ‘Country Mouse’,” said Elijah. “You’ll be able to decipher the monikers in quick conversation. Kyle has a distinct Southern accent and parables life in well-drawn tales. While Corey prefers the tall silent persona.”

Elijah, describing the McAlpin brothers, said “The Brothers Mac work well on and off the proverbial grid; with one another, their leaders and fellow NCOs and with their subordinates. These gentlemen command a respect due any professional of their caliber.”

Elijah added one final thought to describe the two sets of brothers: “During duty hours professionalism with a mission focus is the personal creed of all members of the 146th ESB family and the standard holds no exceptions for those of blood relation.”

Story by Spc. Alfonso Corral, 318th Public Affairs Operations Center

Pictured top: Spc. Micaiah Glover and his brother 1st Lt. Elijah Glover; and Sgt. Brandon Corey McAlpin and his brother Sgt. Richard Kyle McAlpin, all members of the 146th Expeditionary Signal Battalion from Pensacola, provide a Satellite Transportable Terminal for use during U.S. Army North (Fifth Army) led Exercise Vibrant Response 13-2. Spc. Micaiah Glover and Sgt. Brandon Corey McAlpin of the 146th Expeditionary Signal Battalion of  Escambia County troubleshoot internet problems and perform maintenance on a Satellite Transportable Terminal during the exercise. Photos by Sgt. Alfonso Corral, 318 Press Camp, for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Holiday Cooking: Good For The Soul; Bad For The Environment

November 24, 2013

It’s that time of year again. The holidays mean special times with family and friends, and lots of delicious food: turkey, gravy, buttery homemade desserts and yes, the potential for sanitary sewer overflows.

It’s true; the holiday season comes with an increased possibility of pollution from costly sewer backups and overflows. During the holidays, when more cooks  are preparing higher-fat-content foods such as deep-fried turkeys, the amount of fats, oils, and grease (FOG) entering into the ECUA sewer system increases, as does the potential for problems.

When turkey fat and gravy are washed down the drain during cleanup of pots, pans and fryers, the fats and greasy scraps harden, and stick to the inside of sewer lines.  This build up increases over time, especially in cold weather, and can cause clogs and potential overflows. Who wants that problem at a holiday gathering?

Fortunately, there are ways we can all make sure our kitchens don’t contribute to potential pollution, and avoid sewage backups in our homes and neighborhoods. Cooks should refrain from disposing of fatty substances such as lards/shortening, butter/margarine, food scraps, dairy products, batter and icing, salad dressings and sauces into a sink or drain.

If You’re Frying a Turkey this Year:

Deep-frying a turkey often leaves behind three to five gallons of used cooking oil. ECUA recommends the following steps be taken to safely dispose of used cooking oil:

  • Let the oil cool completely. Pour it into its original container or another leak-proof container and label “Used Cooking Oil.”
  • Take the used cooking oil to an ECUA Cooking Oil Disposal Station or call the ECUA for a free Residential Household Hazardous Waste collection.
  • For smaller volumes allow the oil to cool and solidify. Scrape it into the trash. Hint: add kitty litter to the oil. The litter will absorb the oil and form clumps for easy garbage disposal. Avoid scented or disinfectant types of kitty litter as they can react with the oil and cause a fire.

Please don’t dispose of FOG by dumping it in the yard. This action is harmful to the environment when rain washes FOG residue into the storm drain, reaching local waterways without treatment.

Here are tips for a friendly FOG cleanup:

  • Pour cooled FOG into a can with a lid and preferably recycle at an ECUA drop off site.
  • If you can’t recycle your FOG, please dispose of it in your garbage can. Wipe down greasy pots, pans and dishes with a paper towel before washing.
  • Dispose of the paper towel in the garbage, not in your recycling can.
  • Don’t use hot water or the garbage disposal to wash fats down the drain. Water cools through the pipes, causing fats to harden into clogs further along in the sewer system.
  • Drop off used cooking oil at following ECUA Disposal Stations:

Clean & Green
3303 North Davis Highway

Baskerville Donovan Engineering
449 West Main Street                                   

ECUA at Ellyson Industrial Park
9255 Sturdevant Street                                             

ECUA Sanitation Department
3050 Godwin Lane                                                      

ECUA Bayou Marcus Water Reclamation Facility
3050 Fayal Drive                                                 

Pensacola Beach on Via de Luna Drive
Between Pensacola Beach Elementary School and Our Lady of Assumption Catholic Church

NAS Pensacola (Military and Base Personnel ONLY)
Andrew Jackson Court
Fort Santa Maria de Galve Hase Road
Slemmer Avenue
Abb Street across from the Naval Survival Training Institute
Murray Street and Billingsley Street
Corry Field Housing at NAS Corry Station

For additional information visit the ECUA website www.ecua.fl.gov or call 476-0480.

BBB: 8 Holiday Travel Tips That Will Help You Save Money

November 24, 2013

The holiday season is fast-approaching and if you haven’t already booked your flight home, now is definitely the time to do it. When it comes to booking holiday flights; the earlier you book, the more you’ll save. This may seem like a standard rule of thumb but Better Business Bureau has a few more travel tips to help you save time and money this holiday season:

1. Use online discount travel sites to find the best deals out there. If you plan on renting a car or staying at a hotel, bundle these reservations with airfare as a way to save money and find cheaper rates through your airline.

2. Consider going on a tropical vacation. Most people go home for the holidays so traditional vacation destinations are often less busy and less expensive over the holidays. It may seem strange to be laying on a beach on Christmas day, but it may turn out to be your favorite Christmas yet.

3. Fly into smaller airports. Their fares might actually be cheaper and they will be less crowded than larger airports.

4. Pack light to avoid possible overweight baggage fees. If possible, limit yourself to a carry-on bag to avoid the drama of lost or left-behind luggage. Also, do not wrap your presents before you fly because TSA workers may unwrap presents for inspection.

5. Be flexible with when you fly. The most expensive flights are on the days leading up to holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas. Check out flights on the morning of the holiday because the rates may be cheaper and the lines may be shorter.

6. Take a taxi or van or ask a friend to drive you to the airport. This will save you money on airport parking, which often have very high rates especially around the holidays.

7. Get to the airport with plenty of time to spare. Don’t risk missing your flight because there is a huge line at security. Airports around the holidays are extremely hectic so make sure to leave extra early and avoid unnecessary travel drama.

8. If your flight gets cancelled, try finding your own alternative flight. There are many apps and websites that not only track flight delays, but also show departures and seats available elsewhere. This beats waiting in line and depending on an airline agent to find you a new flight.

We all know the holidays can be stressful enough, so don’t let a travel fiasco turn you into the Grinch before you even leave the terminal. Following these steps will reduce your travel stress and help you save some money along the way.

Satsumas Available From Davisville Man’s Orchard

November 23, 2013

A local man is selling the fruits of his labor — satsumas from his orchard.

Jimmie Davis has nearly 180 satsuma trees in his orchard in the Davisville community.  The satsumas, which are said to be better than an orange and peel like a tangerine, are available while supplies last.

To purchase the satsumas, stop by 9941 Highway 97 (south of Highway 4, near Pine Forest Road).

Pictured above: Jimmie Davis of Davisville with one of his satsuma trees. Submitted photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

NOAA Calls For Warmer, Drier Winter

November 22, 2013

Winter is likely to see a drought develop across parts of the Southeast, along with above normal temperatures, according to NOAA’s Annual Winter Outlook released Thursday.

In the Southeast, including the North Escambia area, the Precipitation Outlook favors below average precipitation, while the Temperature Outlook favors above average temperatures.

Sea surface temperatures across the equatorial Pacific have been near average since spring 2012, and forecasters expect that to continue through the winter. This means that neither El Niño nor La Niña is expected to influence the climate during the upcoming winter.

The Climate Prediction Center produces the U.S. Winter Outlook to give American communities the best possible scientific prediction of how the winter may shape up across the nation. This outlook supports local and state governments in their effort to plan for public needs during the winter, and large and small businesses as they plan for winter impacts on things like transportation, market demand for goods and services, and finances.

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