If the National Fire Protection Association were writing this story, it'd probably go like this: Don't fry a whole turkey on Thursday if you don't know what you're doing. The end.
Thanksgiving is the No. 1 day of the year for cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve, the association says. More than three times the average number of cooking infernos happen when Thanksgiving goes up in flames. The frying game is particularly fraught: Deep fryer fires cause an average of five deaths and 60 injuries a year and do more than $15 million in property damage, according to the NFPA.
"No matter how many years you've been cooking, or how many Thanksgiving feasts you've served, you still need to make safety your main ingredient," said Henry County, Georgia, Fire Marshall Michael Black.
Turkey fryers should be handled with care because of the intense heat, experts warn. They can also tip over, spilling the sizzling oil.
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Putting a partially frozen turkey into a hot fryer is a particularly bad idea, as that can cause oil to splatter. Come Thursday, should you decide you'll fry if you want to, experts advise these safety tips.
1. Place the fryer outside on a flat surface that can't burn, such as concrete, and several feet away from anything that can ignite.
2. Thaw the turkey completely before cooking.
3. Don't let children or pets come anywhere near it. An adult should watch the fryer while it cooks.
4. Use a fryer with thermostat controls.
5. Use potholders and oven mitts when handling the turkey.
Even if you take the safer route and stand by your pan, safety's still important. Experts advise these tips for ensuring a safe holiday.
1. Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop and keep an eye on the food.
2. Stay inside the home when cooking your turkey, and check on it frequently.
3. Keep children away from the stove, hot foods and liquids (and candles and lit fireplaces, of course).
4. Make sure smoke alarms work.
5 easy last-minute appetizers for Thanksgiving
Cookbook author Jill Silverman Hough created this simple 3-ingredient recipe you can whip up in minutes. The tangy blue cheese and balsamic vinegar perfectly complement the sweetness of the dates, making this the perfect Thanksgiving finger food.
Cranberry Salsa with Cream Cheese
This sweet and spicy cranberry salsa from Everyday Dishes is the perfect thing to tide you over until the turkey is ready. It also can be made the day before to cut down on prep work during Thanksgiving.
Apple Cranberry Brie Bites
There are a lot of fall flavors packed into these tiny brie bites from Blue Jean Chef. They can be prepared and frozen before Thanksgiving and need just six ingredients: brie, Granny Smith apples, cranberry sauce, rosemary, defrosted puff pastry and egg.
Butternut Squash and Bacon Crostini
This crostini recipe from Cozy Cravings will fly off the table. The slightly sweet butternut squash and ricotta are perfectly complemented by savory bacon and tangy apple cider vinegar.
Marshmallow Sweet Potato Bites
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