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A fire outside a house

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Frying your turkey this Thanksgiving? Here’s how not to burn down the house

Worried about destroying your home with a turkey-induced fire this Thanksgiving? Then be thankful for the kind souls at the American Chemical Society, who set some frozen turkeys ablaze so you don’t have to. Rule No. 1: Never put a fully frozen turkey in boiling hot oil. Water and oil don’t mix because water molecules are polarized but oil is not, meaning they are constantly trying to stay away from each other. That warring relationship is amplified when you put an icy bird in smoldering oil. The water rapidly vaporizes into steam and expands 1700 times its original volume, sending oil droplets flying. If that oil gets in contact with the fryer’s heat source, the whole thing could combust. Rule No. 2: Pay attention to the smoke point of your oil, the temperature it reaches when fats start breaking down. From peanut to canola, a few degrees difference can spell out disaster. If you see dark smoke, turn the temperature down immediately. Nothing ruins a holiday like a five-alarm fire.

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