Thanksgiving 101: Turkey

Here are some of our favorite turkey tips! From thawing to how much to buy. We have you covered. Check out these helpful tips to make sure you are prepared for the Holidays.

Fresh or Frozen?

Whether you go for a fresh or frozen turkey, quality is the same, and you should expect the same great flavor from either.

Frozen turkey is a good option when planning ahead. A large turkey can take up to 5 days to thaw, so keep this in mind when buying a last minute turkey. A frozen turkey can be labeled as both “frozen” or “previously frozen”. Make sure you are storing your frozen turkey in a freezer until you are ready to start the thawing process.

Fresh turkey will be labeled “fresh”. This means it has never been stored below 26 degrees F. Pay special attention to the sell by date, as you do not want to cook it after that date has passed, doing so could cause food borne illness.

All raw turkey should be stored at 40 degrees F or below to continue to be safe to eat.

Turkey safety:

Be sure to wash your hands before and after each time you handle the raw turkey.

When defrosting the turkey in the refrigerator, place it on a large tray or plate to contain any leakage. Make sure it is on the bottom shelf to ensure it does not cross contaminate other dishes.

If stuffing the turkey, wait to add the stuffing until right before you put it in the oven. Doing this the night before can increase the spread of bacteria to the stuffing.

Cook turkey (and stuffing inside) to and internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Use a meat thermometer to check for temp.

Do not let your turkey or any left overs sit out for more than 2 hours after serving. Put leftovers straight into the fridge or freezer.

How much turkey do I need?

Allow for about 1 1/2 pounds of raw turkey per person. This will be about 10 ounces after cooking, enough for a filling meal and left overs!

How do I defrost (thaw) a turkey?

The refrigerator is the best place to thaw your turkey. To safely thaw, you must plan ahead. Set aside one day (24 hours) for every 5  lbs of turkey weight.

8-10 lbs – 1-2 days
12-16 lbs – 2-3 days
16-20 lbs – 3-4 days
20-24 lbs –  4-5 days
24-28 lbs – 5-6 days

Once thawed, the turkey can remain in the fridge for 1-2 days, but it is better if cooked right away.

Stay tuned for more to come! Let us know in the comments how you like to cook your turkey!