Friday, November 16, 2018

Let's Talk Turkey!!

by Wendy Wedum, Pondera County Extension
Let's Talk Turkey...If you are the Turkey Chef at home, remember to keep food safety in mind. 
Thanksgiving is less than a week away!  If you happen to be the cook, plan now to thaw your frozen turkey safely to avoid food borne illnesses.  Here are three safe ways to get your turkey ready to cook. 
1. In the Refrigerator: Keep the turkey in its original packaging. Place it in a tray or pan to catch any juices that may leak during the thawing process. The best place to put your turkey is at the bottom of the refrigerator to prevent any juices from leaking on other food in your fridge. If you thaw your turkey in the refrigerator, it takes about 24 hours for every 4-5 pounds.  So a 16 pound turkey will take about 4 days to thaw out.  If your refrigerator is extra cold or overly full, it may take an extra day.  A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator an extra 1-2 days if it thaws quickly.
2. In the Kitchen Sink: Wrap the turkey securely in a water tight wrap and submerge it in sink with cold tap water that is less than 70 degrees.  Submerge the wrapped turkey in the cold water and set the timer for 30 minutes.  When the time goes off, drain and refill the sink. It takes about 30 minutes per pound to thaw a turkey in cold water.  A 16 pound turkey takes about 8 hours to thaw.  It is important to cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed.
3. In the Microwave.  Since it will be a small turkey you will need to remove all the outside packaging and follow the microwave instructions on thawing and power levels.  Make sure to place the turkey on a microwave safe dish to catch any juices.  Cook your turkey immediately after thawing it. 
Bonus tip: Remember to remove the package of giblets from the turkey cavity after thawing.  The giblets need to be cooked separately.
If you run into troubles or have more questions, you can call the Poultry hotline at 1-888-674-6854 (M - F from 10 am to 4 pm Eastern time) or go online and “Ask Karen” website and use the automated response system at
Just be award that there are usually more questions during the holidays. 
Here is a helpful resource for Thawing, Cooking, Storing and Reheating your turkey leftovers.
Check it out and Happy Thanksgiving!

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