Turkey Tips for the upcoming Holiday

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Image of a cooked turkey
With the Thanksgiving holiday just around the corner, many are already making plans for cooking the turkey.
So how much turkey should you buy?
The National Turkey Federation recommends ¾-1 pound of uncooked turkey per person depending on how many leftovers you prefer.
How long will it take to thaw my turkey?
The USDA advises that for every five pounds of turkey allow 24 hours in refrigerated temperatures for adequate and safe thawing. A 15 pound frozen bird will take 3-4 full days to thaw in the refrigerator. Plan the date of purchase and allow enough refrigerator space for thawing. If you are rushed for time, thaw in cold water making sure water is not able to leak through wrapping. Change water every 30 minutes. The turkey will take about 30 minutes per pound to thaw. Refrigerate at 40°F or below or cook turkey immediately after it is thawed. Do not refreeze uncooked, defrosted turkey.
Temp the Turkey!
 A whole turkey is safe cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F throughout the bird. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast using a digital, sensitive tip food thermometer. All turkey meat, including any that remains pink, is safe to eat as soon as all parts reach at least 165°F. The stuffing should reach 165°F whether cooked inside the bird or in a separate dish.
For more information on Holiday Cooking and Food Safety contact Haywood & Macon County’s Family & Consumer Science Extension Agent, Julie Sawyer: julie_sawyer@ncsu.edu
To speak with someone from the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline:
You may speak with a food safety specialist from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST on weekdays year round. (The Hotline is closed on federal government holidays, with the exception of Thanksgiving Day. Hours of operation on Thanksgiving are 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Eastern Time.) An extensive menu of recorded food safety messages may be heard 24 hours a day. Dial the nationwide toll-free number, 888-MPHotline (888-674-6854).

Written By

Julie Sawyer, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionJulie SawyerExtension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences Call Julie Email Julie N.C. Cooperative Extension, Haywood County Center
Updated on Nov 26, 2019
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