Thanksgiving Food Safety How To Thaw A Turkey
Thawing the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner may slip your mind with all of the preparations going on for the family dinner. Your busy cooking, cleaning and preparing and oops, you forget to thaw the turkey. Oh no, what are you going to do? If you didn’t plan ahead and thaw your turkey in the refrigerator, there are a few things you can do! It’s important to practice proper food safety to ensure no one gets sick from an improperly defrosted or prepared turkey.
Start by realizing that it will take several days for your turkey to thaw in the refrigerator. You can keep the turkey thawed for a day or two in the fridge prior to cooking. Besides using the refrigerator, there are two other ways to thaw a turkey. You can use the cold water method or the microwave. I personally use the fridge method and then resort to the cold water if I guessed wrong on thawing time or forgot to pull the turkey out of the freezer.
How to Thaw a Turkey Safely In The Fridge Method:
When you remove the turkey from the freezer keep the turkey in its plastic wrapper. Place the turkey on a tray or in a pan to catch any juices. Allow about 24 hours for ever 5 pounds of turkey following the time table below as a guideline. Remember that you can keep the turkey in the refrigerator for a day or two extra once its thawed.
4 to 12 pounds = 1 to 3 days
12 to 16 pounds = 3 to 4 days
16 to 20 pounds = 4 to 5 days
20 to 24 pounds = 5 to 6 days
How to Thaw a Turkey Safely In The Cold Water Method:
Thawing a turkey in cold water requires a bit more action on the cooks part. Again keep the turkey in the wrapper and allow 30 Minutes per pound for the turkey to soak in cold water. You will need to change the water every 30 minutes until the turkey is thawed. Use the timetable below as a timeline to thaw your turkey.
4 to 12 pounds = 2 to 6 hours
12 to 16 pounds = 6 to 8 hours
16 to 20 pounds = 8 to 10 hours
20 to 24 pounds = 10 to 12 hours
Thawing Turkey Safely In The Microwave Method:
When choosing to use the microwave to thaw your turkey its important to use the manufacturer’s instructions and be sure to cook the turkey as soon as it has thawed. With microwave thawing the meat can begin to cook allowing for bacteria to grow.
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What methods have you used to defrost your turkey? Planning a few days ahead of time will save you time and no one will have to eat frozen turkey for Thanksgiving?
Now that you know how to thaw a turkey, make sure you can stuff it correctly, too. Visit our post on How to Stuff a Turkey and you will be a pro in the kitchen this Thanksgiving.