April 22, 2018

Safe Turkey Preparation From the USDA

The USDA has lots of information about food safety and turkey preparation. In fact, they have a nice selection of videos on You Tube all about safe turkey preparation. The videos show you how to fry a turkey, prepare a smoked or grilled turkey, prepare a brined turkey, safely thaw a turkey, stuff turkey, and cook turkey.

Turkeys present a challenge to many home cooks for several reasons. First, since this bird is only cooked once or twice a year, many people do not have experience working with a turkey. Second, since the turkey is so large, it requires extra space in the fridge and special handling. And finally, many people are not sure about how to determine doneness.

The most important part of cooking a turkey is to plan ahead. If you purchase a frozen turkey and want to thaw it before cooking, it needs to be in the refrigerator for several days, since it takes 24 hours per 4 to 5 pounds to thaw. A twenty pound turkey can take up to six days to thaw. Turkey should never be thawed at room temperature. If you want to brine the turkey, make sure you have enough space in the refrigerator to hold the container with the turkey and the brine.

Watch the videos carefully and follow all instructions. Make sure you have a reliable food thermometer on hand to take the temperature of the turkey and the stuffing. Follow food safety rules to the letter. And you’ll have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving!

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