June 20, 2024

The Three Safe Ways To Thaw A Turkey

There are only three safe ways to thaw a turkey and if you bought a giant, frozen bird your time has run out for one of them. Every year, The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) compiles Thanksgiving food safety tips for consumers, including safe methods for thawing. There are three of them: refrigerator, cold water and microwave.

Christmas turkeyTo thaw a frozen turkey in the refrigerator, put it on a tray that can collect any juice and place the tray in a fridge with an internal temperature of  40˚F or lower. Allow 24 hours for every 4-5 pounds. So, a 4 to 12 pound turkey needs one to three days,  a 12 to 16 pound turkey needs — three to four days, a 16 to 20 pound turkey needs four to five days and a 20 to 24 pound turkey needs five to six days

A fridge- thawed turkey can stay in the fridge one to two days before cooking, or be refrozen if you have a change of plans. And cooked meat from the turkey can be frozen.

To thaw a frozen turkey using the cold water method, put the turley in a leak-proof plastic bag, then submerge it in cold tap water. Allow 30 minutes per pound, changing the water every 30 minutes unttil the turkey s thawed. So, a 4 to 12 pound turkey will take two to six hours, a 12 to 16 pound turkey will take  6 to 8 hours, a 16 to 20 pound turkey will take eight to 10 hours and a 20 to 24 pound turkey will take 10 to 12 hours.

A turkey thawed this way has to be cooked right away, but cooked meat from the turkey can be frozen.

If your microwave is big enough or your turkey is small enough, you can thaw a turkey in the microwave. Follow the microwave oven manufacturer’s instructions for defrosting a turkey.

A turkey thawed in this manner must be cooked immediately after thawing.

If none of these options work for you and you are willing to get up early on Thanksgiving morning,  there is a food-safe way to cook a completely frozen turkey. This method reduces the risk of cross-contamination from spilled juices in your fridge, but it takes longer in the oven than a thawed.

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