December 7, 2023

Safely Thaw Your Thanksgiving Turkey With USDA Tips

Learn yow to safely thaw your Thanksgiving turkey with these timely tips from the USDA. If you bought a frozen turkey, now is the time to start thawing it so it’s ready to cook on the big day.

Safely Thaw Your Thanksgiving Turkey With USDA Tips

It’s critical that you learn this fact: never ever thaw your turkey, or any frozen food, at room temperature unless the package specifically states that it’s safe to do so. If you thaw meat products, especially, at room temperature, the product will sit at the danger zone of 40°F to 140°F for too long. And bacterial counts double in amount every hour in that temperature range.

Since bacteria can produce toxins as they grow that are not destroyed by heat, cooking a contaminated turkey may not make it safe to eat. And you could get sick.

The USDA says that one of the most common question they are asked at their Meat and Poultry Hotline (1-888-674-6854) every Thanksgiving is, ‘How do you  properly thaw a turkey?”

There are two ways to accomplish this task. You can thaw it in the refrigerator for days, or in cold water for hours.

So take your turkey out of the freezer, put it into another container so juices do not drip on other food, and place it on the lowest shelf of your fridge. It takes 24 hours for every four to five pounds of weight for a turkey to thaw in the fridge. For an example, it will take a 15 pound turkey three days to thaw in the refrigerator. A completely thawed turkey can stay in the fridge for only one or two days before cooking, so time it accordingly.

If you want to thaw the turkey in cold water, submerge the bird in its original wrapper in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes. If you use this method, the turkey must be cooked immediately, as soon as it’s thawed.

Or you can cook your turkey while it’s still frozen!

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