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Turkey Talk

With the holiday season ramping up, we begin the intense cooking process to create lavish meals for our loved ones. This takes patience, time, and sometimes science when it comes to determining how long to cook food items and when to dethaw them. It’s important to follow the USDA food safety regulations especially when feeding a crowd in order to avoid the spread of any foodborne illness.

If you have a frozen raw turkey, it should be stored in the freezer until you are ready to thaw it. Double check your freezer is 0 degrees F or below. If you are storing a fresh whole turkey, it can be stored in the refrigerator until it’s time to cook it.

Be sure to allow about 24 hours of thawing time for each 4 to 5 pounds of turkey. When a turkey is thawed in the refrigerator, it can remain there for 1-2 days before cooking. When thawing your turkey in cold water, ensure the turkey remains fully submerged to prevent the spread of germs and change the water every 30 minutes. In most cases, for each pound of turkey, there should be 30 minutes of thawing allowed. If you decide to thaw the turkey using the microwave, make sure it is under 12 pounds and plan to cook the turkey immediately afterwards.

Be sure to handle the turkey with proper care by washing your hands before and after handling it. Use utensils for carving like a cutting board and knife only for the turkey; do not cross-contaminate by using the utensils on other foods like vegetables. After using the utensils, wash and rinse them immediately to ensure there are no lingering germs.

Lastly, be sure to cook the turkey fully. Try to avoid stuffing your turkey. If you do, complete this process right before cooking. The meat thermometer should reach a minimum temperature of 165 degrees F to ensure it is fully cooked. Follow these steps to make sure your family has a safe and happy holiday.

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