Safe Turkey Preparation

Turkey Talk: Food Safety for the Holiday Season

After you have picked that perfect turkey, what’s next? Here are a few recommendations for safely preparing your holiday bird.

Thawing and Cooking a Frozen Turkey

  • Remember to wash your hands, and any work surfaces or utensils touched by raw poultry and its juices with hot, soapy water before going on to your next task.
  • You can thaw the turkey in the fridge. Leave the turkey in its wrapping and refrigerate on the bottom shelf. Place it on a tray to prevent juices from dripping onto other foods. Allow at least one day of thawing for every five pounds of frozen turkey.
  • You can thaw a wrapped turkey in a pan of cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes to keep cold. It takes a minimum of 30 minutes per pound to thaw a whole turkey.
  • Just before baking, remove the original plastic wrapper from the thawed or fresh bird and remove the neck and giblets. Drain the juices and blot the turkey dry with paper towels.
  • Bake the stuffing in its own dish, not inside the turkey. But if you must, stuff the turkey just before roasting, not hours before. Immediately after roasting, remove all stuffing from the turkey cavity.
  • Just after your meal is over, take the leftover meat off the bones and dispose of the skeleton. Refrigerate gravy, meat and other items to prevent the possibility of food poisoning.