Featured Cuisine: Turkey 101
You know what you need to serve on Thanksgiving. After all, the star of the event is turkey, but what do you really know about it? Here, we give you tips on how to pick, store, and thaw a bird fit for a king. One last thing: Purchase one pound of turkey per person to be served if you don't want to be stuck with weeks of eating leftovers. Or, you can always check our Time To Eat...Again? column for creative ways to get rid of the leftovers.
How to Pick a Turkey
You can either buy a fresh or frozen bird, which all depends on the amount of money you want to spend and storage convenience. The difference? Frozen turkeys are flash frozen immediately after processing to 0 degrees or below and held at that temperature until packaged. The meat, once defrosted, is virtually at the same freshness as the day it was processed. Fresh turkeys are deep chilled after packaging. They have a shorter shelf life and are, therefore, usually more expensive.
How to Store & Thaw a Turkey
If you opted for a frozen turkey, simply store at 0 degrees F or below. For a money-saving option, purchase during special value sales and store the bird in the freezer until the thawing time begins. There are three ways to thaw the bird out: under refrigeration, in cold water, or the microwave.
Refrigeration: Allow approximately 24 hours per five pounds to thaw in
Cold Water: Allow approximately 30 minutes per pound to thaw in cold water, which is changed every 30 minutes. Do not use warm or hot water and be sure to change the water every 30 minutes.
Microwave: Follow the microwave manufacturer's directions and begin to roast the turkey immediately following the microwave process.
For fresh turkeys, be sure to store at 26 degrees F and above. Thawing is not required for fresh birds.
More About Thanksgiving Meals
Roasting the Turkey
Give Thanks, Then Eat
Thanksgiving Day Recipes