By: Adrienne Richards, Public Relations Manager, National Turkey Federation Date: 11/17/10
The National Turkey Federation (NTF) takes great pride in being the centerpiece for the Thanksgiving holiday. People don’t affectionately refer to it as “Turkey Day” for nothing. So, as consumers go back in the kitchen to prepare most of their holiday feasts from scratch, many new and seasoned home cooks often have questions about purchasing, preparing and storing their holiday bird safely. In fact, more than 46 million turkeys will be consumed this Thanksgiving. NTF, along with theInternational Food Information Council Foundation and the Partnership for Food Safety Education (PFSE), held a Thanksgiving Twitter Chat this week (Monday, Nov. 15) to help remind home chefs of how they can have a festive, delicious and food-safe celebration.
The majority of questions during the Twitter chat were ones NTF commonly receives during these busy holiday months. Below are those top five frequently asked inquiries:
1) How long can you keep a whole uncooked turkey in the freezer?
Consumers may still use a whole turkey that has been in the freezer from last Thanksgiving. A whole uncooked turkey can be kept in the freezer for one year for quality purposes.
2) What size turkey should I buy?
When purchasing a whole turkey for the holiday feast, consumers should plan to purchase at least one pound of uncooked turkey per person. This formula allows enough for the feast and plenty of leftovers.
3) What’s the best way to thaw my frozen turkey?
The best way to thaw a frozen turkey is in the refrigerator. The key to this method is to plan ahead and allow approximately 24 hours for every four to five pounds of bird weight. Simply place the bird, in the original wrapping, on a shallow baking sheet in the refrigerator. This method is the safest way to result in the best finished product.
4) How long will it take to roast the turkey?
Consumers need to remember that time is just a gauge but temperature is the true indicator for knowing when a roasted turkey is done. The turkey should be roasted at 325 degrees F and is safe to eat when a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees F, but is more palatable when the temperature reaches 180 degrees F in the thigh and 170 degrees F in the breast. If you stuff the bird, place the mixture in immediately before you place it in the oven. The center of the stuffing must register 165 degrees F. If the turkey is done before the stuffing, remove the turkey from the oven and finishing cooking the stuffing outside the turkey until it reaches the required temperature.
5) How long will leftover turkey keep in the refrigerator?
Leftover turkey should be carved from the bone and the stuffing removed. All leftovers should be stored in shallow containers and refrigerated or frozen within two hours of cooking. Leftover turkey will last in the refrigerator for three to four days and in the freezer for three to four months. One of my favorite leftover recipes is Moroccan Turkey Stew!
Consumers can find more information on preparing their holiday turkey at www.EatTurkey.com. The site offers more than 2,000 turkey recipes, tips on preparation, cooking demonstrations and nutritional facts.
On behalf of NTF, I wish you all a Happy Turkey Day.