Editor’s note: Thanksgiving is just over a week away. If you and your family are having a turkey that day, there are things to be done in the days before Thanksgiving. For advice The News turned to Curry County Cooperative Extension Service Family and Consumer Sciences Agent Mindy Turner for some “turkey tips.”
We want to help your family enjoy that turkey, while being food safe.
Here are some basic guidelines to remember when prepping for your feast. Allow one pound of turkey per person.
For fresh turkeys, buy 1-2 days before you plan to serve and store in the refrigerator in a drip pan until you are ready to cook it.
For frozen turkey, allow time for thawing safely. The only recommend methods are in the fridge or in cold water. In the refrigerator, allow 24 hours for every 4-5 pounds. A thawed turkey can remain in the fridge for 1-2 days. A securely wrapped turkey may be submerged in cold water for approximately 30 minutes per pound for thawing. Change the water every 30 minutes and cook immediately after it is thawed.
Turkey should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees. Use a food thermometer to check the temperature. Check the temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and the wing and the thickest part of the breast. On average, a 20-pound turkey will need to cook at 350 degrees for 4 ½ - 5 hours. Times are not exact – use the thermometer to ensure your turkey is done. Let the turkey stand for 20 minutes before carving.
Divide leftovers into smaller portions and refrigerate or freeze within two hours. Leftovers can last up to three or four days in the fridge. Cooked turkey may be eaten cold or reheated, but if you are reheating, get that internal temperature back to 165 degrees.