Turkey Cooking Instructions and Tips

Turkey is one of the leanest and healthiest protein foods and it is our basic holiday foods.  Cooking a moist and delicious turkey one of the greatest challenges.

We’re here to take this challenge and mystery out of handling and cooking turkey.

Thawing a Turkey
Frozen turkey should not be thawed at room temperature. Leave it in the original plastic package and thaw it in refridgerator or in cold water.

  • Refrigerator method is ideal as it keeps the meat cold until it is completely defrosted. Place turkey on a tray in the refrigerator, allowing 5 hours per pound defrosting time.
  • Cold water method is faster then the refrigerator method. Just put it in a large container, cover it completely with cold water. Change water at least every hour, allowing 1 hour per pound defrosting time.
  • Do not thaw a Frozen pre-stuffed turkey. Cook from the frozen state and check the product label for further instructions. 

Cleaning Turkey
Remove plastic wrap from thawed turkey. Remove neck and giblets from body cavity. Rinse it well inside and out with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels.

Storing Turkey

  • When storing fresh turkey remove giblets and refrigerate in covered container for use within 2 days.
  • Whole turkeys can be frozen for 1 year, parts for 6 months. Once the turkey is thawed, treat as fresh turkey and do not refreeze until it is cooked.
  • Cooked turkey may be stored in a covered container, plastic bag or wrapped in aluminum foil for up to 4 days in the refrigerator, or up to 3 months in the freezer.
  • After cooking, keep the turkey hot, above 140ºF or refrigerate below 40ºF. Do not leave turkey at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

How to Cook a Turkey

  • Preheat your oven to 325ºF.
  • If you want to stuff the turkey, stuff it lightly and just before it goes into the oven. Never stuff turkey the day or night before.
  • Stuffing can be prepared separately in a covered baking dish. Place it in the oven during the last 30 minutes of the turkey’s roasting time.
  • Many people wonder how to cook a turkey in the pan – breast up or breast down. Turkey should be placed breast up on a rack in a shallow pan.
  • Insert an oven-safe meat thermometer into the thickest part of the inner thigh just above but not touching the thigh bone.
  • Roast uncovered or loosely covered with foil. If you choose to baste your turkey, limit the number of times you open and close your oven (once an hour is enough). Opening the oven will lengthen the cooking time.
  • Roast turkey for about 20 minutes per pound, until the meat thermometer reads 170ºF for an unstuffed turkey or 180ºF for a stuffed turkey.
  • Remove turkey when cooking is completed and let stand for 15 to 20 minutes before you carve it to allow the juices to settle.

Be careful when handling turkey or any other meats:

  • Always wash hands thoroughly in hot soapy water before and after preparing foods and handling raw meat.
  • Do not let raw meat juices touch ready-to-eat foods either in the refrigerator or during preparation.
  • Do not put cooked foods on the same plate that held the raw product.
  • Wash utensils, dishes and surfaces used for cutting turkey with hot soapy water. Then rinse using a sanitizing solution of one capful of chlorine bleach in 4 cups of warm water.
  • Thoroughly rinse surfaces, dishes and utensils with hot water.
  • Keep cutting board and utensils in good repair as they can harbour bacteria inside cracks and crevices.Purchase one pound of turkey per person.

With the courtesy of http://www.cookingnook.com

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