Turkey Tips to Keep Your Thanksgiving Holiday Safe and Happy
(The updated information in this post is in Italics.)
The following tips will help keep your turkey safe to eat.
1. If you are using a frozen turkey, allow ample time for it to thaw in your refrigerator.
A twelve pound turkey can take up to four days to thaw in the refrigerator. The time required for your turkey to thaw is dependent on how big it is and the temperature your refrigerator is operating at.
2. Do not thaw your turkey at room temperature. Doing so, allows the exterior of the turkey to get hot enough to support microbial growth while the interior is still frozen solid.
3. If you discover your turkey has not thawed sufficiently in the refrigerator, you may use the following method to help it along:
Put your turkey into a clean sink or container and fill it with cold water (hopefully your sink/container is deep enough for the turkey to be fully covered; if not, turn the turkey over periodically). Leave the turkey in the water for 20 minutes and then drain. Repeat as needed.
4. Be sure to cook your turkey to appropriate temperature; 165˚ F. Use a calibrated stem thermometer to check the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh. The juices should run clear.
If you suffer from dry turkey syndrome you may wish to brine your turkey
Combine 1 gallon of water, 1 cup sugar and ½ cup kosher salt in a large pan and bring to a boil.
When the sugar and salt are dissolved turn off the heat allow the brine to cool to room temperature. Place your thawed turkey in a container large enough to hold it and cover with cooled brine.
Place in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
When you are ready to cook, remove the turkey from the brine and discard the brine.
Dry the turkey with paper towels.
Season and cook your turkey as normal.
A 12 pound turkey will take about 1 ½ - 1 ¾ gallons of brine.
Remember it must be thawed and refrigerated at a temperature below 39˚ F.
Brining flushes out some blood and helps the bird retain water so you will hopefully wind up with a juicy turkey.
You may also wish to flavor the brine by:
adding some fresh squeezed orange juice as a part of the water required
add orange halves to the brine when you bring it to a boil
you may also add any other herb or aromatic you desire to the brine when bringing it to a boil.
Need further assistance with your turkey or other holiday cooking projects?
You may wish to access the following sources of help:Reynolds Turkey Tips Line
(800) 745-4000 Open through December 31, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Butterball Turkey Talk Line
(800) BUTTERBALL (800-288-8373) Available November 1 through December 28, weekdays 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CST; Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST; Thanksgiving Day, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST; Nov. 24 to Dec. 25, weekdays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST.
(800) 810-6325 Recorded answers to frequently asked turkey preparation questions.
Crisco Pie Hotline
(877) 367-7438 toll-free. Provides answers the most common questions about baking pies for novice bakers as well as offering tips that will benefit the most seasoned baker. The hotline also offers the option for callers to connect to a live pie expert for pie baking guidance. Hours: 9 - 7 EST except for: Nov. 16 - 25 (8am - 8pm EST) and Dec. 14 - 23 (8am - 8pm EST).
(800) 255-7227. Live operators answer your questions 24 hours a day November 19 through December 1. The rest of the year, hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST, Monday through Friday.
(800) 473-7383 Available weekdays year-round (except the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas Day) 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m Eastern Time. Thanksgiving week: Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST, Nov. 27, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST, Thanksgiving Day, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m EST.
Shady Brook Farms Turkey Line
(888) 723-4468. Available 24-hours, 7 days-a-week, automated messages by famous chefs and winemakers, through Jan. 1.
(800) 367-4734. Year-round Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST; Fridays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m EST. Closed on Jewish and secular holidays.
Land O' Lakes Holiday Bakeline
(800) 782-9606 Available through Dec. 24 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m, CST, 7 days a week.
(888) ASK-BETTY (888-275-2388) Open 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. CST weekdays; staffed year-round.
Campbell's Soups Holiday Leftovers Hotline
(888) 453-3868 Open the day after Thanksgiving through December 31 for questions on leftovers; otherwise there are recorded recipes which can be faxed to you.
Fleischmann's Yeast Baker's Help Line
(800) 777-4959 Weekdays, 9am to 4pm CST, year round advice for bread bakers.
Nestle Toll House Baking Information Line
(800) 637-8537 Year-round baking help, plus recipes, from 10am to 6pm.
(800) 662-3263. Staffed year-round, weekdays (open Thanksgiving Day; but not Christmas Day, New Year's Day and other major holidays) 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., EST.