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Start Defrosting Your Turkey for Thanksgiving Today

If you haven’t already done so, you need to take your turkey from the freezer and put it in the refrigerator today – Monday, Nov. 23.

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Turkeys require about one day for every 4-5 pounds the bird weighs. Seeing as most people will pick up a 13-15 pounder, you’re in good shape if you get started this afternoon, or even today at lunch if you can.

In an emergency, you can defrost your turkey in the sink in cold water, 30 minutes for every pound and changing out the water every 30 minutes.

You might think about putting your turkey in the sink with water overnight. That is NOT a good idea. That’s what is called a breeding ground for disease. The same goes for defrosting your bird on the counter; it’s an incredibly bad idea. You may argue, ‘well, that’s the way my Nanaw did it.” Well, that’s why people in her day died younger.

Another thing people try is putting a turkey in the oven at a very low temperature overnight. That is, once again, like creating a bacteria farm. Really anything you can think of that keeps the turkey’s temperature between 40 and 140 for any length of time is a little dangerous.

More Thanksgiving Tips and Info

You can cook your turkey from a frozen state; you just have to start earlier. Once again, using a 13-15 pounder as an example, it will take you about 5 to 5 and 1/2 hours to get your bird ready.

Here’s another tip for you. Some people still feel like they need to let leftovers get down to room temperature before refrigerating. That is NOT a good idea.

Once your leftovers cool to below 140 degrees, you are in the danger zone for bacteria to breed. Especially with today’s quick cool refrigerators, it’s best to immediately refrigerate those leftovers.

Have a happy, and healthy, Thanksgiving.

Note: The author of this article is a certified food safety manager.  

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