Safe Turkey Preparation Tips

Thanksgiving is just around the corner! It’s time to gather around the table and feast! 

As you’re preparing the big meal, keep food safety in mind. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) offer some tips this holiday season:

  • Thaw – If you’re going to thaw your turkey in a refrigerator, you’ll need to allow 24 hours for every four-to-five pounds. If you’re thawing your turkey in cold water, then allow 30 minutes for every pound and be sure to change the water every 30 minutes
  • Handle – Raw poultry can carry dangerous bacteria. To avoid contamination, wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water before, during, and after handling raw food. Wash your utensils, cutting boards, and countertops with soap and hot water
  • Separate – Raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can spread disease-carrying germs. Keep them away from ready-to-eat foods
  • Cook – Pre-heat your oven to at least 325°F and cook the turkey until the thickest part reaches an internal temperature of 165°F

o  Approximate Cook Times:

 Unstuffed
       • 4 to 6 lb. breast — 1½ to 2¼ hours
       • 6 to 8 lb. breast — 2¼ to 3¼ hours
       • 8 to 12 lb. — 2¾ to 3 hours
       • 12 to 14 lb. — 3 to 3¾ hours
       • 14 to 18 lb. — 3¾ to 4¼ hours
       • 18 to 20 lb. — 4¼ to 4½ hours
       • 20 to 24 lb. — 4½ to 5 hours
 Stuffed 
       • 8 to 12 lb. — 3 to 3½ hours
       • 12 to 14 lb. — 3½ to 4 hours
       • 14 to 18 lb. — 4 to 4¼ hours
       • 18 to 20 lb. — 4¼ to 4¾ hours
       • 20 to 24 lb. — 4¾ to 5¼ hours

  • Store – Discard any turkey, stuffing, and gravy that has been sitting out for longer than two hours. Leftovers should be used within three to four days if they are refrigerated, and two to six months if frozen

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