Thanksgiving Tips

November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and SupermarketGuru has some tips for your turkey day!

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and SupermarketGuru has some tips for your turkey day! How to shop for turkey? Look for whole turkeys that have a solid shape, look plump and have a rounded breast. Whether purchasing a whole turkey or turkey parts, the bird should feel pliable when gently pressed, and it should not have an "off" smell. If turkey has skin on it, it should be white in color and unblemished, without cuts or bruises. Also, check the sell by date.

If purchasing frozen turkey, make sure that it is frozen solid and does not have any ice deposits or freezer burn. Additionally, avoid frozen turkey that has frozen liquid in the package as this may indicate that it has been defrosted and refrozen.

There are many turkeys to select from including humanely-raised, natural, free range and pastured, cage-free, kosher or organic. Read the labels carefully to ensure what you are buying. Kosher turkeys are slaughtered and processing according to the kosher laws and are treated with salt.

Self basting or basted turkeys are those which have been injected with a solution to make it more tender and flavorful. Read the ingredients label carefully as many of these solutions contain high amounts of sodium and some are loaded with artificial flavors.

Regardless of your cooking method, good food safety practices should always be followed.

Thawing a frozen turkey can take days. If you want to thaw your turkey in the refrigerator, you need to start days before cooking. Keep the turkey in its original wrapping and put it in a pan to catch the moisture. Allow 24 hours of thawing time for every 5 pounds of turkey. One of the good things about this method is that you can keep the defrosted turkey in the refrigerator for a day until it's time to roast.

If you need to thaw your turkey faster, immerse your packaged turkey (make sure there are no tears in the packaging) in ice-cold water. You need to change the water every 30 minutes to keep it cold and allow about 30 minutes of thawing time per pound of turkey.
If you use this method, you should cook your turkey as soon as it is thawed.

Wash, wash, wash! Wash hands, cutting boards and any other surfaces that come in contact with the raw turkey, to eliminate any food safety risks. Always use a fresh cutting board and wipe down countertops before preparing any other food in the area. 

Measure the internal temperature of the bird with a food thermometer; the temperature should be 170 degrees F in the breast and 180 degrees F in the thigh, and make sure not to touch a bone, as this will produce a different reading.