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posted on November 20, 2009 08:39

 

Let’s talk turkey.
 
Whether you are preparing your first bird – or your 21st – there are a few things to keep in mind to prevent food-related illness from spoiling your holiday fun.
 
One of the first steps is thawing your turkey right: In your refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave oven. To thaw in the fridge, you’ll need about 24 hours for each 4 to 5 pounds of turkey.
 
If you're cooking a big bird, plan for plenty of time. If you wait until the last minute, thawing in cold water allows you to safely get the turkey ready for the oven. Using the cold water method takes about 30 minutes per pound.
 
To thaw in water, be sure your turkey is in a leak-proof plastic bag – and that you change the water every 30 minutes until the turkey is no longer frozen. For microwave thawing, follow instructions in your microwave manual.
 
For more tips on safely preparing your holiday feast, see the USDA's poultry preparation fact sheet.
 
To find out more information about food safety, check out the Department of Health and Welfare’s Food Protection Program webpages.