Frozen Turkey Instructions
Frozen turkey is perhaps the most popular choice by everyday people like you and I. They are plant processed and tend to have added ingredients like water, salt, starch and flavorings. (Don't fear; none of the added ingredients will harm you.)
- Most frozen, store bought turkeys come from turkey farms. These farms don't have the friendliest atmospheres for turkeys, but they serve their purpose: producing supply for demand.
- Quantity produced turkeys have been induced with growth hormones for maximum meat in a small amount of time. They barely live past 25 weeks so they gain a lot of weight in little time.
- They are subjected to product enhancements like trussing and sometimes the leg tendons have been removed.
If you've been using frozen turkey and it works for you, by all means don't let this information sway you. There are positive points I should point out.
- Convenience - You don't have to place an order for your turkey weeks in advance.
- Taste - Frozen turkey cooks up more moist and flavorful.
- Price - Less expensive than organic, Amish or free-range turkeys.
My personal preference is using a frozen turkey. It justs tastes better. Even the leftovers (if there are any) taste better.
NEVER, EVER thaw your frozen turkey by letting it sit out. We learned this the hard way. People were throwing up, they didn't know whether to sit or bend over the toilet...it may be a little too much information, but you get my drift. If you let your turkey sit out to thaw, bacteria that may have been present before freezing will have a chance to grow as it thaws. Even though your turkey may still feel cold to the touch, it's just not safe to let it sit out. Be safe. It takes a while for people to trust your cooking again after you've made them sick.
Frozen turkey should be placed in the refrigerator to thaw. According to the USDA, there are only three ways to thaw a turkey:
- In the refrigerator
- In cold water
- In the microwave
Thawing in the refrigerator works best if time is on your side. By thawing in the refrigerator your turkey gets completely thawed and manageable.
- Allow 1 day (24 hours) in the refrigerator for every 4-5 pounds of turkey.
- Be sure to place the turkey inside of a large bowl or pot to catch the fluid that may leak from the package. Remember, you're still dealing with poultry-it has nasty bacteria that can leak onto other foods and make you sick.
- Do not thaw your turkey on the porch or in the car no matter how cold it may be outside.
I wouldn't have mentioned that last one if it wasn't necessary. I've been guilty of that myself. It gets really cold in northern Michigan and we know how to utilize the weather! LOL!
Cold water thawing works best when you're in a bit of a hurry. It cuts the thawing time by more than half. However, you must adhere to the 30/30 rule. The 30/30 rule is 30 minutes for each pound and change the water every 30 minutes.
- Leave the turkey inside the plastic wrap and be sure there are no holes in the wrapping.
- Cover turkey in cold tap water only. You may be tempted to use warm water to speed up the process but remember what we talked about earlier with the nasty bacteria? Same rules apply here.
- Cook the turkey immediately after thawing. Do not re-refrigerate.
Be sure that your turkey thaws alone. Do not put anything else in the water with your turkey and do not take it out of the plastic wrap to thaw it. If you take it out of the plastic wrap it may absorb some of the water or lose some of it's flavor. Once again, yucky.
Since some companies have their own instructions on microwave thawing, it's best to read the wrapper on this one. I'm not too keen on the microwave thaw. As the microwave thaws the turkey, it also partially cooks it. Have you seen what happens when you thaw chicken in the microwave? Ick! It cooks some spots on the meat while thawing it which can make for uneven cooking. Not cool.
This is the part I used to hate when I was younger. I couldn't stand sticking my hand (up to my wrist) inside the turkey and pulling out the organs and such.
I wouldn't do it any other way now.
Before you start to clean your turkey, be sure to sanitize the area you're going to work in. There shouldn't be any other foods, containers, utensils or items in direct contact of your turkey.
Remove plastic wrap from turkey in sink so that the fluids on the inside of the wrapper can be disposed of properly. Under cold or lukewarm water, rub the outside of your turkey. Feel around for feathers that could be on or under the skin. If you feel feathers, remove them.
Turkeys may have the neck or a bag of some sort tucked into the top (neck) of the turkey. Remove the contents from the cavity. Wash it out with warm water. Lie the turkey on it's back, insert your hand inside of the bird (between its legs). Pull out the bag of gravy or giblets; set aside. With your fingers, follow the spine down towards the bottom of the turkey. The area you're feeling for is on each side of the spine where the turkey thigh and back meet. You should be able to pinch that area with your thumb and index finger. Gently pull the organs and debris out.
Yes, this may feel rather disgusting. But look at the bright side; your food will be clean!
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