A fresh turkey should be kept in the coldest part of the refrigerator for no more than two days and wrapped tightly to avoid leaking juices on other foods.
The best method for thawing a whole frozen turkey, is to leave the bird in its wrapping and place it on a tray in the refrigerator. Plan on at least 24 hours for every 5 pounds. Thawed turkeys will keep one or two days in the refrigerator. After the turkey has thawed or before you cook the fresh turkey, remove the giblets and neck from cavities. Rinse the turkey inside and out, let it drain, and pat dry with paper towels.
How to Cook:
The safest route is to prepare stuffing separately from the turkey. If you decide to stuff the bird, stuffing should be prepared and stuffed into the turkey immediately before it’s placed in the oven. When making dressing ahead of time, wet and dry ingredients should be refrigerated separately and combined immediately before stuffing the turkey. Turkeys should be stuffed loosely; use 3/4 cup of stuffing per pound of turkey.
Place the turkey breast-side up in a shallow roasting pan. Brush the turkey with melted butter to prevent drying of skin. Frequent basting is the best method to keep your turkey moist as it roasts. Shield the breast loosely with a piece of aluminum foil to prevent over-browning.
Cook until internal temperature-measured by a meat thermometer-reaches 170ºF in the breast and 180ºF in the thigh. A turkey is done if the leg moves up and down easily and the hip joint gives readily, or if the juices are clear, not pink, when the thickest part of the inner thigh is pierced with a fork.
After it’s cooked, turkey will keep for three to four days in the refrigerator. You can freeze cooked turkey for up to a month.
Find lots of great turkey recipes and tips at Crisco.com
to you by Amy Tobin
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