If you’re looking for a new Thanksgiving dinner this year and don’t have enough time to make your own, there’s always the option of buying a frozen turkey from the grocery store.
Can you refreeze a partially thawed turkey?
The short answer is no — but that doesn’t mean you should throw out your partially thawed bird when you get home from the store.
A 2015 study by the USDA found that refreezing poultry after it has been thawed could create bacteria that may cause food poisoning.
The study also notes that “the safest thing to do would be to discard any poultry product that has been partially thawed.”
The USDA recommends cooking a fresh turkey within three days of purchase or freezing it as soon as possible.
If you bought your turkey at a grocery store, it likely came from a processing plant where it was cooked before being frozen, so there’s no need to worry about cooking it yourself.
Is it safe to eat a partially thawed turkey?
According to the USDA, the risk of foodborne illness from eating partially thawed meat is low.
However, the agency suggests you avoid consuming raw or undercooked poultry products, including ground beef and pork, because these meats contain more bacteria than other types of meat.
In addition, the agency says that fully cooked poultry is less likely to carry harmful bacteria than uncooked poultry, but still advises against eating raw poultry.
This includes whole turkeys, chicken breasts, and wings.
To avoid getting sick from a partially thawed turkey, the USDA recommends following these simple tips:
- Wash hands with soap and water right before preparing food.
- Always wash utensils used to prepare food with hot, soapy water.
- Cook eggs thoroughly until they reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius) on an instant-read thermometer.
- Don’t leave raw meat unattended while it cooks.
- Refrigerate leftovers immediately once they’ve cooled down.
If you’re concerned about food safety, it’s important to remember that most people who get sick from eating contaminated food aren’t even aware they were exposed to the bacteria.
So if you follow all of the above guidelines, you shouldn’t run into any issues.
How long can you keep a partially thawed turkey in the fridge?
While you can definitely freeze a partially thawed turkey, it will begin to spoil quickly.
According to the USDA, you can expect to lose 20% of its weight in one day if stored properly.
It’s best to discard such a turkey after two days.
However, if you plan to serve the turkey within five days of purchase, it’s fine to keep it in the refrigerator for up to seven days.
But you should only feed it to family members who are able to handle raw meat.
How do you safely thaw a turkey?
Thawing a turkey isn’t difficult, but it does require some planning ahead of time.
The best method is to place the turkey in a shallow pan filled with cold water.
Make sure the water level is just below the neck cavity.
You can use ice packs to help cool the turkey.
After it’s thawed, drain the excess water and pat the turkey dry with paper towels.
How long does it take to thaw a turkey?
It takes between four and six hours to thaw a whole turkey, depending on how much water is inside the carcass.
To speed up the process, the USDA recommends placing a frozen turkey breast in the freezer bag with a few ice packs.
The bags absorb extra moisture, which helps reduce the amount of time needed to defrost the bird.
What is the best way to thaw a turkey?
The USDA recommends using either an oven or microwave to thaw a turkey.
For a full-sized turkey, you’ll need to set the temperature control to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius).
You can also try to thaw the turkey in a sink or bathtub filled with cold water.
Just make sure you don’t submerge the entire turkey in the water.
How do you cook a partially thawed turkey?
After you’ve thawed a turkey, you can cook it in the same manner you would a freshly purchased bird.
Here are a few additional tips:
- Make sure the turkey is completely defrosted before putting it in the oven.
- Remove any remaining fat from the skin before baking.
- Use a meat thermometer to ensure the turkey reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius)
What are the risks of eating a partially thawed turkey?
There are several health concerns associated with eating a partially thawed turkey.
The main problem is bacterial contamination.
While the USDA says that eating a partially thawed turkey poses a very small risk of contracting campylobacteriosis, salmonella, or E.
coli, these illnesses are easily treatable with antibiotics.
Other potential problems include botulism, listeria, and hepatitis A.
If you suspect that you’ve eaten something contaminated with these diseases, contact your doctor right away.
How can you tell if a turkey is thawed?
To determine whether a turkey is thawed, look for signs like discoloration around the eyes and legs, discoloration on the skin, and a lack of body movement.
If you notice any of these things, it’s best to throw out the turkey and start over.
Are you ready for Thanksgiving yet?
Thanksgiving is almost here, and you might be wondering what kind of meal you’ll be serving this year.
Luckily, you can buy a frozen turkey at your local grocery store and save yourself the hassle of making dinner.
Or, if you’d prefer to go the homemade route, we recommend checking out our guide to the best recipes for a traditional Thanksgiving menu.
Perfect Technique to Microwave a Turkey
- 1 turkey
- It’s also crucial to select fresh turkey versus processed turkey.
- One cup of light meat turkey already provides more than 18% of your daily sodium requirement.
- Processed turkey might contain up to 35% of the required dosage.
- Buying a fresh turkey breast and cooking it at home is the greatest approach to reducing the fat and salt in your turkey.
- Frying should be avoided.
- Choose to cook your turkey breast in the oven instead.
- Serve it with a side of veggies of your choice, or try one of the many turkey breast recipes available online.
- Cleaning the bird and removing its giblets is the first step.
- Make sure the bird is fully dry by patting it with paper towels.
- With that, sprinkle taste with salt, herbs, and spices.
- Once your seasoned turkey has been seasoned, place it in a microwave-safe oven bag with a hole to allow steam to escape.
- We recommend using saran wrap to ensure that an entire turkey is evenly cooked, but it is okay to microwave it without it.
- Stack the microwave-safe plate with the bagged turkey.
- Be careful not to let the top or the sides of the turkey touch the microwave.
- Cook for roughly 10 minutes per pound on 50 percent power.
- It’s crucial to remember that every microwave is different,
- If at all possible, read your microwave’s manufacturer’s instructions.
- The turkey will have to be turned- every 15 minutes if your microwave does not rotate automatically.
- Use care as it may become quite hot.
- Carefully take your turkey from the oven and use a meat thermometer to verify its internal temperature.
- You should cook the turkey to at least 165-degrees Fahrenheit before eating it.
- You can tell it’s done- when you cut and come out and see clear juice, not pink.
- Before carving and serving the turkey, allow it to rest for about 20 minutes.