INDIANAPOLIS — When it comes to selecting and cooking
turkeys, there are basic concerns that come up each year. Julie Gray of Purdue
Extension offers the following advice for a picture-perfect Thanksgiving
* Purchase one pound of turkey per person being served. This
will allow enough for leftovers, too;
* Store fresh turkey in the refrigerator for one to two days
* Thaw frozen turkeys in the refrigerator, never on the
counter. Remember to allow one day of thawing for every five pounds of turkey. A
20-pound turkey will take at least 4 days to thaw;
* In a hurry? Thaw the turkey in a clean sink or bathtub.
Submerge the bird with cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes to keep
the turkey cool. Allow six to nine hours for a 12- to 16-pound turkey, 9 to 11
hours for a 16- to 20-pound bird. Cook immediately. Thawing the turkey in the
microwave oven is not recommended for many reasons, including: the turkey may
not fit in the microwave; microwave ovens thaw unevenly; and microwave ovens
vary greatly in power and there are not reliable thawing times; and
* If a person chooses to stuff the turkey, stuff loosely.
The stuffing should be moist, not dry, since heat destroys bacteria more rapidly
in a moist environment. The stuffing also may be cooked outside the bird in a
casserole. The stuffing should reach 165 degrees.